Influencer marketing is expected to continue to rise in popularity as a marketing tactic in 2021.
Following a year in which the global pandemic caused many businesses and agencies to slash their marketing budgets and get creative, influencer marketing stood out as a cost-effective, targeted means of reaching specific buying audiences.
According to Wikipedia, “Influencer marketing (also known as influence marketing) is a form of social media marketing involving endorsements and product placement from influencers, people and organizations who have a purported expert level of knowledge or social influence in their field. Influencer content may be framed as testimonial advertising; influencers play the role of a potential buyer, or may be involved as third parties.”
Many companies assume that “influencers” mean celebrities, or people with hundreds of thousands—or millions—of followers. Actually, many successful influencer marketing campaigns tap into the power of niche networks, such as parenting blogger or gaming fans. Their networks may be much smaller—but highly engaged and responsive.
In reality, most people are “influencers” to some degree, whether they realize it or not! And in the age of social media, it’s increasingly possible for “average” people from all walks of life to earn free products and other compensation by sharing on behalf of companies who sponsor them.
In a sense, influencer marketing is another form of affiliate marketing, in which individuals team with companies and receive a percentage of income when people buy specific products and services they recommend. Influencer marketing extends the concept in different ways, such as co-branded content and other forms of creative access to an influencer’s network of followers and fans.
Neal Scaffer, author of The Age of Influence, writes that engaging the voice of influencers helps businesses spread their message. “It’s investing what power you have to move outside and incite word-of-mouth marketing so that ‘other’ voices will talk about your business,” he says. “It is not about merely building brand but giving you the tools to engage influential voices for a variety of business objectives. It is about returning to the original premise of engaging in social media: inciting word-of-mouth conversations about your brand.”
While some of the largest marketing agencies experienced major workforce reductions in 2020, at least one—Influencer Marketing Factory—focused on influencer marketing and was able to grow its client base.
Every industry has its key influencers, such as this list of 30 small business IT influencers to follow. It pays to find those who are most respected in your field and keep up with what they are sharing; often, you’ll discover sponsors who are supporting their work.
As an influencer myself, I frequently partner with companies such as Libsyn (podcast hosting provider) and Intellifluence (influencer marketing platform) to promote their products in exchange for some compensation. In fact, in full disclosure this post is sponsored by Intellifluence. It’s a smart platform for businesses (like Go For Launch) to connect and engage with influencers.
Join our newsletter
Subscribe to get our latest content by email—and
a free copy of our Ultimate Business Checklist.
Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a "sponsored post." The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."