What is influencer marketing?

Demystifying Influencer Marketing

What exactly is influencer marketing? And how can you harness its power effectively?

In the ever-evolving world of digital marketing, the term “influencer marketing” has taken center stage. With social media platforms exploding in popularity, leveraging influencers has become a strategy that many businesses, big and small, are exploring. But what exactly is influencer marketing? And how can you harness its power effectively? Let’s dive in!

What is influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is a type of social media marketing that involves endorsements and product placements from individuals (influencers) who have a dedicated and engaged following. Unlike traditional celebrities, influencers can range from someone with a few thousand niche followers to those with millions of mainstream followers. The key here is engagement – an influencer’s capacity to interact and influence their followers’ purchasing decisions.

The benefits of influencer marketing

In today’s dynamic digital age, tapping into the vast potential of influencers to supplement your other marketing efforts can offer your business a competitive edge. Before diving deep into strategies and tactics, let’s understand the foundational benefits of influencer marketing and why it’s become such a significant force in the world of digital marketing.

  • Trust & Authenticity: Influencers have often spent years building trust and authenticity with their followers. When they recommend a product or service, it often comes across as a genuine endorsement rather than a straightforward advertisement.
  • Targeted Exposure: With influencers often specializing in niche areas like vegan cooking, travel blogging, or DIY fashion, businesses can target their products to a very specific and tuned-in audience.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: For small and medium-sized businesses, influencer marketing can be more cost-effective than traditional advertising channels. Depending on the influencer’s reach, businesses can negotiate on a range of budgets or sometimes simply send samples in exchange for one or more posts. Their rates are often negotiable and sometimes much cheaper than putting together a PPC or social media ad for a similar post.
  • Improved SEO: Quality backlinks from influencer websites or blogs can enhance your website’s search engine rankings.

Followers ≠ engagement: a crucial distinction

One of the common misconceptions about influencer marketing is equating a large follower count with effective influence. The truth is, having many followers doesn’t necessarily mean high engagement. Engagement refers to how actively followers interact with an influencer’s content—be it through likes, shares, comments, or direct messages.

Sometimes, an influencer with hundreds of thousands or even millions of followers might have lower engagement rates than an influencer with just a few thousand followers. For businesses, partnering with an influencer with high engagement rates can be more beneficial than simply chasing those with high follower counts. After all, it’s better to reach 1,000 engaged users who are genuinely interested in your product than 10,000 passive users who might just scroll past it.

How to calculate an Instagram influencer’s engagement rate

The commonly used formula to calculate engagement rate for a single Instagram post is:

Engagement Rate= (Total Engagements / Total Followers) x 100


    • Total Engagements is the sum of likes, comments, and other interactions (like saves) for a specific post.

    • Total Followers is the number of followers the account has at the time of the post.

For example, if a post gets 250 likes, 10 comments, and 5 saves, and the account has 10,000 followers:

Engagement Rate=(265/10,000) × 100 = 2.65% Engagement Rate

This means that 2.65% of the followers engaged with the post.

To calculate the average engagement rate over a period (like a month), you can take the average engagement rate of all posts during that period.

A general rule of thumb I like to use is that if you’re seeing anything less than a 1% engagement rate on a majority of posts, collaborating with that influencer will most likely not be worth your time and money. 1-4% is an average engagement rate, while anything over 6% is exceptional.

Collaborating with influencers: best practices

Let’s explore some guiding principles and practices that can streamline your journey with influencers and optimize outcomes for your brand.

    • Research and Choose Wisely: Not all influencers will be a good fit for your brand. Research potential influencers in your niche, look at their engagement rates, the quality of their content, and the authenticity of their interactions. Do their followers seem tuned into the influencer’s content, and do their demographics match up with those of your target audience? 

    • Clear Communication: Once you identify potential influencers, reach out to them with a clear proposal. Discuss expectations, deliverables, compensation, and other crucial details upfront.

    • Be Authentic: Allow influencers creative freedom. While it’s okay to give guidelines, don’t force them into a rigid mold. Their followers value their unique voice and style, so let them be authentic.

    • Measure ROI: After the collaboration, measure the return on investment. Look at metrics like engagement, website traffic, and sales conversions to evaluate the effectiveness of the campaign.

    • Build Long-term Relationships: Instead of one-off collaborations, consider building long-term partnerships with influencers. This can lead to more authentic endorsements and continued exposure to their audience.

Influencer marketing offers a unique opportunity business owners to reach a targeted, engaged audience. However, it’s essential to approach it with a clear strategy and understanding. Remember, in the world of influencer marketing, genuine engagement trumps sheer numbers every time. With the right influencer collaboration, your brand can achieve remarkable growth and exposure in the vast digital landscape.

If you’re interested in developing an influencer marketing strategy but not sure where to start, contact us today for help – we can help you navigate the world of influencer marketing.

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