Jemima Myers

What is Influencer Marketing?

In the past five years, influencer marketing has grown from relative obscurity to one of the most popular forms of social media marketing, and is on track to be worth $15bn by 2022.

When done right, influencer marketing can help businesses to reach new audiences in a way that feels more authentic than traditional advertising; 71% of marketers say the quality of customers and traffic from influencer marketing is better than other sources.

But if you’re yet to dip your toe into the world of influencer marketing, you may be wondering what influencer marketing is and how it works. Also, you may be afraid of the potential pitfalls of influencer marketing (Fyre festival anyone?)

In this blog, we’ll be talking about all things influencer marketing, social media and how to market your business online.

What are influencers?

Simply put, an influencer is anyone who has the ability to influence others. We all have people in our lives who can influence us, whether they are friends or family or public figures that we look up to.

In the world of social media, an influencer is someone with an engaged following on one or more social media channels, who can wield influence through social media. Many influencers are known for creating content around a specific niche such as food, fashion, fitness or travel, and grow a following by attracting like-minded people who engage with their content. Instagram is often thought of as the most popular influencer marketing platform, but TikTok is also on the rise; 68% of digital marketers plan to use their influencer marketing budget on TikTok in 2021.

Influencers vs. celebrities

In the days before social media, celebrities were the original influencers, with brands rushing to partner with celebrities to advertise their products on TV, magazines and billboards. In 2021, the lines between celebrities and influencers are increasingly blurred; many famous people have large followings on social media, and are also paid by brands to promote products to their followers.

Unlike celebrities, influencers tend to grow their following from social media and are generally viewed by their followers as more relatable than celebrities, although the largest influencers can have followers in the millions too! In recent years, brands have been realising the power of smaller ‘micro’ or ‘nano’ influencers, who have smaller yet very engaged followings, and are often seen as a trusted friend to their followers.

Influencer marketing explained

Influencer marketing is a type of digital marketing where a brand partners with influencers in order to promote their product or service. Some examples of influencer marketing practices include: 

  • Sponsored contentBrands can work with influencers by collaborating on sponsored content, where an influencer is paid a fee to share a product or service with their followers on social media. In the past, it wasn’t always clear whether or not an influencer was being paid to promote a brand or not, but, since 2018, influencers are actually required by law to disclose whether or not they are being paid to advertise a product on social media.
  • Gifts

    Sometimes brands don’t pay influencers to promote their product, but instead send them a product or let them use a service for free. For example, a beauty salon may offer an influencer a free beauty treatment in exchange for a post on social media. 
  • Codes or affiliate links

    You may have seen influencers offering their followers’ discounts on a product or service if they use a special affiliate link or discount code when they make a purchase.Affiliate links can track how many people were ‘influenced’ to make a purchase after viewing an influencer’s content and makes it easier to track ROI (return on investment). Discount codes and affiliate links work for a number of reasons; followers may feel incentivized to use an affiliate link or discount count to make a purchase and support their favourite influencers, and who doesn’t love a discount?

Top tips for influencer marketing

  • Engagement over numbersWhen many brands got started in influencer marketing, it was thought that more followers equals more sales. But just because an influencer has a large following doesn’t mean that they are a good fit for your brand, after all, these followers could actually be fake accounts. Instead, it is more important that the influencers you work with have an audience that are engaged with what they post, so look for lots of likes, comments and shares on their posts.
  • Find influencers that fit your nicheUltimately, your influencer marketing campaign can’t be all things for all people, it doesn’t matter how many followers someone has if they aren’t going to be interested in your product. If you are a vegan cafe, it would be better to work with an influencer who specialises in vegan food content with a smaller and more engaged following, than to work with a larger influencer whose main content revolves around fashion. Take time to consider your audience (perhaps by doing interviews or drawing up audience personas) and think about what values are important to them. This will help you to find influencers that are a good fit for your brand.
  • Speak to the expertsWhen it comes to small business marketing, working with influencers can be a great way to connect with new audiences and raise brand awareness.At Social Chameleon, we are a digital marketing agency that has worked with influencers and businesses for a number of years and understand how to help brands and influencers get the best out of working together.Our dedicated influencer marketing hub connects brands and influencers together for campaigns and projects, to ensure that your influencer marketing campaign is a success.

Are you wondering how to market your business online? We can help. Get in touch with our team of digital marketing experts today at

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