Influencer Marketing 101

How to Explain Influencer Marketing to Your Boss

What should you do if your boss doesn’t understand influencer marketing? Below we share talking points and how to handle common concerns from higher-ups.

how to explain influencer marketing cover photo

If you’re struggling to explain the value of influencer marketing to your boss, you’re not alone.

That’s because many critics still don’t quite understand the concept. Marketers, too.

Food for thought: 89% of brands will maintain or boost their spending on influencers this year.

Translation? Influencer marketing is not a shiny new toy anymore. It’s a proven tactic.

Still, you can’t run a campaign until you get buy-in from your boss. That’s why we wrote this post breaking down influencer marketing so you can break it down for others. Below you’ll learn:

  • How to define influencer marketing in plain English
  • Common myths associated with influencers (and how to squash them)
  • How to communicate the value of creator campaigns to your boss

Explaining Influencer Marketing to Someone That Doesn’t Get It

We’ll bite: defining influencer marketing can be tricky. 

There are a lot of moving pieces involved. Campaigns aren’t one-size-fits-all, either.

From gifting to ambassador programs, boiling everything into a single definition is tough. 

That’s why we recommend focusing on the big-picture before getting into specifics. Let’s define influencer marketing in basic, kitchen-table terms:

  • Influencer marketing refers to brands partnering with social media creators to promote products. These creators are “influencers” because they motivate and inspire their followers. Influencers post about brands and followers trust their recommendations.

  • Influencers introduce products to a highly engaged audience for compensation or gifted products. Creator content feels organic and “real” versus traditional ads. 

  • Brand-influencer partnerships are a value exchange and a win-win for both parties. 

  • Brands earn authentic exposure to their target audience. Influencers are compensated on their terms. Creators earn credibility and reach from the brands they work with.

The explanation above covers the basics of influencer marketing and its benefits. Need to simplify the concept even more for a non-marketer? To “do” influencer marketing means to…

Partner with social media creators to promote products to our target audience. We share our products with them and they share those products with their followers.

How the Definition of Influencer Marketing Has Changed

It’s not 2013 anymore — that’s a good thing for brands working with influencers!

While influencer marketing used to be like the wild west, times have changed. Long gone are the days of low-effort promo posts (like Scott Disick’s infamous Instagram fail). 

Influencer marketing has matured into an established channel with a massive audience. Enough time has passed that brands understand what works and what doesn’t.

The fact that the global influencer market is worth over $16 billion dollars says it all. 

That said, maybe your boss doesn’t understand the shift in the influencer space. 

Fair enough! There are still a lot of misconceptions about influencer marketing. Ready to debunk them? Below we explain the state of influencers and how they’ve changed.

An “Influencer” Doesn’t Need a Specific Follower Count

For years, the term “influencer” was associated with social media “power users.”

You know, folks with millions of followers. The Kardashians and stereotypical celebrities.

Fast-forward to the present. Influencers come in all shapes and sizes. Specifically, the definition of “influencer” now includes everyday social creators. Not to mention friends, family and people that aren’t actively promoting themselves.

Here’s a quick snapshot of the types of influencers that brands partner with:

types of influencers graphic

Notice how celebrities aren’t the focal point? That’s because modern consumers consciously gravitate to smaller creators for product recommendations. Brands are hiring more smaller creators as a result.

We’ve found that creators with anywhere from ~2,000 to ~25,000 followers seem to be the best fit for brands engagement-wise. Fact: micro-influencers with less than 5,000 followers earn the highest engagement rates on their content.

example of a micro-influencer on Instagram

Source: @hanbvby 

The takeaway? Follower count doesn't define an influencer’s value to brands. Not by a long shot.

Instead, brands should focus on whether the creators they partner with have an audience that resembles their own. The right creators provide a direct line to highly specific (and engaged!) potential customers.

Influencers Aren’t Just for Fashion or Beauty Brands

Sure, beauty brands and fashion products dominate the influencer space.

But there’s plenty of room for brands to shine even if you're in a less “glamorous” industry.

If you need evidence, look no further than all the products being promoted on TikTok. No matter what you’re selling, there’s a community of consumers and creators out there for you. 

We’ve found that it’s “unconventional” products that often pop off on TikTok. 

example of a CPG brand promoting products on TikTok

Source: @fabiola.poled

Where else are videos about products like reusable toilet paper earning thousands of views? There’s a reason why CPG brands are flocking to the platform right now.

Influencer Marketing is Not Confined to a Single Social Platform

Influencers are making short-form videos on TikTok and Instagram to promote brands like never before. Both platforms can benefit brands and where you run campaigns depends on your audience.

On that note, Instagram isn’t the only show in town for brands working with influencers.

We’ve seen firsthand how brands are making the leap to TikTok. According to TikTok themselves, brands that work with creators build greater loyalty. This includes driving greater purchase intent, engagement and brand favorability. 

webinar how brands are driving sales on tiktok and reels

Consumers Are Aware of Influencers (and Totally Trust Them)

Spoiler alert: consumers at large know what influencer marketing looks like. They understand when people are promoting products on behalf of brands. It’s not a big secret.

That said, influencer recs are still incredibly effective. That’s because consumers want to see products in the hands of real people. This applies to influencers and everyday content creators, too.

This speaks to the value of finding authentic influencers that your customers can relate to. A skilled influencer knows how to show off products in a way that doesn’t feel “salesy” at all.

example of a viral influencer post on TikTok Example of positive response to an influencer post on TikTok

Source: @actressbecc

Peek this comment: “HOW LONG IT TOOK ME TO REALIZE THIS ACTUALLY IS AN AD.”

That’s the power of authentic creator content in action.

