Have you ever purchased something because a well-known person you admire used the product or service?
I’m guilty of this — in fact, I recently bought myself a new waterski because a professional water skier and micro-influencer, Whitney McClintock, shared a video on Instagram of herself using the ski.
I was in the market for a new ski and followed Whitney for quite some time. I figured since she used this particular ski, I should too — if Whitney promotes it, why wouldn’t I love it?
You might be thinking, "Slightly questionable logic, Kristen." Maybe.
But, did Whitney’s post get me to buy the ski? Oh, yeah. (And I do love my new ski for those of you wondering.)
This is just one example of a tactic used by businesses across virtually every industry called influencer marketing.
What is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing employs leading, niche content creators to improve brand awareness, increase traffic, and drive messages to brands’ target audiences. It’s this collaboration between brands and creators that allows businesses to expand their reach across their buyer personas.
Examples of these channels include social media, blogs, columns, digital and print ads, and television. Influencer marketing is increasingly more popular among businesses these days because traditional advertising has become less effective in attracting leads and customers.
Influencer marketing works because it uses tactics like word-of-mouth marketing and social proof, which are now critical aspects of any successful marketing strategy.
Customers trust their peers, friends, and people they admire more than the companies selling the products and services they buy and use.
Before we dive into the different types of influencers, let’s review the difference between a brand influencer and a brand ambassador, as they’re often confused terms.
Brand Influencer vs. Brand Ambassador
A brand influencer refers to someone who has a following within a specific niche that they engage with regularly. Because of this, they have the power to impact their purchase decisions.
The major types of brand influencers are:
- Celebrity influencers
- Blog influencers
- Social media influencers
- Key opinion leaders.
For example, social media influencer @carlosdharrisjr recently partnered with ECCO Shoes to promote its product. Harris tags the brand in his posts to increase the brand’s awareness and encourage them to learn more about them.
A brand ambassador, on the other hand, is hired by a business to work under contract to help them achieve specific goals: increase brand awareness and boost conversions and sales.
A brand ambassador’s contract is typically long-term, anywhere from several months to years. During that time, they represent the brand and the lifestyle associated with it and have deep knowledge about the business’s products or services. They don’t necessarily need to be an influencer before becoming an ambassador.
For example, Quest Nutrition’s brand ambassador program requires all interested individuals to apply to their program. Quest looks for individuals who embody their brand, are positive spokespeople for their products, create social media posts to promote their products, and live the Quest lifestyle.
Anyone who fits their criteria can apply and has the potential of being accepted. Applicants aren’t required to have a highly successful YouTube account, thousands of followers on Instagram, or a popular blog to become a brand ambassador.
In this article, we’re going to focus on brand influencers.
However, before we dive into the various types of brand influencers, let’s take a look at some important statistics that prove working with an influencer is effective in helping you reach your marketing goals.
2023 Influencer Marketing Stats
Influencer marketing is an investment — to get it right, you have to devote time to ensure you find the right influencer to promote content that appeals to your target audience.
You also have to spend money and/ or resources to reward the influencer, run various campaigns with the influencer, and more depending on your specific marketing goals.
Here are some statistics to help you understand the lay of the land.
- In 2021, roughly 58% of marketers said influencer marketing was the most effective marketing trend, ahead of SEO, experiential marketing, and short-form video content. (HubSpot Blog Research)
- 80% of marketers say influencer marketing is effective, and 89% say it works just as well (if not better) than other marketing channels.
- In 2022, 86% of marketers plan to continue investing the same amount or increase their investment in influencer marketing. (HubSpot Blog Research)
- Instagram is the most popular platform for influencer marketing. However, Facebook is considered the most effective social platform for influencer campaigns. (HubSpot Blog Research)
- 71% of marketers say the quality of customers and traffic from influencer marketing is better than other sources.
- In 2022, 71% of marketers plan to increase their investment in influencer marketing on Clubhouse. (HubSpot Blog Research)
- Snapchat and Twitch are among the lowest-performing channels for influencer marketing. As a result, they’re the top two platforms marketers plan on divesting from in 2022. (HubSpot Blog Research)
- The biggest challenge marketers face with influencer marketing is measuring the ROI of the campaign. Cost is the second biggest hurdle marketers face.
