Social Media

What Is the Premise Behind Influencer Marketing?

Jun 24, 2024 | By Chris Jacks
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Exploring the principles and the premise behind influencer marketing. Photo by Amelia Bartlett on Unsplash

What is the premise behind influencer marketing? What are the underlying principles and truths that all the best influencer marketing campaigns share?

Things like reach and scope certainly spring to mind. But once we factor in aspects like authenticity, trust, and connection, the reality becomes a little more complex.

So let’s take a look. Read on as we explore core premises that underpin the entire influencer market.

What Is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing is all about leveraging the reach, trust, and respect of an influential partner for your own brand. Let’s say you’re in business selling cool luggage pieces to people aged 25 to 40 who like to travel in style. You find an influencer in the travel fashion space — someone who resonates with this age group — and you reach out to them for collaboration.

The influencer uses your luggage pieces. They take them on a trip down to Punta Cana and share lots of social media posts of them using the luggage. They tell their fans how great your product is.

Not only are your luggage pieces now exposed to a whole new audience, but these new leads are already moving through the nurturing process. They trust your influencer partner and love what they do, and some of that love and trust is now rubbing off on your products.

This is just one example of many. Basically, if you are offering products and services to an audience that’s engaged on social media, working with influencers can provide a real boost. Social channels are the medium through which most influencers work their magic.

What Is the Premise Behind Influencer Marketing?

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Influencers can form real connections with audiences. Photo by Madrona Rose on Unsplash

You might have noticed that there’s more to an influencer marketing strategy than just exposure. Anyone can get exposure — influencers might have hundreds of thousands of followers on their socials — but this is going to be worthless if most of those followers aren’t engaged with the influencer’s posts.

Or how about this — rather than selling luggage pieces, your business is selling stylish suits and office wear? A slick travel influencer taking your smart button-down and suit jacket to the beaches of Punta Cana is going to be pretty jarring. It’s not going to have the right effect.

That’s because it failed to meet the fundamental premise behind influencer marketing: adhering to the key principles of authenticity, relevance, and engagement.

Key Principles of Influencer Marketing

To understand how these principles impact the premise of influencer marketing, we need to examine them in a bit more detail.

Authenticity

Let me give you another example. Your business sells gymwear, and one of your trademark pieces is a pair of yoga pants that offers comfort, support, and some fun color options. You reach out to influencers in the market, find your partner, and sign a deal. Then, you send the influencer a pair of pants, and wait for the magic to happen. 

On Monday, you get your post. Your influencer loves the pants — they’re her ‘favorite’ and she can’t get enough of them in her workouts. Great. But on Tuesday, she’s wearing pants from your competitor, and she loves them too. They’re also her favorite. Then on Wednesday, a third pair of pants. And guess what? These are her favorite too.

This is an example of how influencers can quickly lose trust if they are not authentic. Audiences understand how influencer marketing works, so they want to see genuine promotions — products the influencers themselves actually love. Choosing an influencer who can do an authentic review is absolutely critical to success.

Relevance

We already touched upon the whole “office wear at the beach” thing, but this is a really important principle. When you work with influencers, the results must be relevant to your audience. 

You could get a hundred thousand eyes on your product, or even a million. But if none of those audience members are actually interested in it, there’s no point.

Working with influencers can be a great way to introduce your product to a new set of customers and strengthen your position in the market. Just make sure you’re going after the right customers and the right market.

Engagement

The top influencers have huge audiences, and these audience members are super-engaged. Yes, this means lots of likes and comments. But it also means lots of shares too — spreading the word about the products the influencers are promoting.

Not only shares but direct action too. Around 87% of people say they have bought a product because they saw an influencer posting about it. 

In this sense, an effective influencer campaign is far more than just a nice piece of promotion. It can become an important step in the buyer’s journey. It may even make the difference between a conversion and a missed opportunity.

How to Utilize Influencer Marketing for Your Brand

Now that you know a bit about what a successful influencer partnership can do, it’s time to think about how you can achieve this too. How can you harness the core premise and key principles of influencer marketing for your own campaigns?

Build Trust and Connection

Trust and connection are always front and center when working with influencers. You need your audience to trust you and forge a connection with what you’re selling, and this means they need to trust and connect with your influencer partners too.

Someone like Morgan Eckroth is a good example here. Better known to many as MorganDrinksCoffee, she is an influencer who knows her market, knows her product, and knows what her audience wants to see.

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Morgan Eckroth, the barista influencer. Image by Morgan Eckroth via TikTok

Now, many of us enjoy coffee. Lots of us probably drink it every day, and we might think we know a thing or two about the beverage. But there’s a world of difference between a coffee fan making a “hey I love this new product” reel and someone with real technical knowledge and professional expertise shooting an explainer or how-to video.

