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Content Marketing

Will Influencer Marketing Work for You?

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Influencer marketing can improve brand recall, but it can be difficult to measure results

Before you even ask if influencer marketing will work for your brand, you should make sure you’re comfortable with the understanding of what an influencer is. An influencer is someone who has established credibility and an audience. These individuals can persuade others by virtue of their trustworthiness and authenticity.

Conclude that an influencer is just another marketing tool at your own peril. They own the relationship with their followers. Influencers are social relationship assets with whom you can collaborate to achieve your marketing objectives.

Influencers are not new. They’ve always been around. Social media has given them a powerful platform. Some influencers are celebrities, but many more are not famous. Instead, they have earned a reputation because of their knowledge or expertise in a particular topic. They’re followed because of what they know, rather than who they are.

Four basic flavors

Influencers usually fit into four main categories:

  1. Celebrities
  2. Thought leaders and industry experts
  3. Content creators (aka bloggers, vloggers, and podcasters)
  4. Micro-influencers

Where do you find these influencers? Celebrities operate almost exclusively on social media. It’s also where you’ll likely find micro-influencers. This latter group may offer the most promise for a brand, and we’ll get to the reason shortly.


It used to be a lot harder to become famous. The public didn’t get to choose. There were only three television networks, a handful of movie studios, and the music we got to listen to was decided by a few powerful recording industry executives.

The original influencers were celebrities minted this old-fashioned way. Brands paid them for endorsements and saw their sales rise. Today, the public has much more say in who gets to be famous. It’s this feeling of ownership that powers today’s celebrity influencers. We follow celebrities on social media, and we purchase the products or services they spotlight. It’s vicarious.

We’ve also learned that whether they were minted the old-fashioned way or newly crowned, celebrities have feet of clay. They’re human and can make highly public mistakes. UC Davis estimated that Tiger Woods ultimately cost Nike, Gatorade, and other corporate sponsors up to $12 billion in the wake of the scandal involving his extramarital affairs.

Thought leaders and industry experts

The average person on the street might be able to identify Ariana Grande or Kylie Jenner, but they’d have no idea who Seth Godin or Gary Vaynerchuk was – or why they should pay attention to their opinion or recommendation.

Such is the life of a thought leader or industry expert. They don’t get mobbed walking down the street. Nevertheless, these influencers are extremely valuable to companies. Prospects considering your company pay attention if an influential media figure uses their social media status to talk about you. What really gets traction, though, is the actual article or report they publish.

Once published, you’re free to quote – with attribution – what these influencers have said about you. That’s the real value of thought leaders and industry experts as influencers. Unlike a celebrity influencer, you’re not paying them to promote your brand.

Content creators and bloggers

If there were a middle ground between the paid endorsement of a celebrity and the recommendation of a thought leader or industry expert, it would be the work of content creators and bloggers. It’s why HubSpot reports that 43% of B2B marketers say blogging is their most important type of marketing content.

We already know that thought leaders and industry experts are powerful influencers. It’s not an instantaneous status. Indeed, many of today’s most well-known thought leaders will tell you that it was the effort of constant blogging and content creation that contributed to their status.

If you’re a B2B brand, getting on the radar of an established blogger is highly effective in drawing attention within your industry. One of the most interesting options about engaging content creators and bloggers as part of your influencer campaign is that they’re far more likely to ask you to help them shape what they have to say. They might even ask you to guest post.


Quality over quantity. That’s the value proposition of this last and likely most important type of influencer. They are not celebrities. While they are known and revered for their subject matter expertise, they’re not widely followed. They’re likely to have between 1,000 and 10,000 followers on social media. What makes them valuable to you as a brand?

When was the last time that Beyoncé or Justin Bieber gave you a shoutout after you left a comment on their post? Micro-influencers have a high level of intimate engagement with their followers. Compared to the other types of influencers we’ve looked at, micro-influencers will generate more content about your product or service, and they will engage with their followers about this content. HubSpot reports that over 82% of those surveyed said they were likely to buy something a micro-influencer recommended.

Influencer mirror on the wall

Who’s the most powerful influencer of them all? If you’ve got money to burn, engage a celebrity. If you’re looking to gain credibility, court the thought leaders and experts in your industry. If you want to move closer to prospects, seek out micro-influencers.

Meanwhile, don’t overlook the influence you have as the owner of your brand. People search to validate their problems before they look for solutions. Who better than you to lead the discussion about why you offer your product or service?

Learn more about how to use the power of content to develop your influence.

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