- Of all age groups, Gen Zers trust influencers the most.
Types of Influencers
- Celebrity influencer
- Blog influencer
- Social media influencer
- Key opinion leader
Micro-influencers — like Whitney — have a relatively modest following of thousands or tens of thousands of people. They create relevant content for their audience and communicate with them via social media platforms, blogs, other written publications, websites, and forums.
Due to the size of their following and the type of content they create, they typically have high engagement rates. Having a smaller audience allows micro-influencers to bond with the people who follow them more regularly (as compared to a celebrity with millions of fans) via their channel.
This makes them appealing to work with for businesses looking to develop personal relationships among their target audience.
How to Work With a Micro-Influencer
Micro-influencers can be established on a variety of channels. So, once you've chosen the micro-influencer to partner with, you can have them write a post about your service, share an online review, or post a picture on Instagram with one of your products. Due to the manageable size of their base of followers, they’ll be able to engage with your target audience on the content they share about your products and brand.
This way, they can answer any questions the audience members may have about your products, communicate their experience with your products, and direct audience members to your website or customer support team if necessary.
Sisters Hermon and Heroda are fashion micro-influencers with roughly 89K followers on Instagram.
In addition to sharing fashion looks and tips with their followers, they are also disability advocates and often share what it’s like being deaf.
In their ad, the duo shared a video in which they illustrate how being deaf can be considered a barrier in society and how that can make you feel powerless.
They then introduce the brand, Molton Brown, and how its latest fragrance makes them feel "audacious, intense, and passionate." In the caption, they continue to share how the brand’s collection resonated with them because of their life experiences.
This is a great example of how influencers can effectively tie their own personal stories to a brand’s product, making the messaging even stronger.
2. Celebrity Influencer
Celebrity influencers are famous people with large followings — typically in the millions — who are known across many industries. They’re widely recognized and, therefore, have the potential to be very successful in influencing your target audience.
Even if your target audience doesn’t overlap with all of your celebrity influencer’s fans, having them promote and/ or use your product or service is a powerful form of social proof. Since celebrities are so well known, they’re effective at reaching multiple audiences across various channels.
How to Work With a Celebrity Influencer
Since celebrities are so well-known, there are many ways to work with them. You may focus on social media, print or online ads, TV commercials, blogs, or other written publications.
You can ask the celebrity to:
- Post a picture or video promoting your products.
- Share the benefits of using your products.
- Offer coupons and discount codes to their audience.
Celebrity Influencer Example
In a recent Instagram post, supermodel Winnie Harlow shared a post in which she rocks a Fendi back, with a short copy that reads, "The first secret to success is believing in yourself."
Fendi’s mission is all about turning dreams into reality. Harlow has been vocal about her struggle with bullying as a child due to her appearance. However, that didn’t stop her from pursuing her dreams of becoming a supermodel.
She serves as a symbol of perseverance and confidence, which is in great alignment with the brand. As a brand, you want to make sure that the influencers you work with align not only with the audience you want to reach but also with your values.
3. Blog Influencer
A blog influencer is someone who writes for their established blog and has thousands, or millions, of subscribers and readers. Their reach and influence set them apart from other bloggers (meaning, they aren’t just writing for themselves or a very small group of people).
How to Work With a Blog Influencer
To collaborate with a blog influencer, you may write a guest post for their blog, ask to be mentioned in one of their posts, or sponsor a post about one of your products or services. If you sponsor a post on the influencer’s blog, you can also provide images of your products for them to share as well.
Blog Influencer Example
A popular lifestyle blog influencer is Hannah Bronfman of HBFIT.
Bronfman writes about health, beauty, fitness, and creating a life that makes you happy and feels good. Between her blog subscribers, social media following, ads, the book she wrote, and the app she created, Hannah has millions of audience members and fans who keep up with her life.
