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What Is Influencer Marketing and How Does It Work?

Influencer marketing is a relatively new strategy that has grown in popularity, thanks to its potential to reach the target audience effectively. That said, most businesses are yet to get started with influencer marketing, probably due to limited knowledge about it.

Influencer marketing is a strategy that uses people with large followings on social media to promote a business or product. For example, an online clothing retailer can pay a popular YouTuber to wear their clothes in videos, convincing some of the influencer’s followers to buy the marketed brand.

Arguably, this type of marketing is one of the hottest buzzwords in digital advertising. But what does it mean, and how exactly does it work? Read on for detailed answers to these intriguing questions.

What Is an Influencer Marketing Strategy?

Influencer marketing is a form of digital advertising where brands pay third-party endorsers with massive social media followers to promote their products. This type of advertising typically occurs on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

The influencer could be a blogger, famous YouTuber, or Instagrammer with millions of followers. Brands typically pay them to promote their products on social media sites.

Another type of influencer marketing is where companies will pay celebrities to endorse their product. This method has been used by many famous brands such as Nike, Apple, and General Electric.

The idea behind these strategies is that people attracted to stars or bloggers will be drawn in by the endorsement and buy products they have never heard about before but are now being endorsed.

How Influencer Marketing Works

So, how does influencer marketing work?

Typically, the influencer will promote the product to their audience. They might recommend a product, post an ad about it or even do what is called “shout-outs,” which means they tag the brand in a tweet and mention them on Instagram.

This type of marketing can be very effective if correctly done because people are more likely to trust celebrities they admire.

It is important to note that influencer marketing can be costly. It’s not uncommon for an established YouTube star with a million subscribers and high engagement rates, such as PewDiePie or Zoella, to charge millions of dollars to give brand shout-outs. Besides, brands need to have active social media accounts to ensure the target audience can see their content.

What Are the Benefits of Influencer Marketing?

Generally, influencer marketing is a great way for businesses to cut through all of the advertising clutter and get in front of consumers with new products or services. It also saves companies time on research and development as they don't’ need to create everything themselves.

Here are some of the advantages of influencer marketing:

Lower Costs

One of the biggest benefits is that it’s a great way for companies to attract new customers without spending a fortune on advertising, especially given how influencers can promote brands organically.

Besides, you don’t have to spend much on marketing planning since the chances are that the influencer you want to partner with may already know what their audience likes most.

Time Saver

The other advantage of influencer marketing is that it saves businesses time and effort. A company doesn’t need to create its ads or content, which can take many resources. The influencers promote the products, so they’re already invested in them, and chances are they have followers who like similar products.


Often, influencers will be more creative with their posts and might even have insights into the content that increases engagement levels.

This could make them better at advertising than marketers from companies who don’t share as much about themselves online.

Access to Niche Markets

Companies could also use influencer marketing to reach not only new audiences but also niche ones. This is possible because the marketers have access to a lot more information about their followers than businesses might otherwise have.

For example, an Instagrammer specializing in food photos will know what kind of posts are most popular with their followers.

A Creative Approach to Social Media Advertising

Influencer marketing allows brands and marketers a lot more flexibility in creativity than traditional advertising, which is especially helpful with social media platforms like Instagram, which don’t limit the number of posts used in a campaign.

This means companies have the opportunity to use different approaches to advertising and can get creative with it.

Reach New Audiences

Another benefit to influencer marketing is that companies have the opportunity to reach new audiences. This happens because they are taking advantage of an already established social media presence.

Examples of brands that have used influencer marketing and reported impressive engagement levels include:

The Cons of Influencer Marketing

Despite its benefits, influencer marketing comes with several cons. Some of them include:

It Doesn’t Guarantee Success

Although influencers are often expensive, they don’t always guarantee results. Besides, not all of them have the same level of engagement or reach that others do.

Because of that, businesses need to find out which influencer has the highest level of interactions with their audience to increase the chances of succeeding.

Finding the Right Influencer Is Difficult

It can also be tricky to find the right influencers because there are so many of them. This could take a lot of time and effort, which can be challenging for businesses that are already busy.

Besides, influencers might be too expensive for some companies, especially start-ups.

It Requires an Ongoing Commitment

Another disadvantage of influencer marketing is that it requires a long-term commitment. As such, businesses should make sure they’re dedicated to the process before committing. Otherwise, this could end up being more costly than if they had just paid for advertising.

The Risk of Irrelevant Influencers

There is also a risk that an influencer may become irrelevant in the future, which means companies might invest time and money into something that won’t be fruitful anymore.

Nonetheless, influencer marketing can be an excellent opportunity for businesses if they take the time to consider what it could offer them and how best to utilize its benefits.

What Are Some of the Best Practices When It Comes To Working With Influencers?

In general, the best practices working with influencers in marketing include researching factors like engagement levels before settling on a specific influencer, building lasting relationships with them, and staying updated to ensure you work with those who are relevant.

Here is a brief overview of these practices:

  • Acknowledge that not all influencers will work for you. Do your research to find the best fit with a high level of engagement and reach in your desired niche market so they can help increase your conversions.

  • Build an ongoing relationship with influencers before hiring them. This improves their likelihood of providing better service.

  • Consider a two-way relationship with an influencer. This includes providing them value in return, such as a free product or service they can use on their social media accounts and blog posts to help grow yours.

  • Stay updated because not all influencers will work for you in the future. Some might become irrelevant or lose access to their social media accounts, posing a challenge to your marketing strategy.

  • Work with a company to help monitor and track your campaign’s progress, such as an app like Hootsuite or Twitter for Business. This can be time-consuming, but it can also save you much time in the long run.

  • Consider including an “in partnership with” disclaimer on any content created as part of influencer marketing, such as social media posts or sponsored blog articles. This creates a sense of identity with your brand as followers interact with influencers’ posts.

Here is a video that explains how to use influencer marketing to grow your business:


Influencer marketing is a type of digital advertising that has been popping up in recent years. It’s taken off because social media influencers are easy to find. Besides, they can promote products without coming off as "salesy".

That said, it’s crucial to find influencers who match your brand, have the right audience size for you, and are on platforms where they can be found. Even though it may not always work out in your favour, this type of digital advertising is still one of the best ways to get new customers!

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