What is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer 101

Influencer marketing (also known as influence marketing) identifies and activates trending social media personalities to promote a product or campaign across various social platforms. Influencers are enlisted for their unique ability to endorse brands to targeted audiences, while remaining true to their unique voice and story. It is a beneficial partnership for brands looking to attract and retain new customers through a trusted, authentic source.  

Influencer marketing is on the rise, with over half of marketers in the U.S. planning to increase their budgets for influencer-focused campaigns this year, per a recent poll. The same report concluded that over 70% of U.S. marketers found influencer partnerships the most effective marketing approach and the trend has continued exponentially into recent years.

The History of Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing can be traced back to the 1800s when ‘celebrities’ endorsed cigarettes and at-home products.

History of Influencer Marketing

Fast forward to 2004 when bloggers started surfacing—writing about products and brands and accruing cult followings. The launch of social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook in 2006 was when social influencers became a mainstream concept.

In recent years, companies have shifted from traditional advertising mediums to influencer marketing for several reasons. Online advertising prices have risen dramatically, with advertisers claiming to see up to a 300% cost increase on Google and Facebook ads in the last two years. Ad-blockers are also growing in popularity, with experts estimating there were over 200 million ad blocker users in 2015, costing the industry $22 billion in damages for unseen ads.

Online advertising prices have risen dramatically, with advertisers claiming to see up to a 300% cost increase on Google and Facebook ads in the last two years.

Perhaps the best reason of all however, is that consumers often associate the positive qualities of an influencer or celebrity with the product or brand they align themselves with. Influencer marketing can be likened to ‘word-of-mouth’ marketing—a powerful endorsement from a trusted source that is likely to induce customers into making a purchase.

Types of Influencer Marketing

There are countless options for executing a successful influencer marketing campaign. Some popular categories include:

  1. Product placements — Social influencers collaborate with brands to include their product or services within their original content. This is a brilliant opportunity for brands to leverage the influencer’s loyal following to gain exposure and engage customers.
  2. Contests — Utilizing social influencers to promote contests and events generates word-of-mouth awareness about a product or brand, and encourages social media engagement by following the brand’s account or using branded hashtags.
  3. Campaigns — By giving influencers full creative control, they’re able to create organic, branded content that communicates key messages in a way that resonates with their audience—leading to higher levels of engagement and amplification.
  4. Account takeovers — To generate higher numbers of followers and increase engagement on a brand’s social platforms, influencers host a ‘takeover’ where they post original, creative content from the brand’s Instagram, Facebook or Twitter accounts on the brand’s behalf.

Influencer Marketing Case Studies

Joe Boxer

Joe-Boxer-Instagram

Iconix, parent company of Joe Boxer, approached HYPR looking to create an organic conversation on social media surrounding their 2016 holiday apparel line at Kmart. More specifically, Iconix wanted to target consumers age 13-25 with strong levels of interest and engagement on the topic of fashion via a series of social media posts from a network of prolific fashion influencers.

HYPR successfully procured 17 influencers, each of whom posted three times on Instagram (linked to Twitter & Facebook) in support of the Joe Boxer @ Kmart collection—a total of 51 posts. Each post contained brand-specific messaging, encouraging viewers to check out Kmart.com for more details, a bit.ly tracking link (linked to the Joe Boxer @ Kmart landing page), as well as the hashtag #ShowYourJoe.

The campaign ran from November through to December 2016, and generated a reach of 2,276,200 and 175,362 likes. Each post received comments that were overwhelmingly positive in nature, which was indicative of the organic conversation successfully created around Joe Boxer.

Quaker Oats X Oat Meals NYC

Quaker-Oats-X-Oat-Meals-NYC-Instagram

The PepsiCo team approached HYPR looking to procure influencers to attend Quaker Oats “Oat-Tober” Media event at Oat Meals in New York City.

Influencers captured content featuring Oat Meals products, which contained Quaker Oats in each serving. Each influencer posted on their social channels to engage their audience as well as amplifying the brand and restaurant.

In just week, the HYPR team secured six Influencers in the healthy food category who attended the event. Influencer posts were uploaded on social media between the dates of October 4, 2017 and October 6, 2016, resulting in ten posts, 31,389 likes and 496 comments collectively on Instagram.

For more influencer marketing case studies, visit out Resources library.

Do’s and Don’ts of Influencer Marketing

Do:

  • Align your brand or campaign with an influencer whose core audience is in line with your target demographic.
  • Have a strategy. Assess how you can leverage the influencer’s following to create a partnership that’s beneficial for both parties.
  • Choose your platform wisely. A clothing brand, for instance, necessitates a strong visual presence via photography and video to show how the apparel fits and moves; a social gaming app geared for teens may have its biggest impact with the youth-oriented Snapchat; and a nonfiction book launch may be best targeted with a leading journalist or fellow writer on the more type-centric, news-minded Twitter.

Don't:

  • Infringe on the influencer’s creativity. They’ve built a loyal following based on what they do best: creating organic, unique content.
  • Lose sight of your identity. Set guidelines and work collaboratively with the influencer to maintain brand consistency across posts.
  • Approach influencers with a selfish mindset. Influencers receive endorsement opportunities often; it’s within your interests to deliver value in return.

Want additional best practices? Visit our blog post on more Influencer Marketing Do's and Don'ts.

June 9, 2016
The Power of an Individual

Marketing is changing. As our lives shift away from newspaper, radio, and TV ads, many of us are left staggering behind, struggling to retain our market share and failing to keep up with marketing trends.

Read More
June 16, 2018
How Do You Define an Influencer? The Answer Has Shifted

Today's influencer marketing landscape is somewhat incredible, because it empowers otherwise average people to demonstrate immense influence, with only a social media account and their own creativity or knowledge.

Read More
Demo HYPR today.
Explore the platform that is loved by hundreds of Fortune 500 consumer brands and the agencies who represent them.
schedule my demo