Her blog features a variety of product, gym, and spa reviews. She collaborated with Face Gym, a local facial studio, on a sponsored blog post about their services and facial treatments.
Bronfman included information about the unique studio, facial experience, why her audience members would love the services Face Gym offers, as well as a coupon code for their first visit.
There are also pictures of Face Gym and the services they offer in Bronfman’s blog post to give audience members a better idea of what to expect from the studio in terms of services and atmosphere.
4. Social Media Influencer
Social media influencers are well-recognized on social platforms, such as Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter, and are followed by thousands or even millions of people.
Social media influencers share content about a wide range of topics such as health, workouts, cars, diet, outdoor activities, travel, fashion, art, beauty, and interior design.
How to Work With a Social Media Influencer
Once you find a social media influencer with an established image that works for your brand, posts content you feel complements your products or services, and has followers who are also members of your target audience, you can determine what type of content you’re going to have them promote.
If the influencer is on Instagram, you may have them post a picture with your product and tag your social account. If they’re on Facebook, you can ask them to share a live video of them opening your product and if they’re on Twitter, you can have them write a brief statement about your product and pair it with a picture of them holding it.
On YouTube, you may have the influencer share a video of them using your product while explaining the reasons why they love it.
On any social media platform, you can also have an influencer host a contest or giveaway with your products or share coupon codes.
Social Media Influencer Example
Tabitha Brown is an actor and vegan influencer who gained popularity on TikTok and Instagram through her buoyant personality. Her 3.9M followers on Instagram consist of health-conscious individuals who enjoy learning about Brown’s vegan recipes, lifestyle, and life advice.
Recently, Brown partnered with plant-based meal company Orro and posted an image on Twitter of her pouring one of their products into a glass.
The post directs the audience to the website where they can learn more about the brand and discover their line of products.
Because Brown is such a strong figure in the plant-based, vegan community, she was a great partner for the brand via influencer marketing. She even has a strong community of non-vegan followers, who simply enjoy her personality and content. This allows Orro to potentially reach multiple personas.
5. Key Opinion Leader
Key opinion leaders (KOLs) are high-level experts on a specialized topic within a particular field. For example, a KOL might specialize in makeup application, the Paleo lifestyle, or Bikram yoga.
If your business is looking to attract audience members in a very specialized field, a KOL is a great option — due to their expert knowledge on a certain topic, KOLs are trusted contributors in their industries and have followings of people who are also invested in those subjects.
How to Work With a KOL
KOLS, like micro and celebrity influencers, are present on many channels, such as social media, blogs, other written publications (like academic journals), and ads. Therefore, your business has many options for how you decide to work with a KOL.
You might have them review one of your products on YouTube, mention you in their column, write a blog post about your brand, share a post about your product on Instagram, or pose with your product for a print or digital advertisement.
Kandee Johnson is a makeup influencer with over 3.9 subscribers on YouTube and over 1.8 million followers on Instagram.
She’s a makeup artist pro — her expert knowledge on makeup application makes her a key opinion leader in the makeup and cosmetic industry. Kandee shares thousands of makeup tutorials, makeup tips and tricks, and product reviews on YouTube and Instagram.
She has shared sponsored content for BoxyCharm — a subscription service that provides customers with a box of several new beauty products every month — promoting their service, as well as her favorite products in the box, among her millions of followers and fans.
BoxyCharm’s target audience includes lovers of beauty products, cosmetics, and makeup which works with Kandee’s huge base of followers. They had Kandee share a post with one of their boxes, describe which products inside she was most excited about, and tag them in her post.
Now that we’ve covered the different types of influencers your business can work with, let’s review how to find these influencers so they can begin helping you reach your target audience.
How to Find Influencers
Identifying the right influencer to work with might seem like a daunting task — so, we’ve put together this list of ways you can use to find the right person to help you improve your brand awareness and reach.
The most straightforward way to go about an influencer search is with the help of Google (or any search engine). Remember an influencer is already creating content in your field and reaching your target audience. So, a Google search for industry-related terms and keywords will surface experts in those areas.
