What is Influencer Marketing – Definition, Guide, and Helpful Examples
Influencer marketing is the next level of word-of-mouth marketing. Influencers have the abnormal power of affecting purchase decisions and deciding what is going to be trending next. Your goal as a marketer is to encourage the influencer that your brand is the one they want to advertise. Here’s what you need to know about influencer marketing in 2023.
In this article, we will be talking generally about what influencer marketing is, but we will also discuss how to perform an influencer marketing campaign. We will also analyze some social media campaigns involving influencers and check where to find the right brand ambassadors.
Here’s what we will be talking about:
- What is influencer marketing – a definition
- The state of influencer marketing in 2023
- Influencer marketing by the numbers
- Types of social media influencers & channels
- How much does influencer marketing cost?
- How to prepare an influencer marketing strategy?
- How to track influencer marketing campaigns?
- Where to find influencers? [Tools]
- Examples of social media influencer campaigns
- Why influencer marketing is still relevant in 2023?
Before you read: perhaps you will be interested in our report on Top 100 Marketing Influencers.
What is influencer marketing – a definition
If you already have a brief knowledge of who is an influencer, and the basics of influencer marketing, you can skip to the next chapter.
First, we need to define an influencer. It’s a persona, usually very active in various social media channels, that has a lot of followers. Think of them as modern-day celebrities. Those are individuals that other people look up to.
Various companies quickly discovered the power of word-of-mouth marketing, and influencer marketing works just like that – brands are promoting products by sharing them with popular people. Later, these people talk about the goods in Instagram Stories, YouTube videos, or Twitter tweets and the campaign is on.
Many brands use influencer marketing mostly to raise awareness, but it’s also useful while launching new products or campaigns.
A simple example of influencer marketing: a brand finds a popular Instagram account, and sends them a product. Next, the influencer posts a picture with said product and shares a discount code to use at the manufacturer’s site.
The followers see the product with a short review and use the code to make a purchase. That’s influencer marketing. Interested? Read more to learn how to prepare a successful strategy.
Influencer marketing – a social media strategy involving product placement and brand mentions from people considered to be experts in their field or defined as influencers by the sheer number of followers.
The state of influencer marketing in 2023
Many would argue, that influencer marketing was much easier 10 years ago, and nowadays it’s just not that profitable. It is true that social media are much more saturated now, and it’s definitely harder to break through to the top for upcoming influencers.
But on the other hand, Instagram and TikTok are now at the peak of popularity (the later maybe even before its peak), because with the advancement of the smartphones everybody can have these app on their home screen.
Find out who’s talking about your brand. Try our tool with a 14-day free trial.
This means, that influencer marketing is more relevant than ever, because nobody wants to read classic advertisements anymore. Sure, investing in paid advertisement is still profitable and by any means, I’m not advising to ditch Facebook Ads and switch to influencer marketing only. But influencer campaigns can bring you a lot of juicy traffic.
So how much are influencers worth now? Let’s proceed to the next chapter.
Influencer marketing by the numbers
Influencer marketing is estimated to be worth more than $10 billion in 2021. Some people predicted it will decrease due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it only grew stronger. This single number means you should at least be aware of the phenomenon if you want to be an up-to-date marketer.
More than half of brands have a standalone budget for content marketing, and a majority of them invest in influencer marketing, according to a study conducted by Influencer Media Hub.
Linqia administered their own survey, and it turns out more than of 70% enterprise marketers wanted to increase their budget in 2021 (compared to the previous year). The same study says Instagram stays as the most popular platform for influencer marketing, followed by TikTok, which is quickly gaining reputation. What’s also interesting, is the rising demand for vertical videos, as this format is necessary for successful Instagram Stories campaigns, and is considered more mobile-friendly.
Most (77%) of the marketers from the Linqia survey pointed at engagement as the key metric for measuring the success of campaigns.
Types of social media influencers & channels
Generally, we distinguish a few influencer types, defined by the number of followers.
The smallest of them are nano influencers. They usually operate on a local market or are interested in a very specific niche. They are characterized by a small number of followers, but at the same time, they can be considered as the most genuine and sincere.
Read more: There’s a lot more about nano influencers you should know if you want to include them in your campaign. We’ve prepared a whole other article about nano influencers, go check it out!
Then, there are micro influencers. They have a slightly larger follower count than the nanos. Working with micro influencers can be a great start to your influencer marketing strategy.
