Marketing 101: What is Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is not a new concept. Maybe a new term, but not a new concept. In fact, I would argue that influencer marketing has been around since before the time of social media and the internet in the form of celebrity marketing & endorsements.

I remember when I was very little, my parents taking me to a local J.C. Penney at a nearby mall where they had a few Chicago Bears players signing autographs in-store. A lifelong Chicagoan, my dad got us kids all hyped to go meet the Chicago Bears and into the store we went.

This was before the widespread use of the internet and I am certain my dad read about this in the Chicago Sun-Times, or heard about it through word-of-mouth marketing. But in either case, there we were, shopping at J.C. Penney from the influential draw of this athlete.

Today, the word influencer has changed to be a more broad in scope but it has just as much impact on business as it did then.

What is an influencer?

According to this article in Forbes, “An influencer, therefore, is someone who has the power to influence the perception of others or gets them to do something different. When applying this definition to marketers, an influencer is someone who helps other people buy from you.”

Influencers have reach, an audience, and an ability to influence their audience into making a decision or taking action.

So, what is influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is when brands or businesses use the influence of another’s audience to sell their product. You can do this in a lot of ways – I’ll be covering five ways to partner with influencers in Thursday’s post so be sure to check back! – but what’s most important here is to do so in an authentic manner.

Partnering with an athlete to sell your construction tools may cut it. But partner with a well-known YouTuber and DIYer who’s audience is dedicated to fixing homes will be a heck of a lot more influential.

When done right, influencer marketing can help expand your audience and grow your brand through their influence.

Want to read more? Check out my recent blog on “Why being authentic in your marketing matters.”