Review articles related to various topics in your field, conduct individual searches for people you’ve heard of or know are already high impact contributors, and scan industry-specific sites and web pages for influencers.
You can also search for influencers on various social media platforms. Whether or not you’re going for a social media influencer, most influencers will likely have some sort of social media presence — their profiles serve as a great way to learn more about them.
On social, search for keywords and phrases, specific users, hashtags, and tagged audience members on specific posts (brands and social users may have tagged influencers you could potentially work within posts).
Don’t forget to look in the comments sections of high-traffic posts related to your industry or type of work as influencers may have posted comments and interacted with members of your target audience there. You can even get some ideas from influencer posts on your competitor’s accounts.
Use your current network (professional and personal) to obtain referrals. Look for KOLs on LinkedIn and ask your team if they’ve recently followed any micro-influencers on social who regularly post content that’s compatible with your brand and image.
If you’ve worked with any influencers in the past, ask them if they’re willing to connect your business with other influencers they know as well.
Reading blogs is another great way to locate influencers — that is, both the blog authors and their sources. Scan for the people mentioned in the blogs. Perhaps the blogger is reviewing their work, mentioned a quote from them, or asked them to contribute to the piece.
Additionally, themed publications (business, art, beauty, or fashion) often do expert round-ups where they feature dozens of influencers. You can research the individual further to determine if they’re a good fit for your business.
Due to the rising popularity of influencer marketing, various technologies and software have emerged to help businesses identify influencers and measure their success.
Three of the most popular options include Modash, BuzzStream and BuzzSumo.
- Modash helps users search and filter influencers based on things like follower count, engagement rates, and audience profiles. It can also help users find influencer emails and monitor influencer marketing campaigns.
- BuzzStream allows users to research influencers. As a user, you also can build profiles, review influencer interactions, measure their success through engagement metrics, and review their contact history.
- BuzzSumo allows you to identify key influencers that are popular among your target audience. It also allows you to analyze which types of content perform best for influencers and review the content of your competitors.
Talent Agencies and Agents
If you’re looking to hire a specific celebrity influencer, it’s unlikely you’re going to be able to send them a direct email or give them a call (although that’d be pretty cool). Instead, you’ll probably have to go through a talent agency or work with an agent to determine whether or not that celebrity is willing to work with your brand and for what price.
How to Create an Influencer Marketing Strategy
- Determine your campaign goals.
- Define your campaign audience.
- Set your budget and choose your influencer type.
- Choose your influencer and review their work.
- Develop your campaign messaging for your influencer.
- Finalize campaign expectations with your influencer.
- Pay your influencer.
- Measure your results.
Let’s dive into how you can create an influencer marketing strategy for your business. This strategy will allow you to manage all aspects of your relationship with an influencer. It’ll also ensure they’re successful in helping you achieve your campaign goals.
1. Determine your campaign goals.
The first step is to create goals for your influencer marketing strategy — these will help you measure the success of your campaign. Think about your objectives in terms of SMART goals.
When working to develop influencer marketing SMART goals, there are three factors to keep in mind: reach, relevance, and resonance. These will help you focus your goals on the different aspects of influencer marketing.
Use a free template to determine your SMART goals.
- Reach is the ability to deliver content to your target audience through an influencer — it helps you improve brand and product awareness. For example, how many people on Instagram are actually seeing the content an influencer is posting about your product?
- Relevance is the level of connection your audience feels to your brand, product, or service due to the work of an influencer — it’ll help you enhance brand loyalty. For example, if your audience sees a celebrity they love and admire with your product, they might begin to feel a strong connection to it, too.
- Resonance is the ability to drive audience members to a specific action because of an influencer’s content — it’s all about impact and memorability. Resonance helps you increase your follower count, drive traffic to your site, and boost conversions. For example, if your audience reads a blog post written by an influencer about your product, they may click on the link in the blog post that directs them to your website so they can buy it.
2. Define your campaign audience.
Regardless of which type of influencer you work with, your target audience will remain the same. Different influencers may have different ways of connecting with your audience, but your business’s overall marketing goals and buyer personas don’t change.
