What is influencer marketing?

What is influencer marketing?


Head of Marketing

You’ve probably heard people talk about influencers, social media and influencer marketing but what is it and how does it work?

Influencer marketing might sound like a new approach but, in reality, it has been around for decades in one form or another.  The difference is that in recent years the rise of social media and reality tv personalities have combined to give influencer marketing a new platform.

Influencer marketing is the practice of targeting individuals who have influence over others potentials customers.  Before social media or reality TV really took off brands often used celebrities for celebrity endorsements.  This still happens of course but influencer marketing can be broader than celebrity endorsements.

Depending on the product or service an influencer might not be a celebrity in the traditional sense.  Many are, (think the Kardashians!) but in some instances they might be individuals who have influence on a specific topic and are respected in their field. For example, a make-up artist may not be famous but if they have a following of interested make-up users then they could be an influencer for a make-up brand.  A computer gamer with a profile in the gaming community could be an influencer although they would only be known within that circle.

Photo credit: https://www.instagram.com/fernemccann/

People often assume that influencers have huge followings and are famous household names.  A significant following certainly helps but it all depends on the product or service. There has to be a good fit.  Influencers are often very conscious of their audience and the personal brand they have carefully built.  Most won’t be prepared to endorse something which doesn’t fit their image or won’t interest their audience.

Influencer marketing is about building relationships with influencers.  It can take time, planning and effort but when it works it can be incredibly effective.