This past holiday season everyone was looking for gifts for their family and friends that were meaningful and reliable, especially during this time when online shopping is essential. Who did they look to when they needed ideas for what to buy? These days, many turn to social media influencers for trusted recommendations! But, are brands also doing their part by reaching out to influencers to market their product or services to the right audiences?

What is influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is a form of marketing where brands and organizations partner with social media users that have a large following or highly engaged community to share their products or services. Social media influencers have become a large part of the social media landscape over the past 10 years, and brand partnerships with them have been evolving more and more each year.

What are the benefits for brands?

These influencers are already a trusted resource for their communities, and that trust plays a major role when brands are vetting these users. From increased revenue and engagement to being discovered by new audiences, influencer marketing can have a big impact for brands when done correctly.

A large part of this involves creating dynamic, engaging content to get the message across to the targeted audience. When a brand partners with influencers, it becomes up to the influencer to create the content to talk to their audience in a way that feels authentic (with guidance and approval of course).

Influencer marketing vs traditional social media marketing

Many marketers have rated influencer marketing as their fastest-growing method for reaching customers online. It could be the tactic that many marketers rely on because it is proven to be less disruptive than other, more traditional online marketing tactics. 47% of users have ad blockers on their browsers, and that number is only increasing. When brands work with influencers, not only may they able to reach these users, but they’re reaching a highly engaged audience.

This is because of the way social media algorithms view this content. Facebook, for example, continues to gear their News Feed towards favoring organic exposure from friends and family (and yes, influencers) over brand pages. This is where influencer marketing can come into play as an invaluable tool for brands.

When a user follows an influencer it’s because they’re interested in their content and want to hear more from them. Choosing the right influencer partnership can help a brand reach the right audience and often gain more long-term exposure than they might through other tactics. In many cases, with more traditional social media marketing, brands put out an ad campaign and the exposure ends when the ad campaign does. With influencer marketing, the promoted content is typically live on the influencer’s feed, and followers can always go back to see it.

Brands that use influencer marketing

If you’re active on social media, you’ve likely seen many brands being promoted by influencers. But what are the most popular platforms for this tactic? According to Business Insider, nearly four in five (79%) brands predominantly choose Instagram for influencer campaigns, compared to Facebook (46%), YouTube (36%), Twitter (24%), and LinkedIn (12%).

Some brands have even moved to solely using influencer marketing, rather than a more traditional marketing mix. Daniel Willington, a Swedish watchmaker, is one of these brands that uses influencers in the lifestyle and fashion industry to market their products. In 2015, the startup managed to bring in a revenue of 220 million dollars thanks to eye-catching influencer posts and a branded hashtag. As part of their influencer marketing efforts, they gave influencers a discount code for their followers to use if they chose to buy the watch.

Another example of a brand that uses influencer marketing is HelloFresh. HelloFresh, the largest meal-kit provider in the United States tailors their subscriptions based on their customers’ needs. The company provides customers with recipes and the exact ingredients needed to cook healthy meals and avoid creating waste with leftover ingredients. HelloFresh has invested heavily in their influencer marketing department, and by doing so, they have gotten the attention of potential customers that they may not have been able to reach on their own and encourage trials of their service.

If you‘re still wondering “how can my product or service reach future customers and audiences from different communities?” or “how can I possibly market my product or service to become successful without a creative content team?”… give influencer marketing a chance!