An influencer is a content creator in your niche or industry with sway over your target audience.

Influencers have specialized knowledge, authority or insight into a specific subject. Their pre-existing presence in a niche makes them a useful launching pad for brands in search of credibility. 85% of marketers engaged in influencer marketing in 2017 and 92% said their campaigns were effective.

An influencer assists companies in “influencer marketing,” a form of advertising that builds brand authority on the back of another person’s reputation.

Types of influencer

Influencers have a long history in marketing. Initially, companies used credible figures like celebrities and athletes to help sell their products through television and radio ads. The rise of social media has made other types of influencers more popular. Today, influencers fit into the following categories:

  • Celebrities: Artists, athletes, and pop culture stars.
  • Industry experts and thought leaders
  • Micro-influencers: Individuals with impact on social media
  • Bloggers and content creators

The bulk of influencer marketing today occurs in social media. Micro-influencers and bloggers are a more cost-effective way to access instant credibility for growing brands.

How to identify an influencer

Influencers are trustworthy voices in a specific niche.

To find social media influencers:

  • Use tools like BuzzSumo to discover trending content and the authors that write it.
  • Browse through LinkedIn for authority figures with experience in your industry.
  • Search Twitter using hashtags to find micro-influencers
  • Use Google to see recent blog posts related to industry keywords.
  • Use a tool like Vista Social to look for trending topics and hashtags for your brand.

How to work with an influencer

Once you’ve found your influencers, you need to convince them to work with you. As influencer marketing grows more popular, the demand for influencers is rising. A few ways to connect with influential figures include:

  • Gifting them with goods and services: Identify people who share the same values as your brand and give them free versions of your product in exchange for a review. Publish your reviews to Tik Tok, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and your website.
  • Sponsor posts: Seek out bloggers with impact in your industry and pay for them to write a blog or article relevant to your space. This is a less labor-intensive way to work with influencers.
  • Guest posts: Ask people to write on your website, or request to place a piece of content on their site instead. This can boost brand reach.
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The benefits of working with influencers

Influencers are highly important because they offer instant access to the credibility a growing company needs. 70% of millennials are influenced by recommendations from their peers. Influencers provide a connection point between companies and their target market. Working with an influencer:

  • Increases brand awareness: Gain exposure to your influencer’s existing audience. This market is already engaged and waiting for relevant content.
  • Builds trust: Consumers already trust the opinions of the influencers they follow. Influencers instantly boost the credibility of your brand.
  • Improves customer relationships: Improves relationships with your customers through the intimate existing connections influencers have with them.
  • Strengthens your brand: The positive connection influencers already have with customers causes a “halo effect” which strengthens the company in the eyes of the consumer.
  • Improves SEO: Working with influencers offers opportunities for link-building. More links lead to better search rankings.
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