What is Influencer Marketing?

Anna Komok

Anna is the Head of Marketing and PR at HypeAuditor, the most accurate and in-depth Instagram and YouTube analytics tool on the market. She is passionate about influencer marketing and Instagram analytics.

When you think of world-class advertising, what comes to mind? A spot during the Super Bowl? A full page spread in Vogue? A celebrity commercial?

Well times have changed and so has the definition of effective advertising. Magazines aren’t as popular as they once were. People don’t watch adverts anymore. And people don’t believe celebrities when they start hawking products at them.

The old model of marketing is broken, it’s time for a change. It’s time for influencer marketing.

Influencer marketing isn’t new, it’s been around for years but recently it’s become a hot topic for marketers — probably because we’ve realised how powerful it is. We know that consumers don’t like to be advertised to and marketing messages have less credibility every day. Influencer marketing is an alternative to traditional advertising that can be expensive and inefficient.

So why is influencer marketing so popular? And how do you find an effective influencer for your campaign? We’ve got everything you need to know right here, so read on…


Authenticity is rare in this world, we don’t believe commercials anymore. This is thanks to all of the hyperbole and photoshopping which has made us increasingly wary. This is precisely why influencer marketing has become so effective!

Influencers are more organic than the more traditional advertisements because they are seen as thought leaders and role models. Their audiences trust them and listen to them, because they have spent time investing time and energy into connecting with their followers. So, when an influencer speaks about a product or a brand, their audience sees it as a genuine recommendation. This level of sincerity is key for speaking to audiences who don’t want to feel like they’re being marketed too. Consumers crave authenticity, and that’s what influencers appear to give.

Cost Effective

There’s no standard pricing model with influencer marketing. Some influencers will collaborate for free because it helps them build their brand, others will agree to performance-based pricing and others will ask for a flat-rate pricing.

The variety of pricing options allows you to go with what you’re most comfortable with and what you think will work best for your brand. And, whichever you choose, it’s usually bound to be more affordable than traditional advertising.

Brand Image

As we’re sure you know, social media helps to drive massive traffic to your site, can create a stronger connection between you and your customers, can boost your site’s SEO, and can generate earned media coverage.

But even more than this, there is a certain kinetic energy that builds around your brand when you are buzzing through the veins of social media. When you are relevant in social media, you become relevant to the customer.

Influencers can help bolster this electricity around your brand. They can give you access to a more targeted demographic, grow your social media following, drive SEO value, and add a new breadth of content that ultimately gives more dimension to your brand.

Influencers are thought leaders, so when they tout your product or service, people listen and engage, which can also bring a sense of community to your brand.

Be Wary

Remember that you don’t have any real control over influencers. They have full control over what they post and they aren’t bound to any behavioral guidelines other than the ones set up by the social media platform. So unless you put certain clauses into your contract with them, it’s difficult to exert influence over their content.

Be sure to take the necessary steps to ensure the influencer campaign complies with guidelines for full disclosure. Transparency is key. As influencer marketing becomes more popular, the Federal Trade Commission is cracking down on paid promotions and endorsements that fail to be clear with the audience that these are sponsored ads.

How to Choose an Influencer 

When it comes to working out whether an influencer is a good brand fit for your company, there are the obvious metrics you can apply.

First, scope out their audience. The goal is to reach a more targeted demographic and it’s key to develop your user personas, then go out and hunt down an influencer that speaks to that audience, so you can tap into a wealth of customers that will actually be interested in what you have to offer.

Then, check out the number and the quality of followers. If they only have a few thousand, that doesn’t exactly make them a thought leader. But similarly, even if they have hundreds of thousands, if the followers aren’t actively engaged then it’s not worth it. It’s all about quality, not quantity.

Finally, it’s on to the quality of content. Do a proper evaluation of their account. What messages do they send? What’s their voice? Is their content consistently high quality? And would they make a good spokesperson for your brand? Make sure your values are aligned and that you would feel proud to have this person represent your brand.