Read more: Again, if you would like to try an influencer marketing campaign with this type of people, we have a full article about micro influencers for you!
Next, we have mid-tier influencers. They have a strong follower count, dedicated fanbase, and most probably they are already experienced in working as brand ambassadors.
Macro influencers, second largest follower count. Here you can find some celebrities, people with established popularity outside social media, politicians, and other public personalities. Working with them is much harder than previous tiers because they might not be interested in influencer marketing campaigns at all, or they have high pay rates.
In the last category are mega influencers. In this tier, there are almost exclusively celebrities. As much tempting it is trying to contact them, they are largely out of the question when it comes to influencer marketing campaigns. One – they are very expensive and only the biggest companies can afford to work with them; two – they usually don’t want to advertise products anyway, because they earn enough through other channels.
Here’s a simple graph that shows influencer tiers based on the number of followers at Instagram (the most popular app for influencers):
Brand24 helps you identify the most influential people in your market niche.
Social media platforms breakdown
We can also categorize influencers by the social media they usually use. While the most popular influencers are probably on all platforms (at least Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter), some people use exclusively YouTube or TikTok.
While working on your influencer marketing strategy you should define which social media platform is the most vital and where you can get the best ROI. Advertising fashion products will most likely work the best on Instagram, but you can get better traffic from YouTube while ordering new technology reviews.
Here’s what you need to know about each channel:
Facebook is now one of the oldest social media platforms, slowly abandoned by the younger audience and dominated by sponsored posts. With the number of ads and spammy content, it’s much harder to get noticed organically on Facebook.
This channel is not the best platform to start your influencer marketing campaign, but there are certain instances this might work after all. You will probably need a big budget to back the campaign with paid ads, though.
One could argue that this is the most popular app for social media influencers. And they might be right. With around 1.4 billion users Instagram generated an astonishing revenue of $24 billion in 2020.
Instagram is a great channel for influencers because it’s based on good pictures. Of course, it’s not easy to make a great photo, but it’s definitely easier than coming up with video content for YouTube or working on organic posts for Facebook. A single photo by a social media celebrity can sell a product better than some carefully crafted ads.
Read: How to Find Trending Hashtags on Instagram?
Because Twitter is a much smaller medium than Instagram or Facebook, sometimes it’s omitted as a place for working with social influencers. Is it right? Not necessarily. Twitter can still be a valid source of traffic and a place to raise brand awareness.
People are used to seeing sponsored content on Instagram or YouTube, and Twitter seems to be more “approachable”. Meaning that because it has a much smaller userbase, content creators treat it more as a place to share thoughts, quick status updates, and so on. So if they can slip a word about a new tech they are using, their followers may not treat it as a direct advertisement.
Read more here: Twitter Influencers: How to Find Them + benchmarks
YouTube is definitely a king of video platforms. Even with the latest controversy that rose around removing the dislike button, it would take a lot of effort to take YouTube down. Alternatives such as Vimeo or Dailymotion gather only a fraction of YouTube users.
With the right tools, it’s easy to find influencers operating in your market sector.
Video-based app TikTok gained huge popularity in 2020 and quickly dethroned other social media apps in the number of downloads. It will probably soon have a larger user base than Instagram, and a lot of influencers have now decided to open a TikTok account.
The popularity of TikTok deserves another article, but to quickly sum up the advantages of this social media channel we need to understand how it works. The algorithms of TikTok allow small accounts and unknown people to reach hundreds of thousand views. With good content, you can quickly advance to the top and gain a lot of followers in a relatively short time. Something really hard to do on Instagram, even with the right hashtag strategy.
Read: Tiktok Monitoring Tools
Pinterest can be a little bit underestimated by marketers. And yet, a well-performed social media marketing campaign including Pinterest can bring a lot of quality traffic to your site.
This medium is not overwhelmed with influencers, so if you find one with a large and loyal following base, think twice if you still want to abandon Pinterest in your plans.
Considered to be a work-related social media channel, Linkedin can also generate promising customers. Even on Linkedin, we can find potential influencers for our brand.
Mind you, people visit Linkedin to consume content related to their work, follow professionals from their line of business, or find a new job. That being said, you can still advertise tools for marketers there, for instance, or your brand as a great workplace.
