Influencer marketing dominated 2018, and some businesses are still questioning the relevancy of this marketing strategy. Like it or not, many audiences are thrilled with the notion of influencer marketing. They trust the people they follow on social media channels and tapping into the right source can be lucrative for both parties. However, to take advantage of this social media marketing tool, you need to know the basics.

What is an influencer?

Think about people you have seen on social media channels. Perhaps one blogs about hair care, but when speaking casually about makeup, they note their favorite lipstick. Their followers trust this person’s opinion and decide they want to try the same lipstick. An influencer can change opinions, influence actions, or encourage the purchase of a product. They may have millions of followers or only thousands (micro-influencers have a smaller following) but their marketing reach remains impressive.

What is influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is like getting a celebrity on board with your business strategy, but they don’t necessarily need the fame to be influential. Influencer marketing only requires a following within your industry, with an attentive audience that would be interested in your product or service.

Why is influencer marketing important?

Influencer marketing wins over traditional advertising most of the time. A Facebook ad can build awareness, but you can’t buy the power of a trusted individual vouching for your product or service. Influencers have cultivated a community and amassed a group of followers that can’t be bought, making it much easier to reach your target audience more effectively.

How can you find the right influencer for your brand?

This is where it starts to get tricky. You don’t want to partner with just any influencer. Social media personalities can purchase fake followers that make them seem more relevant than they are. To determine the right influencer for your brand, follow your audience. Do some research and look for evidence of honest engagement. You can also reach out to existing customers to see if they follow anyone on social media platforms.

How do you form a business relationship with an influencer?

You need to have the right expectations. Partnering with an influencer is a business transaction like any other, and there are risks. You have much less control over this type of marketing, so it’s critical that you choose an influencer carefully. An influencer can destroy your reputation if Twitter decides to dig up negative tweets from their past. Also, if your influencer lacks maturity, your audience will notice immediately. They still have full control over their content. Make certain that your brand partners with someone who reflects your values; clarify in the contract what is expected from both parties.

Many influencers ask for compensation, but that will vary significantly based on the industry and the number of followers they have. Does every business absolutely need an influencer? Not necessarily, but every business could benefit from one if you can find the right partner. It’s the age of digital marketing, and it’s time to get on board with the new trends.