​The word influencer gets thrown around a lot these days and so it should. After reading Linquia’s State of Influencer Marketing report it’s interesting to see that 63% of marketers today work with 10 or more influencers on every campaign. Consumers are increasingly turning to social influencers as a way to identify products, services and activities that resonate with their lifestyles. This has opened an opportunity for brands and marketing teams alike to build and manage relationships with influencers to endorse their products and advertise their campaigns.

In a social media marketer’s world, an influencer is commonly associated with social media celebrities, fitness gurus, gaming addicts and advocates, those who help companies gain exposure through those all-important likes, shares and comments through platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. On the topic of social media platforms, Facebook still lead the way possessing the largest user base, however fast approaching is its younger sibling Instagram. In mid-2018 Instagram announced that is had reached 1 billion monthly active users and is now well on its way to the second billion. Instagram has genuinely become the powerhouse platform of late, especially with the younger generation and influencers.

As influencer marketing matures in the industry it will start to attract support from companies and apps to simplify the process for both parties. Over the last 12 months we have seen 320 new influencer marketing focussed platforms and agencies enter the market, that’s more than twice the number that existed two years previous. An increased buy in from media agencies has allowed companies to easily identify influencers from a larger pool, offering companies a chance to reach a wider more suitable audience.

It’s not all popularity. Your influencer needs to be connected to your audience. Yes, reach is necessary if you need help to gain more exposure, but influencers have much more to give to a brand. They are masters of content creation, they made their success from being creative and they know exactly what engages the target audience. Don’t fall into the same trap as most marketeers and recruit influencers based on social metrics.

Finding your influencers is often the most time-consuming part of influencer marketing if done right. It’s not just about scrolling through Instagram and score boarding your top 10. You want to dig deeper and find past brand collaborations, platforms their most successful on and the content they produce, it needs to be in line with your brand/clients’ tone-of-voice etc.

The most important thing to have in mind when you work with influencers is that they are not digital platforms that you buy into with a branded message. They are humans with a creative heart and an opinion that matters to thousands of followers. They can create a positive and trustworthy story around your brand and potentially increase brand preference among their audience.