Before moving forward with your influencer marketing strategy, work with your marketing team to develop and learn about your buyer personas.
This will help you identify the exact type of customer you’re going after and, therefore, help you determine what type of influencer and content will appeal most to them to ensure your target audience is aligned with that of the influencer.
Learn how to build buyer personas for your business.
3. Set your budget and choose your influencer type.
Based on our review of the five major types of influencers, you should be able to determine which type will work best for your business’s goals and target audience. From there, you can start building a budget.
For example, if you’re a startup with a low budget, you might choose to work with a micro-influencer. If you’re a mid-sized company with more resources, you might choose to bring on a celebrity influencer or work with a KOL who’s highly regarded in their industry.
HubSpot Blog Research found that marketers typically pay between $501 and $10K for nano, micro-influencer, and macro-influencers, with $10K+ budgets reserved for mostly mega influencers.
According to the survey, roughly 90% of marketers have a budget specifically for influencer marketing, with 45% allocating between $100K to $500K.
4. Choose your influencer and review their work.
Once you’ve determined the type of influencer you want to work with, it’s time to identify the right influencer for your company.
Quality of content and engagement are the top two factors marketers review when considering an influencer on social media, according to a 2021 survey from HubSpot Blog Research. Surprisingly, follower count falls fifth on the list, behind alignment with company values and branding.
However, this falls in line with recent data showing that brands are caring less about the size of influencers' following, as they give more weight to other elements.
When considering someone for a campaign, ask yourself (and the influencer) the following questions:
- Does this influencer and their lifestyle fit my brand image?
- Have they worked with any of my competitors?
- Who is this influencer’s current audience?
- Is my target audience active on the platform/channel primarily used by this influencer?
- Does working with this influencer make sense for my budget?
- Has this influencer actually used any of my products or services before? Are they a customer?
- Does this person have a personality I want to work with?
- What will this influencer expect from me?
5. Develop your campaign messaging for your influencer.
Once you’ve chosen an influencer, it's time to plug them into your campaign. Work with your marketing team to develop your campaign messaging and determine what content your influencer should (and should not) publish.
Be sure to share your brand guidelines — including details about your brand voice, tag lines, and language to avoid — with your influencer so they can remain on-brand with their content. Remember, whether an influencer posts about your product or service one time or 100 times, they're still representing your brand and business. Ensure they have the tools to do so accurately.
In this stage, you should also determine whether your influencer will be creating content for your campaign on their own or if you'll be providing the content for them to post.
Lastly, be sure to discuss how they’re going to help you boost traffic with their content and which target metrics you can expect per post or piece of content.
6. Finalize campaign expectations with your influencer.
Finally, review all of the expectations you have for them in addition to any expectations they have for you. Remember your chosen influencer may have worked with other brands before yours — meaning, they may already have their own processes in place for the way they do business.
Additionally, their expectations are going to differ depending on the type of influencer they are. For example, a micro-influencer is going to have different expectations for the way you communicate with them versus a celebrity. A micro-influencer may speak directly with you whereas a celebrity may have an agent communicate on their behalf.
Lastly, you’ll want to ensure these expectations are written, agreed upon, and signed by both you and the influencer — you can organize all of this information through an influencer contract. This will help you avoid any issues and discrepancies down the road.
To help get the ball rolling, here are some examples of the expectations to review:
- How this influencer will be paid or rewarded (money, swag, discounts, coupon codes, etc.)
- How long you’ll be working together
- How you and the influencer will be communicating with each other
- Any other terms of contract necessary for your specific business to review
6. Pay your influencer.
Influencers don't work for free.
You’ll need to discuss compensation early on so you can both be on the same page about what the work will entail if you decide to move forward.
If you're a small company with little to no influencer budget, there are still ways to collaborate with influencers. You can offer:
- Swag (such as clothing, accessories, or product samples)
- Free products and/or services
- Access to discount codes and coupons
7. Measure your campaign results.
Lastly, you must measure your influencer marketing strategy results. This is how you’ll determine the level of success you’ve had in reaching your audience with the help of the influencer.