Surprised? Yes, there are other social media channels, besides the ones mentioned above. They are very niche, though, and usually not worth the attention for an average influencer marketing campaign.
There’s still Tumblr and Snapchat. An alternative to YouTube – Vimeo. Reddit, which might generate quite a good clout. Music-oriented apps, such as Mixcloud or SoundCloud. And many more.
There are also emerging new possibilities. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently announced Meta – a new era of social media, where people could meet in the so-called “metaverse”. How will this play out? We are yet to discover, but you can already start planning.
Every now and then a new challenge appears. Perhaps you remember Clubhouse, a social media app that emerged in 2020 and had a huge buzz in early 2021. Clubhouse worked as a place where people could communicate in audio chats (without video). The fall of the app was as fast as its rise, but we might see some alternatives in the nearest future (for example Twitter Spaces) or Clubhouse can reinstate its popularity once again with some clever advertising.
Use the Brand24 tool to discover the right influencers, and reach your target audience.
How much does influencer marketing cost?
If you want to know the answer to this question, we need to take into consideration more than one thing.
First of all, the cost of your product. Are you giving away your goods for free to the influencer? Are you sharing a discount code they can post? There are a lot of ways to present your brand to a wider audience.
Secondly, not many influencers engage in partnerships for free. You can either ask for their rates (especially if you want to get celebrity endorsements on Facebook or Instagram posts from mega influencers) or decide on a budget and ask the influencer if they are open to the idea (works better with nano and micro influencers).
To be frank – there’s no right answer to how much your influencing campaign will cost. It’s all about your budget.
For influencer affiliates, the cost is typically a combination of the product cost and commission rate. The commission rate can vary based on the influencer’s level of influence and engagement, and it’s important to establish clear expectations for the partnership.
If you’re a marketing influencer looking for new partnership opportunities, make sure to sign up for our partner program.
Read more: Brand24 Partner Program
How to prepare an influencer marketing strategy?
Influencer marketing involves a lot of planning beforehand, and later you can mostly only monitor the campaign and take notes.
After you identify the influencers you want to include in your marketing strategy (either find them manually or use an influencer marketing hub), you need to reach out to them and ask if they are interested in promoting your brand. While looking for relevant accounts make sure they don’t have fake followers, and their fanbase is collected organically, not bought.
Be very specific about what you want from them, as it will be easier to work for both of you later. It’s good to share your brand values, what industry you’re most interested in, and how aggressive the marketing should be.
Work on branded hashtags – it will be easier to track your campaign in tools such as Brandwatch or Brand24.
Don’t forget about a contract, especially if you are paying the influencer for the advertisement. A contract is a safety tool for both the company and the person involved in creating the sponsored content. Should any problems appear later, the contract will be your way of resolving the conflict.
How to track influencer marketing campaigns?
Calculating ROI from an influencer marketing campaign can be difficult, because not always you can prepare unique links with UTM codes. Most marketers rely on engagement rate and website traffic to see how much clout their campaign generated.
First, and most obvious way of tracking the campaign is to visit the social profiles of influencers included, and check the engagement rate on promoted products. Then you can compare the data in Google Analytics or any other alternative to see the traffic sources on your website.
If it’s a simple e-commerce campaign, you will see the source of the sales in Google Analytics, and then you can easily estimate the ROI. Don’t forget about UTM parameters or similar tracking methods.
You can also use media monitoring tools to track how influencer content is resonating on the Web. Sentiment analysis apps will be most helpful. An example of such a tool is Brand24, where you can track branded hashtags and significant keywords, and generate reports with sentiment analysis. More on the tools in the next chapter.
How to find influencers?
Now you know quite a lot about influencer marketing strategy, but I still haven’t told you where to look for the right influencers.
The most obvious place are the relevant social media channels. Open your social media app of choice, browse hashtags or key phrases popular in your market and you are bound to find accounts with a large follower count and quite engaged audience.
But there are also other tools that are more convenient and accurate in identifying influencers. Here are some of them:
I’m sure you are not surprised to find our tool in this listing. After all, why would we cover influencer marketing if we didn’t have the means to follow and manage your influencer strategy.
Brand24 is a media monitoring tool. It collects brand mentions all over the Internet and creates custom reports. It also provides additional data, such as sentiment analysis, influencer score, and the number of followers (for social media posts). This is exactly what you need to track online influencers if you want to start a campaign including an influencer program.
