I’m sure by now you have heard of influencers but do you understand how influencer marketing works? Influencer marketing uses influential people (usually within a particular space) to get your promote your message or product. The reason they are called “influencers” is simple, it’s because what they say has an influence over their following. And the reason brands pick specific influencers is because their following is their ideal target audience.

In fact, 67% of marketers believe that influencer marketing campaigns help them reach a more targeted audience. When utilized effectively influencer marketing can drive traffic to your site, increase your social media exposure and brand recognition as well as boost revenue through sales.

The Evolution of Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing isn’t new, but it may look a bit different then what you’re used to. Lebron James on billboards for Nike, Sofia Vergara on TV commercials promoting Head & Shoulders, these are examples of influencer marketing just in the more traditional celebrity fashion. But today, reports show that 94% of marketers who use influencer marketing find it an effective practice, and influencer marketing can generate up to 11x the ROI of traditional advertising.

Of course, the traditional celebrity style influencer marketing is still around. However, today’s new wave of influencers are found on social media and can, in some cases, be born overnight. These influencers are social savvy experts and thought leaders within a particular niche and their audiences look to them for their thoughts. They have the potential to be advocates for your brand and display that brand loyalty to a niche market that may be hard for you to reach on your own.

Now, I know what you’re probably thinking…how can one of these new wave influencers compete within the marketing space with a celebrity? Well, an influencer marketing survey conducted by Collective Bias found 70% of millennial consumers are influenced by the recommendations of their peers in buying decisions. The same survey reveals that 30% of consumers are more likely to buy a product recommended by a non-celebrity blogger. Consumers can relate more to these influencers and value their opinions more than that of those with a celebrity status.

Maybe you think that influencer marketing is just the latest fad, but I can assure you that it is not going to go away. A recent report showed that in 2017 influencer marketing was a $2 billion dollar industry, it is projected to be a $10 billion industry by 2020. So if you’re still thinking this is a fad then you are losing out on possible revenue and brand exposure by the day.


Effective Influencer Marketing Strategy

Now that you are fully aware of how influencer marketing works let’s discuss strategy. Remember influencer marketing is not about your brand, it’s about the consumer. Meaning it’s about building trust with your audience so that they feel comfortable buying from you, and ideally more than once. This trust is built and maintained through authenticity and honesty. The brands that are succeeding are using this type of transparency to become relatable and personable.

For this to work you have to know who your target consumer is. One of the biggest mistakes brands make is finding influencers first before honing in on their ideal audience. Always determine who your ideal audience is first. These are the people that you see as your ideal customer and who are most likely to buy from you. Then start identifying influencers that are speaking to, and highly regarded within, your ideal audience.


The 5 Types of Influencers

A full encompassing strategy includes all 5 types of influencers: celebrity, macro, micro, brand advocates, and even your employees (yes they are influencers too). Let’s quickly touch on each of these so that you can determine who would be the ideal fit for your next campaign.



A celebrity influencer is pretty self-explanatory and is what you are accustomed to seeing. A-list stars have been loaning their personality to brands for years. They have a massive following which means an endorsement for your brand could potentially have massive reach. But, that also comes with a massive price tag because celebrities demand a large amount of money to use their image. One thing to also consider is that their broad reach, in most cases, will not get in front of a specific niche. So although it would be great for brand recognition and awareness you may not be getting your product or service in front of your ideal customer.


These influencers have a sizeable social media following of over 10,000 people. Usually, they are very active on social media producing a tonne of content regularly. They also, in most cases, are thought leaders to a particular market which means that you could target more of your ideal customers of that then a celebrity.


Micro influencers have a following of anywhere between 1,000 to 10,000. Although their audience is slightly smaller than a macro influencer they tend to have a more engaged audience. That means that not only is their audience more specific but they also have more buying intent.

Brand Advocates

These people have under 1,000 followers but don’t let that fool you. These may be some of the most powerful influencers. They are those who are already loyal to your brand and are willing to profess their love for you to everyone. The can be found online right now talking about your brand. Pay attention to your social channels for those who are gushing about your products and services and invite them to share and create content. The cost here is usually not monetary, rather, referral programs are a great way to incentivize this relationship.


Don’t overlook those people from within your organization. The may not have the audience and reach as those mentioned above but that doesn’t make their voice any less powerful. They provide transparency into the brand and make it more personable and relatable. It’s one thing to hear from the brand itself but it holds more weight when it comes from a real person within the company.

So the next logical question is how do I find an influencer? Well, there are 5 main resources you can use to discover influencers: Google, social media, networks and marketplaces.