According to data from a 2021 HubSpot Blog Research survey, revenue is the most important metric to marketers when measuring the impact of an influencer campaign.
To start, refer back to the SMART goals you set (as well as influencer marketing metrics) to help you determine whether or not you’ve achieved your objectives.
Here's more detail on which metrics you’ll want to keep an eye on when measuring your influencer marketing strategy success:
- Engagement: Keep an eye on all engagement involving content shared by the influencer about your brand and products. Engagement includes various interactions such as Likes, shares, Comments, Retweets, Mentions, Direct Messages, and Reposts on channels like social media, blogs, and forums.
- Reach: Determine your reach, or how many people are actually seeing the content your influencer is sharing about your brand, by looking at your overall number of views.
- Resonance: Learn about the level of resonance — or the actions that were completed — by your audience members after they consume and/ or interact with the influencer's content involving your brand.
- Brand Awareness: Measure your brand awareness among the audience members of your influencer as they begin sharing content related to your brand. There are quantitative — such as direct traffic and social engagement — and qualitative — such as social listening and awareness surveys — ways to measure your brand awareness.
- Clicks: Review the number of clicks on the content the influencer shares about your brand, whether it’s a direct link to your website, a CTA, a social media giveaway, or a signup form.
- Conversions: Calculate your conversions (the number of leads who become customers) as a result of your influencer marketing strategy. You can calculate conversions on your website or through URLs (such as discount/ checkout codes found on the influencer’s social media account or blog) by dividing your conversions by your overall number of visitors.
- Return on Investment (ROI): Calculate the return on your influencer marketing investment by dividing the return (or benefit) by the cost of the influencer marketing investment.
- Follower Count: Track the increase and decrease of your number of social media followers or blog subscribers over time to see whether or not the influencer is helping you boost your follower and/ or subscriber count.
In terms of measuring the success of the influencer’s work, BuzzStream and BuzzSumo both have analytics tools built into the software to help you measure the success of the influencer’s work. You can also opt for a BuzzStream or BuzzSumo alternatives with similar analytics software. These types of software are especially helpful in allowing you to determine ROI from your influencer marketing strategy, which is known to be the most difficult metric to measure when working with an influencer for businesses.
Google Analytics is great if you want to track overall traffic directed to your website and the number of leads converted. The software provides you with a deep look at acquisition, behavior, and conversions related to an influencer and your visitors.
For example, if you ask the influencer to conduct a giveaway or contest, look at the number of people who participated. Say you give the influencer a discount code for audience members to use at checkout, see how many people used it to make a purchase.
If you provide the influencer with specific URLs with tags to specific posts or landing pages, you can also track their performance by looking at the number of leads directed to those pages.
Now, onto measuring influencer marketing success on social media. HubSpot’s Social Tool can help you pull specific engagement-related data, like reach and interactions, from various platforms. Additionally, the respective social platforms you’re using may have analytics tools built-in as well, such as Twitter Analytics and Instagram Insights.
Do you still need some inspiration for your influencer marketing strategy? Let’s look at three successful strategies implemented by major companies.
Influencer Marketing Examples
There are many successful influencer marketing campaigns your business can look to for guidance when trying to think of ways to reach your target audience. Here are a few examples:
1. Hydro Flask and Andrea Hannemann, Social Media Influencer
Andrea Hannemann, more commonly known as @earthyandy, is a social media influencer based in Hawaii.
Her account, which has over one million followers, depicts her life — she’s a vegan, earth-conscious, and outdoorsy mom and wife.
She has an affinity for clean eating and cooking as well as plant-based foods and products. Andrea regularly posts beautiful pictures and videos of her lifestyle and diet (which her kids and husband participate in) and receives hundreds of thousands of interactions on her posts.
Andrea was featured in a video sponsored by Hydro Flask, which she posted on her Instagram page, showing the ways in which the reusable, insulated, and functional water bottle fits into her life. The post was also a giveaway and received close to 400,000 likes and over 40,000 comments.
