I am sure that by now you have heard this buzz phrase if you are running pretty much any kind of business, influencer marketing.  So, let’s clear the air about what influencer marketing is, isn’t, and how you can take full advantage of a proper influencer relationship. In reality, influencer marketing is a misnomer, which is why we chose to use the term influencer relationship. To be clear, we are probably not going to be winning any influencer awards for this post, but that is the cross we will bear.

So, what is an influencer relationship?

The 50,000-foot view is simply put, you have someone with a lot of attention on them talking about you for either trade or fees.  In more depth, Sally has a Facebook, Instagram, a TikTok, or whatever the next “big thing that all the kids are into”, with a ton of people that watch everything that she does, says, or promotes.  You have a business and want to co-op Sally’s fan base to get more customers.  So, you go to Sally and say hey, you’re good enough, smart enough, and doggone it people like you, would you be interested in talking about me to all your fans?  Sally says sure, but, I need something in return.  Sometimes Sally wants something that you offer, and sometimes Sally wants a boatload of cash.  Now you get to decide what Sally’s influence is worth.  So, how do you decide this?  You have to do your homework.  Just because Sally says she is an influencer and produces 20 TikTok videos a day, doesn’t mean anyone cares what she is saying.  So, here is what to look for:

  • How many followers? (Anything below 40,000 followers is referred to as a micro-influencer)
  • How much interaction does she get? (Having followers is just a piece of the puzzle, how many people are interacting with the things she is doing?)
  • What does her past influencer relationships have to say? (This is like hiring an employee. If you wouldn’t hire someone to work for you without checking references, why would you hire someone to speak for you without doing the same?)

So, what isn’t an influencer relationship?

Influencers are really good at getting people to talk about them, and possibly bringing you into the conversation.  They are not a good substitute for an actual marketing plan.  Influencers can bring a lot of value to your brand, but unless you have a solid brand and strategy for sharing your brand, you are pissing in the wind. Hiring an influencer is not a replacement for hiring a marketing company or in-house marketing team.  If it comes down to budget, hire a solid strategic marketing company to build up your budget, then when you have a larger pocket, get into the influencer game.  I know, you are sitting here reading a blog from a marketing company, telling you to hire a marketing company. But, you are reading this, so I guess I have made my point…

How can you take full advantage of an influencer?

If you have made it to this point, you probably already have a few ideas.  Do your homework, work with your marketing team to create an influencer strategy, and most importantly consistency is the mother of all success.  Do whatever it takes to create a relationship with influencers so that they don’t just promote you tomorrow, then turn around the next day and promote your biggest rivalry.  Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to start a relationship with an influencer, as part of an overall marketing strategy, by wooing them into becoming your biggest fan. This is just like dating, you bring them flowers, take long walks on the beach and make sure that they only have eyes for you.  Sometimes dating relationships don’t work out, and you have to be willing to say, this isn’t worth it, and walk away.  Don’t worry, the perfect influencer relationship is out there.  There are plenty of fish in the sea, but in the meantime, do some actual strategic marketing.