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Influencer Marketing 101: The Ultimate Guide to Getting Started in Influencer Marketing in 2023

Are you considering a career in influencer marketing? Whether you’re a novice marketer or a seasoned vet exploring new opportunities, this guide will walk you through the basics of influencer marketing and the steps to achieve success in this industry. We’ll touch on everything you need to know to build a solid understanding of influencer marketing – definitions, history, terminology, tips, and resources. By the time you’re finished reading this guide, you’ll be more confident in tackling influencer marketing head-on.

Influencer marketing 101

Influencer marketing is a highly effective means of promoting your brand’s product or service. Partnering with established influencers whose following aligns with your target audience is a powerful way to connect with potential customers, compared to traditional avenues. Because influencers have built long-term trust with their audience, their recommendations are accepted more readily and further legitimize a brand. 

Influencer marketers are typically responsible for developing strategy, conducting outreach, securing influencer partnerships, managing campaign details, and analyzing data. Careers in influencer marketing offer abundant opportunities for exposure and collaboration with diverse communities. If you’re ready to venture into a burgeoning branch of non-traditional marketing and have a passion for Internet culture, influencer marketing may be the ideal career path for you!

A brief history of influencer marketing

Although influencer marketing is considered a newer marketing endeavor, its fundamental principles are rooted in practices popularized hundreds, if not thousands, of years ago. 

That’s right – influencers are not a new phenomena. 

Influential figures have been affecting others’ behavior and ways of thinking for thousands of years. In a more basic sense, humans have relied on word-of-mouth recommendations and the transfer of information since the birth of civilization. 

In the context of modern-day marketing, influencer marketing has expanded beyond celebrity endorsements to include content creators, entrepreneurs, industry authorities, and social media personalities of all sizes. 

Technology like the Internet, cell phones, and social media platforms have catalyzed the exponential prevalence of content creators and scaled influencer marketing to an unprecedented degree. According to Forbes, the influencer marketing industry is projected to grow to $16.4 billion globally in 2022, skyrocketing more than 445% in the last five years. 

Looking to the future, it’s clear that influencer marketing will not be disappearing anytime soon. Rapid evolutions surrounding social media and ecommerce will likely introduce new technology and innovations that will continue to shape influencer marketing.

Terminology

Before you can achieve success as an influencer marketer, it’s important to familiarize yourself with relevant industry terms. 

Brief:

A written document that informs influencers of campaign details and requirements such as messaging, content deliverables, and brand guidelines.

Creator Economy:

This refers to content creators’ ability to monetize their digital content and presence, in addition to the supporting infrastructure used to create and distribute content, like Youtube, Tiktok, Patreon, and Twitch.

Creator Licensing:

Executing branded paid ads through an influencer’s social media channels, rather than the brand’s. Often used to promote authenticity, garner larger reach, and optimize engagement. Previously known as “whitelisting.” 

Earned Media:

Similar to user-generated content, earned media is the distribution of non-sponsored media that is created and posted organically. This type of content distribution can be attributed to marketing and influencer campaigns.

Influencer:

In simplest terms, influencers are individuals that hold authority among a particular audience. They typically have the ability to impact others’ behavior or ways of thinking. 

Owned Media:

Digital properties that are controlled by a brand, including websites, newsletters, blogs, and social media channels.

Paid Media:

Promotional marketing that you pay for, including various forms of advertisements, sponsorships, and content amplification.

Product Seeding: 

Offering free products or access to a service to influencers without any contractual obligations, with the hope that the influencer will promote the brand to their audience.

User-Generated Content (UGC):

Non-sponsored content that is made organically by customers or social media users. This type of content can be particularly effective in promoting a brand, as recommendations made without incentivization are a form of social proof and seen as authentic.

Tips

To achieve success as an influencer marketer, keep these tips in mind:

  • Develop your influencer strategy around your marketing and business goals. Different objectives will have different executions. Keeping overarching goals in mind will allow you to determine the most effective campaign strategy for your brand and provide direction for influencers’ content.
  • Finding the right influencers starts with a deep understanding of your target audience. Familiarity with your target audience’s demographics, interests, habits, and niche are key elements to inform your influencer selection. 
  • This one might seem obvious – ideal influencers should be relevant to your niche. It’s not enough that an influencer’s following shares some overlap with your target audience. If your brand doesn’t offer relevant benefits to an influencer’s audience, it’s unlikely to attract meaningful interest.
  • Give influencers as much creative autonomy as possible! Influencers and content creators are intimately aware of what works with their audience. Trusting their intuition, while offering support and guidance with respect to the brand, boosts the likelihood of influencers creating effective content that appears authentic and resonates with their followers.
  • Stay organized! Managing influencer campaigns means you’ll be responsible for overseeing a number of moving elements. Maintaining strong organizational skills will help you with scheduling, managing deliverables, and navigating challenges that may arise.
  • Monitor performance and analyze data. Marketing campaigns are dynamic – identifying areas for improvement and making data-driven adjustments will help you refine your strategy.

Popular tools and resources

There are countless tools aimed at influencer marketing at your disposal. Several of the most popular tools among industry professionals include:

Influencer discovery and management platforms 

Depending on the scale of your influencer campaign and budget, influencer discovery and management platforms can be a valuable addition to your arsenal of tools. Platforms dedicated to influencer marketing, like Aspire and tagger, offer a diverse array of tailored recommendations, automations, and analytical features to lessen your workload and localize your campaign management to one central hub.

Social media management platforms 

Social media management tools, such as Hubspot, Sprout Social, and Hootsuite, can assist your influencer marketing efforts through social listening, data tracking, and the ability to simplify engagement across social media networks. 

Project management platforms

Trello, Notion, and Asana are three of the most popular project management tools. These platforms allow for collaboration, scheduling, and task delegation among teams, as well as administrative organization like content calendars.

Regardless if you’re tackling influencer marketing on your own or with a dedicated team, utilizing the resources that are accessible to you will help you execute successful influencer campaigns. Additionally, staying up to date on influencer marketing trends and industry news is a valuable tool to support your path to success.

If you want to learn more about careers in influencer marketing, check out our career guide to influencer marketing!

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