Hydro Flask was able to identify a social media influencer who’s lifestyle and content fit their branding and image and conduct a highly successful giveaway. The post increased their brand awareness among Andrea’s one million followers.
It also helped move traffic from Andrea’s page to the Hydro Flask Instagram page, as her post included several links taking audience members directly there to learn more about the company.
2. Nespresso and George Clooney, Celebrity Influencer
Nespresso teamed up with George Clooney, a globally-recognized celebrity, and brought him on as a celebrity influencer for their Cup Above campaign. Nespresso was able to identify the actor as someone who’s known by the general public and fits their sophisticated, elegant, and high-end image.
Nespresso now has print ads, digital ads, social media posts, and television commercials starring George.
3. American Express and Leo Chan, Social Media Influencer
Leo Chan is a popular fashion blogger with over 100K followers on Instagram. over one million subscribers. He also has a popular lifestyle blog, called Levitate Style.
As part of a paid partnership with American Express, Chan posted on Instagram to outline the benefits of having an AMEX card while putting it in the context of his own day-to-day adventures.
This is a great example of how brands can pair up with influencers who match the audience they’re attempting to reach.
How Influencer Marketing Will Change in 2023
Innovative industries are continuously changing; influencer marketing is no different. Influencers and marketers alike are finding new ways to reach audiences and promote products.
As we move into the new year, there are five key ways that influencer marketing will be changing. Make note of these changes as you adapt your marketing strategy.
1. Micro-influencers will have a greater impact.
Micro-influencers may seem like the smallest players in the influencer marketing game, but they pack the biggest punch.
Recent research suggests that micro-influencers may actually produce better results than mega-influencers. That’s because as influencers become more popular, sometimes their engagement goes down.
And according to HubSpot Blog Research, brands are not looking at follower count first when considering influencers. It’s more about the quality of their content and their engagement rates.
Because of this, micro-influencers will likely have more influence than celebrities in the future.
2. Influencer activity will extend beyond Instagram.
A 2021 HubSpot Blog Research survey found that Instagram is the most popular place for influencer marketing. However, it’s surprisingly not the platform that brings in the highest ROI.
Turns out, that’s actually Facebook.
This doesn’t mean that Instagram is fading into the background anytime soon. However, it seems more brands are expanding beyond Instagram and considering how other channels can support their marketing efforts.
Moving forward, keep an eye out for influencer marketing on YouTube, Tik Tok, Snapchat, and Pinterest, especially if your audience leans more toward Generation Z.
3. Employees and customers will become influencers.
We've talked about the power of marketing through your customers, but have you considered how powerful your customers could be as influencers? Customers are people who already know about, like, and own your product; this makes for an easy transition from customer advocacy to customer influence.
The same goes for your employees — people who've invested time and creativity into growing your business. This factor alone gives your staff genuine credibility.
As people who are already engaged with the development of your product or service, employees can be natural advocates. In the coming year, we'll likely see the rise of these two parties as brand influencers.
4. Businesses will invest in long-term relationships, not one-off campaigns.
You've read about it in this guide — it can be tough and expensive to identify and connect with the right influencer. In the past, brands usually hired influencers for one-time campaigns. As we move into a new year, however, we'll likely see brands building long-term relationships instead.
Not only does this effort save time, energy, and money for marketers, but it also allows the influencer to build trust with and make a greater impact on a brand's audience.
Long-term relationships with influencers also increase credibility for whatever product or service the influencer is marketing.
Kickstart Your Influencer Marketing Strategy
Influencer marketing has become increasingly popular for brands to invest in. With the rise of word-of-mouth marketing and social proof, it’s a great way to connect with audience members, enhance brand awareness, and boost conversions. By identifying the type of influencer best suited for your business and developing an influencer marketing strategy, you’ll improve your reach among potential customers.
So, begin developing your business’s plans for incorporating influencers in your marketing tactics today so they can help you build new and lasting relationships with your target audience.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in May 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.