What is Influencer Marketing?


Influencer marketing has been around longer than you might expect, dating way before the term became part of our everyday marketing vernacular. There’s always been people who have a platform and can persuade others, whether it was the gladiators in Roman times or the royal family. People are always looking to others to tell them what’s cool.

Since the rise of social media in the early 2010s, influencer marketing has become more and more prominent, and being an influencer has become a full-time job. Since 2016 alone, there has been a 465% increase in google searches for influencer marketing. With TikTok hitting its stride during the coronavirus pandemic when everyone was forced to be in their houses and on their phones, influencer marketing is bigger than ever. So, you might be familiar with the term “influencer marketing,” but what is it?

What is an Influencer?

This seems like a logical first question. An influencer is someone who has the power to affect purchasing decisions. Someone who has a following and engages with a distinct niche. In other words, it’s someone who has influence. Many times, this is seen through the number of followers on a specific social media platform, like Tik Tok or Instagram, but there are also micro-influencers who have a much smaller following but still have influence in their space. 

What is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing is when a business partners with an influencer to help sell their product or service. The reason using influencers is becoming so popular is because of its innate authenticity. With apps like Tik Tok where people are showing their everyday lives, it automatically gives you credibility when someone endorses your product. Teaming up with an influencer not only helps with brand awareness and recognition, but in some cases translates directly to more sales. According to the Digital Marketing Institute, for every dollar spent on influencer marketing, businesses earn $6.50. Furthermore, 53% of women reported making a purchase based on an influencer post.


The key to influencer marketing is finding the right influencer for your business. Maybe you can’t afford an influencer with 100,000 followers, but realistically you might not need one of that size. Research smaller influencers who are making waves and engaging with people in the niches that are most relevant to you. 


How To Apply Other’s Influence to Your Brand

One way to use an influencer is to get them to talk about your product and then give out a discount code associated with their name. For example, ThredUp, the online thrift shop, tapped Emma Chamberlain, the social star with over 14 million Instagram followers and 10 million YouTube subscribers, to talk about the app and give her followers a discount code for 30% off their first purchase. This was successful because Chamberlain first rose to fame doing thrift store hauls and talking about thrifting.

To build brand awareness, Dunkin worked with Charli D’Amelio, the highest followed user on TikTok (125 million followers) and even created a drink with her name. People were suddenly choosing Dunkin over Starbucks, just so they could say they were drinking “The Charli.”

Although both of these examples are on a huge scale, the same principles apply all the way down to the smaller creators.

Influencer marketing is on the rise, so it’s beneficial to understand it now. For more, check out our blog about how the FRIENDS reunion used influencer marketing.

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