The Rise of Social Media Influencers in Marketing: Part 1

While marketing has always been about influencing and social marketing has been around for years, influencer marketing has emerged as a hybrid of old and new marketing tactics.

Celebrity endorsements were the original form of influencer marketing. Back in 2005, I worked for the agent of the OG influencer, Paris Hilton. We fielded inquiries from hundreds of brands looking to partner with her or invite her to their events. They would send clothes and dog toys just in the hopes of being pictured with the “That’s Hot” queen. But in today’s digital world, social content creators with niche audiences can often offer more value to brands for a lower price. It’s worth noting that these individuals, in most cases, have systematically developed an enthusiastic and engaged follower base.

The rise in popularity has led to influencers playing an integral part in today’s marketing and advertising strategies. We no longer make a media list that doesn’t include influencers. But who is considered an influencer, how does it work, and what are the types of influencers?

What Is Influencer Marketing, and How Does It Work?

Simply put, an influencer is someone who their followers trust. Influencers on online platforms act as brand intermediaries or brand ambassadors and, in recent years, became an advertising medium with targeting capabilities.

Therefore, a social media influencer wields influence through social media. When you hire an influencer to promote your product or brand, that is, by definition, influencer marketing.

To carry out a great influencer marketing campaign, you have to work with experienced influencers in social networks who share your brand’s values. With proper planning and research, almost any business can benefit from them.

Can We Have Some Numbers On The Influencer Marketing Industry?

Sure thing. A Civic Science report indicated that 14% of 18-24-year-olds and 11% of millennials had purchased something in the past six months because a blogger or influencer had recommended it to them.

The market jumped from 1.7 billion in 2016 to 9.7 billion in 2020. While last year, the increase reached 13.8 billion, showing steady growth over time. This year the industry expects to grow 2.8 billion more. Crazy numbers, right?

It is estimated that 75% of brands have dedicated part of their budget to this strategy until 2021. Instagram leads the list of preferred platforms for these ads, but Facebook and Tik Tok follow closely behind.

Types of Influencers

The different types of influencers are named according to the size of their audience. There is no strict limit for audience size, but, in general, influencer types fall into:

Nano Influencers.

10,000 followers or less, such as @ana_kgb (4.749K)

Micro-Influencers.

10,000 to 100,000 followers, such as @davisburleson (28K)

Macro Influencers.

From 100,000 to 1 million followers, such as @mariataktouk (794K)

Mega Influencers.

More than 1 million followers, such as @staskaranikolaou (10.8M)

How Much For An Influencer?

Influencers with a broad reach justifiably expect to be paid for their work. Offering free products can work with nano-influencers, but a more extensive influencer campaign requires a budget.

That budget can be pretty hefty for big brands working with celebrity influencers. The U.S. influencer marketing budget is expected to exceed $4 billion this year.

Now that we’ve learned the basics, we’ll explore the steps to take to create a campaign using influencer marketing in our next blog.