A Guide to Influencer Marketing for the Novice

Taylor Watkins
Advertising Manager
Hockessin Athletic Club

If you’ve had your ear to the ground of the marketing world at any time in the last couple of years, you’ve probably heard the term “influencer marketing” being passed around. The advent of social media has opened up a whole new dynamic channel for marketing messages as various people called “influencers” have gathered huge followings across channels like Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and others. What, exactly, is “influencer marketing,” and more importantly, how can you leverage it to spread the word about your product or service?

Influencer Marketing Explained

As the public gets more and more inundated by mass media advertising, they have become less and less responsive to it. Meanwhile, word-of-mouth advertising is stronger than ever. People would much rather buy a product because their friend is using it and likes it than because of a commercial they saw on TV.

That said, think of “influencer marketing” as word-of-mouth advertising on a larger scale. The strategy takes many forms, but the idea is to get a social media “influencer” (i.e., someone with a large online following related to your target market) to try, use, wear or talk about your product online.

Why It Works

Since social media is “social” by definition, people tend to think of influencers more as friends than as paid celebrity endorsers, even though they don’t know them personally. If someone with influenceonline says your product is worth buying, thousands or millions of their followers will take their word for it, and many of them will try your product, too.

Examples of Influencer Marketing

What does influencer marketing look like in the real world? It happens around us all the time. Let’s look at a few examples:

  • An Instagram influencer in the fashion category takes a selfie wearing your latest jewelry creation and tags you in her post describing what she likes about it.
  • A local indie filmmaker with a solid Facebook following promotes your upcoming seminar on how to generate funding for your next film.
  • A YouTuber in the tech category shoots a video trying out the app you just developed.
  • A well-known blogger posts a review about your health product, either on her own blog or in a relevant online publication that many health-conscious people read.

Tips for Effective Influencer Marketing

There are now agencies who devote most or all of their efforts toward helping businesses with influencer marketing strategies. However, if you are in charge of marketing your product or service and want to explore this avenue, here are some tips that may help.

  • Aim for relevance more than numbers.A famous person may have 40 million Twitter followers just because they’re famous, but perhaps less than 1 percent of those people will have interest in your herbal supplement. By contrast, a health enthusiast Instagrammer with 100,000 loyal followers will convince a lot more people to try your supplement—just because it’s a relevant target audience.
  • Find influencers by asking your current customer base. Try doing a survey to find out who they follow on Twitter/Instagram; chances are other people like them are following, too. Also, be on the lookout for influencers among your current customers—people with large social media followings—and see if they’d be willing to review or share about their experience with your product.
  • A budget is helpful but not always necessary.Some influencers now require payment to endorse/review a product online, and if they have a huge following, the investment may be worth it. However, it can be just as effective to find a true fan who is an influencer who would be willing to talk about your organically.

Hockessin Athletic Club offers a number of opportunities to spread the word about relevant products and services to an upscale health-conscious market—including opportunities to post articles in our digital magazine that reaches thousands of people per month. Give us a call to learn more. 

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