Influencer Campaigns Are Measurable Like Other Marketing Channels

Sure, influencer marketing is people-centric. 

But results and performance are trackable just like any other marketing channel.

Consider that influencers are very much aware of their own performance metrics. This includes reach, engagement and how many people interact with their content. 

Having this knowledge is important for influencers to attract brands. More importantly, a creator’s native metrics highlight whether their audience loves their content.

Instagram of influencer reach metrics on Instagram   example of Instagram insights dashboard

Source: YouTube

Skeptics might assume that creator campaigns leave brands in the dark when it comes to analytics.  

The reality, though? Results are totally trackable. This means that influencer marketing can be just as data-driven as your campaigns elsewhere. 

For brands focused on awareness, interactions and earning more UGC, all of the above can be measured with ease. In fact, direct sales are the only real gray area of tracking performance.

Also, it’s notable that influencer marketing campaigns don’t have to be “one and done.” Like marketing channels like SEO or email, many brands approach influencers as a long-term play. We find that always-on campaigns are effective for engagement and ongoing influencer content.

Explaining How Influencer Marketing Works Step-by-Step

“Okay, I think I get it. But how do you actually ‘do’ influencer marketing?”

Being able to define influencer marketing isn’t the be-all, end-all of explaining it to your boss. You should likewise be able to break down the actual steps involved in running a campaign.

Here’s a quick snapshot of the steps involved in the process. Specifics will vary depending on the type of campaign you’re running but here’s the big picture:

  • Research. For starters, you have to find influencers that make sense for your brand. This involves combing through hashtags, consumer communities and social profiles.

  • Pitching. Once you’ve found potential brand influencers, it’s time to pitch them. Creators won’t automatically work with brands “just because.” Again, influencer marketing represents a value exchange. Influencer outreach involves personalizing your pitches and explaining why you should partner up. Be prepared to write and send a fair share of emails and DMs.

  • Negotiation. After finding influencers to partner with, you need to agree to working terms.

  • Fulfillment. In short, you need to get your products into creators' hands. The shipping phase involves sending products to influencers. This is your opportunity to delight creators and make them want to sing your praises.

  • Briefing. How much direction influencers need depends on a few factors. This includes your brand, the creator’s experience and the product they’re promoting. A well-crafted creative brief highlights the benefits of your product for them. Share talking points for creator captions and suggestions for showing off your brand.
  •  
  • Publishing. Once all of the above are squared away, it’s time for creators to post. Specifics such as format (think: Reel versus TikTok versus Carousel) should be in your creative brief. The same goes for when to post. You can help creators get more mileage out of their content by interacting with them (think: comments, shares, reposting to your Story or Feed).

  • Tracking. The importance of influencer reporting can’t be overstated. Once posts are live, you need to measure their engagement. Metrics such as interactions, video loops and shares are crucial. Creators can share this information with brands themselves. Alternatively, reporting can be done automatically through a third-party influencer platform.

5 Common Objections to Influencer Marketing (and How to Respond)

Brands should approach influencer marketing with a sense of confidence. 

Likewise, your higher-ups should feel comfortable before signing off on a campaign. Crystal-clear expectations are key to a successful rollout.

Don’t be surprised if you still get pushback even from people that want to get on board. To wrap things up, let’s review common objections to influencer marketing and ways to respond to them.

Objection

Sample Response

1. “We’re already investing in social media, PPC, email and SEO.”






2. “Our product is too niche. There aren’t any ‘influencers’ in our space.”







3. “We should be able to tell influencers exactly what to say.”








4. “We really need to be able to see hard ROI.”




5. “We don't have the resources to do all of this in-house.” 
  • “Influencer marketing is in-demand among brands and consumers alike. 89% of marketers are maintaining or increasing their investment in influencers in 2023. Through branded content ads and whitelisting, we can repurpose our influencer content. This will strengthen our marketing funnel and efforts elsewhere.”


  • 90% of people buy from brands they follow on social media. Platforms like Instagram and TikTok have become digital shopping windows for consumers. From #CleanTok to #BookTok, consumer communities are super active across social media. Our audience needs to see our products in the hands of real people.”
     

  • “We can absolutely provide instructions and direction through our creative briefs. Influencers are most effective when they’re allowed to be authentic and off-the-cuff. Relatability matters to consumers. It’s about finding a balance between our brand’s voice and theirs. That’s why vetting creators is important so we find the right fit.”


  • Through reporting, we can monitor campaign growth and performance. Brand awareness is the number one goal for brands right now. Metrics related to engagement are easy to measure. We can likewise assess qualitative vs. quantitative ROI for our campaigns based on our goals.”

     
  • “We can start with a DIY approach and build from there. If necessary, we can explore an influencer platform to streamline tasks like outreach or vetting.”

How to Communicate the Value of Influencer Campaigns

Listen: don’t get discouraged if your boss doesn’t understand influencer marketing.

We get it! Again, there are a lot of moving pieces involved. Our advice is to start with the big-picture concept. Then, be prepared to answer questions and respond to objections.

By understanding the points outlined above, you’ll be perfectly equipped to do exactly that.

webinar best-kept secrets of high performing influencer campaigns

For newcomers to influencer campaigns, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and second-guess what to do. That’s where Statusphere can help.

Our turnkey influencer marketing platform handles all of the heavy lifting related to your campaigns. This includes matchmaking, fulfillment and tracking content performance.

We remove the guesswork and question marks related to influencer marketing by matching brands with creators that want to promote your products.

Want to learn more about how our platform works? Get in touch with one of our consumer-to-consumer marketing specialists to see how we can get creators posting about your brand ASAP.

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