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Influencer marketing is when brands compensate real people on social media to promote their products to their followers. Typically, the influencers have a strong social media presence with thousands of followers who value their opinion on products. This can drive the sale of products and brands can expect to see a strong return on investment as a result. The reason that influencer marketing is so powerful is partly due to the overall influence that social media has on this newest generation of consumers. It also attributes its success to the human connection that influencers create with their followers. 


Social media influencers are portrayed as relatable because they tend to be ‘regular people’ rather than celebrities. They create the visual that the products that they use are affordable and often times, promoters are given a code that will offer a slight discount to those who use it. This not only entices the consumer to purchase a product that they may have been on the fence about, but it also serves as a way for the promoter to keep track of how many people used their unique code, and they can be properly compensated for it by the company. 


To date, Instagram is the most commonly used social media platform for influencer marketing, with over 1 billion active users and 50% annual growth. Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter follow closely behind. In the past year since a shopping feature was added to Instagram stories, approximately 80% of active users on the app follow at least one brand account for a business. 


The top factors that marketers track when utilizing influencers to build their brand are the return on investment that they see and the sales conversions. With influencer marketing becoming such a popular outlet to build brand awareness and drive sales, many businesses are now starting to build a budget around the intent to use influencer marketing. 


YouTube stars on Instagram remain one of the biggest influencers for many brands. Consumers react more to those who are well-known for YouTube more than celebrities as YouTubers are seen as normal, everyday people who can easily be relatable. In fact, the emotional attachment that consumers feel to YouTube famous influencers is 7 times more than regular celebrities. 


What is in it for the influencer, besides compensation? Most influencers agree to promote products that they are familiar with, already use, and genuinely like. This provides for more authentic branding by the influencer and makes it easier for them to promote the product to their loyal followers. More often, influencers just want to build their influence on key products and topics more than they want to get paid, as they see the longer-term benefits of this. 


Influencer marketing is a technique that is beneficial for all parties involved and will likely continue to be utilized as social media becomes more prominent in the consumer world.