Good ol’ Google. What can’t you find? Of course, you can utilize its power to find influencers but keep in mind that this will most likely be the most manual and time-consuming process. To get started simply search using keywords related to your brand and then comb through the SERPs (search engine results pages) to find those people who pop up based on those search terms. You can record all of your findings in a spreadsheet to keep things organized and help with your decision making.


Similar to the Google method you can search the same related keywords as hashtags within the social media sites themselves. This is a sure way to find those who are talking about things related to your brand.


Networks are like agencies that have existing relationships with freelancers. First, you start by connecting with a network and giving them an idea of your brand. They will then do the legwork for you by sifting through their database of influencers to find the one they feel will be the best fit to partner with. A few things to beware of here…First, the network will more than often take a cut on top of the influencer cost. Kind of like a finders fee.

Second, they tend to limit their pool of influencers as they only search through those they have affiliations with. And in some cases, depending on the influencer, you may have to go through the network just to get in touch with them as a part of their agreement. That said, this is a great way to discover influencers and helps remove any guesswork and uncertainty in the process.


Think of the marketplace as a direct to consumer option. They allow you to totally bypass the network/agency mentioned above. The ball is in your court here. You can search, discover and connect directly with influencers. These are often websites that influencers sign up to with the goal of being connected to brands. Most of these websites even show metrics on each influencers profile to better understand their potential reach and audience. They also provide the ability to filter your search based on things like industry, followers etc. to find the perfect partner.

There is no right or wrong way to find influencers. Some people have success with Google and others only use marketplaces. It doesn’t matter how you discover them, what matters most is finding an influencer who aligns with your brand and speaks to your target audience.


Compensation and Rates

With your influencer all lined up, it’s time to discuss compensation. All influencers will want to be compensated for their work. However, that doesn’t always mean they all want a set monetary value. You can offer them a shout out on your social media accounts to help them boost their following, give them your product or service for free, even a free supply of the product or service for a set period of time, referral program where they get paid a commission on products they had a direct impact on selling. There is no right or wrong way to pay influencers and there is no set standard. In most cases, the compensation can be negotiated between the two parties. The determining factors on rate are usually based on reach and engagement. Buffer recently put together a report outlining a breakdown on average influencers costs per platform, here are their findings:

$10 / 1,000 subscribers or

$250 – $750 / 1,000 post engagements


$20 / 1,000 subscribers or

$50 – $100 / 1,000 video views


$10 / 1,000 subscribers or

$100 / 1,000 video views


Content and Creative

By now you have your influencer locked and loaded. It’s time to create the content. In most cases, the influencers is also a creator and will create the content themselves. So how do you ensure that the content they produce is authentic to your brand’s story?

The best way to do this is to immerse them in your brand. If your a subscription box company send them a box to experience. If you’re a travel company, send them on a trip. Just remember that the value return from your influencer needs to reciprocate the value of how you immersed them in your brand. In the example of the trip, they may need to put out a certain amount of content daily during their trip, whereas the subscription box example they may need to only post 1 piece of content. It’s about the value exchange.

Get creative here and provide your influencer with the best experience which will allow them to convey your message with more enthusiasm. A true influencer of your brand is passionate about your product or service so giving them full unedited access to your brand is a great way to build that passion.

Another creative tactic is a social media takeover with an influencer. This is where they control your brand’s social content creation for a period of time. It provides a more authentic experience for your audience.


Repurposing Content

At this point, the content has been created and delivered so what’s next? The influencer campaign shouldn’t stop with the post from the influencer. You can also use the influencer on your website or in your marketing collateral. You can use their quotes, you can use a video testimonial of a video of them in your social media ads. Of course just be sure to discuss all of this upfront with the influencer. Most should be okay with this as long as they are tagged in everything which allows them to help build their following.


Reporting and Measuring

Now that you have the influencer campaign completed it’s time to report on how successful it was. Reach and conversions tell a very broad story. Of course, you want to track metrics like this but go more in-depth with your reporting. To help you better determine success let’s break down the reporting metrics into 5 main categories.  


  1. Awareness: Reach and views.
  2. Consideration: Clicks, comments, and views.
  3. Activation: Shares, follows, clicks to the site.
  4. Purchase: Conversions and purchases.
  5. Loyalty: Followers of your influencers will become brand advocates of your brand. This is sharing referrals and user-generated content from that audience.


You need to have a good idea of the buying cycle. Keep in mind that not receiving an immediate purchase after the post isn’t necessarily a loss for your brand. Remember, those who your influencer’s campaign reached may not purchase your product right away.

Once you collect all of this data from your influencer marketing campaign you can start using it to adapt and optimize your influencer marketing efforts. Which social channels are best for you, which influencers had the biggest impact, which content worked best, etc.

I hope at the very least this article has opened your eyes to the power behind influencer marketing. Morso, I hope you have all of the insight you need to build your very first campaign.