In Brand24 you are not limited to brand mentions. You can set up your project to collect mentions of keywords related to your target market. The influencer score and number of followers will tell you if the account is essential for the social media campaign.
The tool starts at $69 per month, but you can check the free trial anytime – no credit card required.
Brandwatch works similarly to Brand24. It collects brand mentions and tracked keywords across the Internet, too. With Brandwatch it’s easy to follow conversations revolving around your company or market niche and to understand what potential customers think about your brand.
The downside of Brandwatch is the price, which is relatively high. That’s why the tool is recommended for large enterprises.
Check out: Brandwatch alternatives
Influencer Marketing Hub
A private media company from Denmark. Influencer Marketing Hub can be called influencer marketing experts. They provide a lot of useful information and data about influencer marketing. They also collect a list of agencies working with influencers.
Upfluence advertises itself as an all-in-one influencer marketing platform. Its main purpose is to create a digital place where brands can connect and collaborate with content creators all over the world.
The tools the company provides allow for easier management of influencer campaigns and affiliate programs.
Another influencer marketing platform that makes promoted content creation easier.
This app will let you find and connect with the right influencers and gives you the tools to measure the success of your campaigns.
A lot of marketers struggle with calculating the ROI of an influencer campaign, and Linqia tries to make it a bit easier. They are also a great source for valuable information about this type of marketing tactic.
Influencer Marketing Agencies
There are also a lot of agencies that manage influencers.
GetHero is a popular influencer marketing agency in Poland that have very influential personas on their roster. Including Friz (3m followers), Wersow (2,7m followers), or Yoshi (300k followers).
Marketing agencies will help you identify influencers for your target audience, and will take care of contracts and communication.
You can try Brand24 for free – no card details required. Discover people influencing within your industry.
Read more: How to find influencers?
Examples of social media influencer campaigns
You know what influencer marketing is, know where to find influencers, and how to measure your success. If you are still not convinced but are still reading this article, it means that you are considering.
Here are some examples of good influencer marketing campaigns that may either convince you to pursue this way or give you some inspiration on how to sell branded content and increase sales with influencer and celebrity endorsements.
Big eCommerce brands like Nike don’t really need influencer marketing to raise brand awareness, but still, use social influence to boost sales. In 2012 they partnered with a very popular YouTuber Casey Neistat to make an ad for Nike+ FuelBand (an activity tracker).
Here’s what happened:
Well, after watching the video you might feel that Nike wasn’t really happy about how Casey spent the money. Or were they? Come to think of it, #MakeItCount and an activity tracker go really well together with traveling around the world.
The video generated more than 30M views and 300k upvotes. The general sentiment is very positive.
The watchmaker Daniel Wellington used a micro influencer marketing strategy to promote their products via less popular Instagram accounts. For example, they partnered with @canadianbros, a profile for two lovely dogs.
And as you can see on the screenshot below, that’s not the only brand the owner of @canadianbros is promoting.
The car manufacturer also took the advantage of influencer marketing and involved the TikTok audience to showcase their work. The hashtags #TeamBMW and #THEiX3 were used by various influencers to show off their BMWs in a creative way.
As we have discussed before, TikTok is now a great channel to gain a lot of views, even for smaller accounts, so you don’t have to organize a big budget for mega influencers and celebrities.
Why influencer marketing is still relevant in 2023?
You can use tools like Adblock to completely remove advertisements from your Internet browser, but you can’t adblock people (well, frankly speaking – you can, but that works in a different way).
Influencers will pop up in your feed every now and then, and if you are marketing a product it’s important to remember how people’s minds work. Instagram users are looking up to the influencers because they want to know what to wear, which phone to buy, and where to travel.
Every market sector can benefit from the right influencers.
As stated at the beginning of this article, influencer marketing is generating huge profits and a lot of brands are investing in this type of campaigns. There are good chances your competitors are already working with Instagram influencers and other creators, so you might not want to stay behind.
With various influencer marketing platforms available it’s now easier than ever to start working with influencers and start to promote your brand through this channel.
By now, you should get the gist of what influencer marketing really is. The numbers don’t lie – it’s very relevant to current times’ marketing strategy that every brand should at least consider.
The power of some people have to influence purchasing decisions is priceless.
To learn more about influencer marketing check the links in this article, and be sure to give Brand24 a chance.