You’re probably already familiar with Influencer Marketing and its potential to elevate brands from obscurity to social media sensation.

Influencers are people with large social followings (anywhere from 10,000 to millions of online followers) who are perceived as experts in their field. There are influencers in literally every subject area– from parenting to antique car collecting. There are some industries in which the influencers have only a small number of followers, but they are highly engaged.

Influencers partner with brands to recommend and promote products/services to their followers on social media.

Why the popularity of Influencer Marketing? This shift has been a direct result of the changing demographic of the buying population.

Millennials are now the largest consumer population on earth, and they are leery of traditional company-centered marketing tactics.

Millennials view Influencer Marketing as more authentic and trustworthy (it’s not the company telling me the laundry detergent is great, it’s a real mom telling me.)

READ: Marketing to The Largest Living Generation: Reaching Millennials

Influencer Marketing can be a wonderful tool in your arsenal, and it has the potential to take your product viral, but before you decide it’s right for you, keep this in mind:

Choose the right influencer for your brand

First, it’s important to recognize that influencers are not celebrities – at least not in the traditional sense.

Influencers are perceived as regular, relatable folks who are just like us! Additionally, the influencer you partner with should be a good fit for your brand.

Just because an influencer has impressive metrics selling makeup, doesn’t mean he or she is the right influencer for your tire company.

Spend some time reviewing the content that the influencer has posted in the past. Does their brand or aesthetic align your brand image and values? Do their followers align with your brand’s target audience? If not, keep looking.

Give the influencer creative license

Experienced influencers already know how to promote products effectively. Providing prepared scripts or templates can hinder the power of the influencer and the messaging can come across as contrived.

Instead, allow the influencer to say what comes naturally. After all, they know their audience best.

Of course, with freedom comes some risk, which is why properly vetting your influencer ahead of time is crucial. If your influencer is prone to making profane or inappropriate comments that might offend, your brand may experience the fallout.

Understand, influencers don’t work for free

Many influencers are savvy college-educated entrepreneurs who manage their profiles full-time and work incredibly hard.

You may be lucky enough to find an influencer who is willing to endorse your product for free or in exchange for free product, but be prepared to pay– just as you would for any other form of advertisement.

Be patient

Just like Social Media Marketing and Content Marketing, Influencer Marketing is about gaining authority and credibility in your field – not direct selling. To measure the success of your campaign, don’t only consider sales. 

Take a look at these intangibles – did the campaign build brand awareness? Did it reach your ideal audience? Did it increase your social following? Did you gain social shares and generate leads?

If so, then the campaign was a success! It may just take time to see those intangibles convert to actual sales.

Keep up the momentum by working with your influencer(s) to develop a monthly schedule that aligns with new product releases and sales.

If you’re ready to take the plunge into Influencer Marketing, there are several providers like Grouphigh and Influencitythat can help you find influencers in your field. Best of luck!