Basics of Influencer Marketing

We get a fair number of questions on influencer marketing, so I thought I would provide a basic overview post on the topic. Influencer marketing is a tactic (i.e., part of a marketing strategy) where a brand partners with popular social media users. These “influencers”, as measured by the number of their followers, are paid to promote the brand to their followers on social media. The level of promotion can range from simple placement (having the brand mentioned and/or present in images and/or video) to outright endorsement and recommendation.

Influencer marketing today is about a $25 billion market and has grown threefold since right before the pandemic (and likely because of the pandemic). According to Sprout Social, influencer posts trigger half of all consumers to make purchases at least once a month.

The top social media platforms for influencer marketing are Instagram, TikTok and Facebook (with Instagram being by far the most important).

Here is a chart of influencers by followers and the typical costs associated with posts.

Instagram Posts
& TikTok Videos
Mega / Celebrity1,000,001+$45,001+$40,001+

Please note, this information is an amalgamation across multiple sources and represents more of a rough categorization for the sake of aiding in planning influencer marketing projects. Actual costs will depend on project particulars and negotiations with individual influencers. Typical payment arrangements include a mix of monetary compensation, gratis products/services and affiliate commissions.

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As with all marketing tactics, it is important to start with strategic objectives and goals and work in the optimal tactics to achieve those objectives and goals. Begin by defining your goals, identifying your target audience(s) and researching appropriate influencers. It is worthwhile to note that micro-influencers tend to have the highest engagement rates, so it may make more sense to concentrate on multiple micro-influencers rather than concentrating on few or just one higher-level influencer.

Once you have identified the right influencers in terms of the fit between their followers and your target audience definition (there are multiple platforms available to aid in this), you must work out the ideal compensation model for your brand and project and begin negotiating with the selected influencers. An important, but easily overlooked, variable in selecting influencers to work with is their excitement and passion for your brand. Establish your key performance indicators, measure and adjust your campaign as necessary.

While no longer the wild west, influencer marketing is still a nascent marketing tactic, so be flexible and monitor carefully. As with celebrity spokespersons, your brand, once associated with an influencer, is subject to the influencer’s reputation and any changes that may occur.

For any help with your marketing needs, Six Degrees is ready to assist.

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Frank Schab
An experienced marketing and branding strategist, Frank has been helping clients optimize the value of their brands through insightful analysis and effective strategy for more than three decades. Along with holding positions at General Motors and Pfizer, Frank served as a Managing Partner at Interbrand New York and VP of Global Brand Research at Opinion Research Corporation before co-founding Six Degrees. His brand-building work in various sectors including hospitality, medical device, pharmaceutical, automotive and technology has taken him to 17 countries on four continents. Frank holds a doctorate in psychology from Yale University and speaks fluent German.

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