Influencer marketing concept, social network diagram, connection and influence, person

Influencer marketing’s purpose is to strategically leverage the power of a given individual’s influence in order to determine the action of another. These individuals can exist on the mega-influencer level in the form of celebrities, sports stars or people with a similar social status, or they can exist on the opposite end of the spectrum, in the form of micro-influencers: everyday customers who possess influence over relevant topics with their friends on social media.

Influencer marketing often works hand in hand with content marketing, social media marketing, and other similar forms of brand promotion on social media channels. However, it takes a step further than standard social media or content strategies because it harnesses the power of authenticity and trust that can only come from word-of-mouth advertising. The power of endorsement and consumer recommendations have always been valued, but impossible to scale- until influencer marketing platforms emerged. The purpose of influencer marketing platforms is to simplify, scale or automate the process of influencer marketing for brand marketers- or to provide a combination of these services. Although platforms and influencers don’t go hand in hand, the capabilities that platforms provide serve to complement an influencer’s potential ability to move the needle on objectives for your brand.

A breakdown on influencer marketing vs. other media strategies:

how influencer marketing compares to other ad strategies


How Do Marketers Use Influencers?

Although influencer marketing was originally viewed to be a tactic for the early stages of the consumer decision journey such as brand awareness and consideration, brands are now using the three influencer types (mega, macro and micro-influencers) at every stage of the journey all the way through to post-purchase loyalty retention. Here are some examples of ways that marketers are using influencers within an influencer marketing strategy:

  • Engagement
  • Direct Traffic to Website
  • Increase conversions (purchases, signups, etc)
  • Acquiring email subscribers
  • Collect survey data and insights
  • Collect user-generated content

Increasingly, brand marketers are realizing the multi-faceted ways that influencers can drive value. For more information on how top CPG brands are using influencer marketing, download our latest eBook, “The Ultimate Influencer Marketing Playbook for CPG Marketers”:

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2016 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.