Word of mouth is crucial when it comes to promoting your business. This is why using influencer marketing to amp up your channels of promotion is necessary.

A good way to do this is by getting others to help. Finding an influencer is a great way to get others to market your business and increase your word of mouth marketing.

There are a ton of places out there that will actually help you find influencers. That way you don’t have to blast out the information yourself, you influencers will do it for you.

What is influencer marketing?

This is not a new marketing strategy. In fact, you’ve probably been exposed to many influencer charged content over the past few years. But, with the growth in social media, there has been a great influx of influencer marketing.

This marketing strategy has grown significantly because marketers have realized that an influencer’s reach is quite large. Even those with smaller reach, with high credibility, can have a pretty big influence for a brand.

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History of influencer marketing

Influencer marketing isn’t new. In fact, influencer marketing been around for quite some time and gained a lot of momentum in the 20th century. Think about Santa Claus – a historical figure and the face of Christmas, he also happens to be a brand influencer for Coca-Cola.

If you think about it, characters and celebrities have been the face of many brands for years.

  • Toucan Sam for Kellogg’s Fruit Loops is fun and energetic, helping influence kids to want the product. He’s been around since the 60’s.

Characters have been used in influencer marketing for quite some time.

  • LeBron James for Nike. He’s a well-known athlete and has been the face of many athletic wear campaigns since his 2003 start in the NBA.

In the past years, influencers were primarily made up of famous people. But, because of social media, many new influencers have emerged. Now, an influencer can be a social media user who has a large following. And actually, many social media influencers develop fame and have become actors, models, and musicians just from their influence on social sites.

Who uses influencer marketing?

Brands of all sizes use influencer marketing. You may see an influencer talking about a big brand name, like Nike, Revlon, or even Colgate. On the other hand, you may see smaller boutiques, and specialty goods, like a local jewelry maker or organic dog treat shop being promoted by influencers as well.

Who can be an influencer?

Almost anyone can be an influencer. There is a catch, however, most brands look for influencers who are ‘knowledgeable’ about their type of product. For example, a makeup brand looks for influencers who are either well-known in the field, like a celebrity, or who are really good at using their types of products.

Covergirl, for example, may ask a beauty vlogger to be an influencer for them, rather than a vlogger who’s channel is about cooking.

Above all else, and said best by G2 Crowd ‘s influencer marketing guide, “Character is an insanely important aspect of influencer marketing”. With that being said… There are a variety of people that make the cut for being an influencer.

  • Celebrities
  • Content Creators
  • Thought Leaders
  • Industry Experts
  • Micro Influencer

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What’s in it for influencers?

Influencers aren’t like brand ambassadors and advocates, meaning they aren’t doing this stuff for free. In an influencer program, it’s expected that the influencer is compensated in some way. Though they might actually love the product, they are motivated to participate because of the incentive. But, to be fair, most influencers only participate in influencer programs that align with the things they like anyway.

Some common incentives

1. Free Product. Usually, the brand will provide the influencer with a product to try, promote, and review.

2. Cash. This is sometimes an additional bonus to the free product. High profile influencers, typically, make some serious cash.

3. Exposure. The brand may promote the content created by the influencer. Further broadening their exposure. Thus making them more marketable for other influencer programs.

How to successfully do influencer marketing

Running a great influencer program takes a little work, like all other marketing campaigns. Yes, you are getting others to create the content and promote for you. But, you have to set it up for success before any of this can occur.

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  • Use an influencer marketing software – There are quite a few tools out there. Using one of them would be wise. They can help you do everything from getting an influencer to tracking the influencers reach, and even help issue rewards. Some common ones include Tapinfluence and Famebit.
  • Weed out those who are unfit – Not everyone has what it takes to be an influencer. Brands have to be picky here. They must choose someone who will represent them fairly, someone who has a good influence or following, and that person has to fit into their niche. Luckily, most influencer marketing programs ran by software have influencers submit a form. So all the brand has to do is filter through and pick who they like.
  • Clearly define milestones – Before you begin a journey with anyone, you have to set clear expectations. Most brands that run influencer programs make sure their influencers know what to expect before they even start their journey. Everything from what is expected of the influencer to do, to rewards and compensation is laid out.

There you have it

As you can see influencer marketing doesn’t fall far from the tree. That is because it’s strategy, like others, rely on word of mouth marketing. The goal is to build momentum for a product or brand.

Posted by Megan Mosley

Megan Mosley is a writer for Referral Rock. You can find her poking around online or tweeting about marketing, small businesses, SEO, or even sharing funny memes. She is addicted to coffee and uses it as a fuel to keep her going through the day.