Morgan is a former champion barista and a certified coffee expert. People really trust her and what she has to say. If she’s recommending your coffee product, then good times are coming your way.

The barista element is also useful here. We all know how interacting with a cheerful, engaging barista can brighten your morning — Morgan is forming that same connection, digitally.

Capitalize on Social Influence

When you’re selecting which influencers to work with, who are you going to choose? Influencer A with 100,000 followers? Or Influencer B with only 9,687?

This sounds like an easy question. Surely the answer is A? Well, actually, there might be more to it than that. If Influencer A has 20,000 bots in their audience, that’s not much good. And if the remaining 80,000 just forgot to unfollow and aren’t that bothered about what the influencer is saying, suddenly that 100k doesn’t sound quite so impressive.

Reach is definitely important here. You want to connect with as many different people as possible. But social influence and engagement are more important. In fact, in 2021 micro influencers — i.e., influencers with between 5,000 and 30,000 followers — made up 91% of the market.  Your business can gain real traction by looking for social connection and engagement from smaller-scale influencers rather than just huge follower numbers.

Leverage Authenticity and Relatability

Take a look at the work of advertisers at the top of their game – something like the Verizon Super Bowl commercial with Beyoncé and Tony Hale. Then, check out the content of some of the best influencers out there, like Emma Chamberlain taking a stroll around New York.

The Verizon ad looks awesome. It’s slick and sharp, with amazing production values and a tight, turn-on-a-dime script.

Emma’s videos look great too. But there’s a rawness to them. There are handheld camera shots, unscripted speech, natural meet-and-greets, and a slightly chaotic vibe overall.

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Emma Chamberlain in New York. Image by Emma Chamberlain via YouTube.

This is an example of how influencer marketing is so different from traditional advertising. People love Beyoncé, and to a lesser extent (no disrespect intended, Tony) they love Tony Hale too. But they don’t relate to “dropping new mega-tracks” and “breaking the internet.” They totally relate to walking around a big city and finding a cool place to eat.

There’s a real authenticity to Emma’s work that showcases all that influencer marketing can be. Finding influencers that your audience relates to — partners who are authentic and real — gives you the opportunity to insert your products and services into the everyday lives of your customers.

This authenticity is something we aim to provide with our influencer matching services. At HireInfluence, we work with a range of different influencers, helping clients find the partner that best suits their businesses.

Consider Your Existing Audience and Your Targets

Many brands work with influencers because they want to mine a whole new seam of potential customers. But realistically, this new audience isn’t going to be radically different from your existing audience. They are likely driven by the same motivations, looking for the same things, and engaged with the same values. They might simply not have heard of your product yet, or they might need a little extra nudge before they make a purchase.

As you select which influencers to work with, keep this existing audience in mind. Would your current customers enjoy the content the influencer candidate produces? Are they likely to be engaged with their messaging? This is important for two reasons:

  1. The tastes of your current audience will help you understand how you can connect with a broader audience.
  2. You certainly don’t want to alienate anyone. If you’re turning your existing customers away from your brand just to bring in new prospects, it won’t end well.

It’s also worth thinking about your targets. Influencer marketing isn’t just about bringing in a certain number of new customers and selling one product to each of them. It’s about contextualizing your products to increase average order value too and turning one-off purchasers into loyal brand advocates.

Whether you simply want to grow your audience, enhance full lifetime value, or introduce upselling opportunities, these targets will have an impact on your influencer marketing strategy.

Final Thoughts – Getting Your Influencer Marketing Strategy Right

The idea that an influencer marketing strategy is just handing your product to a social media personality and letting them go to work is way out of date. When brands work with influencers, it’s not just raw numbers they’re looking for — it’s authenticity, trust, real-life contextualization, and promotions that feel more like recommendations from a friend than ads.

Done right, influencer marketing can be enormously beneficial for you and your brand. But you need to keep the underlying premise and key principles in mind on your journey to success. 

HireInfluence has been recognized as the Top Digital Marketing Agencies In Los Angeles according to DesignRush.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Chris Jacks is an influencer marketing professional with over a decade of experience in the digital marketing sphere. As the Director of Growth Strategy, Chris oversees and drives strategic initiatives to fuel business expansion. With a keen eye for market trends and opportunities, Chris develops comprehensive growth plans and aligns business objectives across cross-functional teams. With a strong focus on crafting impactful, ROI-driven influencer campaigns across multiple sectors, Chris utilizes his expertise to enhance market positioning and maximize results.

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