What is Influencer Marketing?

Where did it all start? In a little over a decade, digital media has evolved from a niche resource, to a sizable global industry with more than 40,000 companies that run about two billion social media followers each on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and other digital media channels. These companies generate content, sell their products, issue recommendations and help customers make smart purchasing decisions. Media giants like Facebook, Google and YouTube are leading the charge in tracking business trends, however, there are thousands of influencer marketing companies that are jumping on the bandwagon. With marketers making more of their ads available in-stream, the influence of influencers is also going through the roof.

How are brands using influencers? Influencer marketing is not limited to professional celebrities. Brands like OPI, Modcloth, Bath & Body Works, Express, Kit and Ace, Wendy’s and many others are using influencers to get their messages into consumers’ eyes in their unique social media voices.

But what’s social? Influencer marketing isn’t just about getting your message in front of one or two people. It’s about influencers creating conversations on a mass scale—that’s what makes influencer marketing so effective, because it drives consumer advocacy and emotional resonance. Examples of great influencer campaigns this year include:

I have spent the past 24 hours drooling over one of my favourite Instagram influencers’ latest photos of a perfectly organic rainbow smoothie, which in my opinion, represents how my brand is going to live and breathe in 2019. Equally, my friends and I have over 50 followers who are very much behind my healthy lifestyle and my Fairtrade Chai Tea-flavoured Churros (not to mention my good friend Oliver from Whole Foods) endorsing my #marketing activities. If we carry on this trend, then later this year and into 2020, you’ll see My Organic Lemonade becoming a ubiquitous presence on shelves of local and international food stores across the U.S. , as well as my posts being shared on Walmarts and Sprouts (again, my friend Oliver from Whole Foods) giving me thousands of fans.

, as well as my posts being shared on Walmarts and Sprouts (again, my friend Oliver from Whole Foods) giving me thousands of fans. I have been working with an influencer called Maryam Tan, a young, beautiful, Afghan-American born IT analyst in Austin, Texas, for the past three months. I am passionate about inspiring and cultivating amazing women in social media so I took Maryam to the Spotted by Megan costume expo. I loved the way she approached the world of “me” as a teenager in real-time, sharing her first kiss, her college years and ultimately life as a loving wife, and mother. Her unique perspective allowed me to work on her behalf to help her grow her brand. I have watched her evolve, built on trust, support and love—and she loves me for it. The result has been impressive with measurable benefits for me. Her #VisionsForYourBrand campaign has proven one of the top five social media success stories in the past four months with over 3,000 fans across a diverse range of themes. The campaign has led her to work with a tireless number of brands which have been rewarded with growth.

What’s next for the influencer marketing industry? This year’s trends include the online influencer network which will help build audiences and build revenue. Additionally, participants in the upcoming 2018 TMP360 will be learning about the newest platforms for influencer marketing—how they’re transforming the way people connect with content and brands, how they inspire businesses to create brand experiences people want to share, and how the analytics are growing as Instagram does research and likes the results.

The influencer marketing industry is thriving, but it’s equally as important that brands are aware that great influencers have a lot more to offer than they do. Take it from a professional who’s worked with almost 300,000 users and comes from almost $100k worth of sales. I am happy to say that over 95% of my customers find me over social, over 10% find me through my website and 5% find me from my blog. And only 1% actually go to the influencer’s personal site to make a purchase.

Matt Michelone

Managing Director, Agency Partners

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