Influencer Marketing: Basics and Examples

Influencer Marketing: Basics and Examples

Looking for a way to boost your marketing strategy? Influencer marketing might just be the tool you’re looking for.

For good reason, influencer marketing is quickly becoming a key part of brand marketing plans. Consumers have grown accustomed to following their favorite creators. They look to them for purchase recommendations. In fact, a recent survey reports that 36% of respondents say influencer posts are a strong influence on getting them to try a new product.

As a result, business owners are increasingly looking to collaborate with influencers to get social media traction. Influencer marketing platforms can be an excellent way for cash-strapped startups to bring new products to the forefront without spending big bucks.

In this article, we’ll delve into all aspects of influencer marketing to help you gain a better understanding of the topic. We’ll explore this strategy to help you grow your business.

Influencer marketing basics

What is influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing can be defined as a collaboration between a business and social media influencers or content creators to deliver a brand message to potential customers and target demographics.

Think of it as word-of-mouth marketing amplified. The influencer promotes or introduces a product, service, or idea by creating content around it and publishing it on various social networks like YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram, or TikTok. With the internet enabling consumers to choose the content and platforms they engage with, brands need to cater messages to specific consumer tastes. Influencer marketing is a great avenue to create brand and product awareness without relying on expensive ad spending.

What differentiates influencer marketing from celebrity endorsements is pricing and the niche community that influencers build and engage with. By choosing the right kind of influencer whose audience resembles your target audience personas, you achieve access to a set of consumers who are already potentially engaged in your digital marketing efforts. Influencer marketing utilizes a “pull” rather than “push” marketing approach, making it an industry favorite.

Influencer marketing doesn’t just help you reach target audience personas. It also solves the problem of having a scattered audience. With access to multiple social media and streaming services, users are no longer loyal to a single platform. This poses a problem for marketers as their consumers become harder to reach. Influencer marketing takes care of this problem by assimilating your product or message into one content creation process. Now you can reach a ready-made set of consumers across platforms who will willingly consume content about your product or service.

By collaborating with influencers who showcase your product or service, your brand gains visibility and product awareness—and an additional medium to communicate product usage and benefits. An influencer’s message comes across as more authentic, as they can choose how to portray and communicate your brand’s message.

Benefits of influencer marketing

Here are some of the most important:

  • Improved brand awareness. Watching a creator interact with, use, and showcase a particular product or service for the duration of a video or blog post can create a lasting impression in a consumer’s mind. People are more receptive when a message is being conveyed by a personality they look to for advice or recommendations. A recent study found that 6 in 10 YouTube subscribers would take advice about purchase decisions from their preferred creator instead of their favorite TV or movie personality. The platforms used for the campaign also affect success. Instagram influencers are a favorite with marketers, and for good reason. About 50% of subscribers on the platform use it to discover new brands, products, or services.
  • Quick way to reach a target audience. Collaborating with influencers can turn out to be quicker in delivering results than paying for display and social media ads. With influencers, the audience is already tuned in. They’re already eager for content from the creator, which helps brands reach target audiences faster.
  • Lead generation. While an influencer showcases products or services, they also have the option to include direct links to your website and product pages. They can even offer discount codes to encourage conversions. This greatly simplifies a consumer’s journey while giving your business new leads and customer data.  
  • Relative cost effectiveness. For specific brands and goals, influencer marketing campaigns can circumvent a lot of the costs that you’d normally incur in a traditional advertising campaign based on email marketing, social media posts, sponsored posts, content marketing, or SEO. The only cost involved with an influencer is the compensation you agree to pay them along with any production costs.  

What to consider when working with an influencer

Before you include influencer marketing in your marketing strategy, you and your team should understand the pitfalls and drawbacks while optimizing the potential benefits for your brand.

The most important element that can decide the success or failure of your marketing strategy is the decision of which influencer or content creator you choose to collaborate with. As a brand, you must be sure that the creator’s content and online presence aligns with your brand’s image. Consider the following factors when choosing an influencer to collaborate with, before putting your influencer marketing plans into motion.

Influencer reach

Steer clear of influencers who use bots, fake likes on their Instagram posts, and fake profiles to boost their follower base. Spotting these kinds of profiles can be done manually; a simple scroll through an influencer’s various social media platforms will point out the disparity between engagement metrics and follower count. You can also opt for online tools (GRIN and Modash) that will perform formal checks for you.

When choosing an influencer, have a clear idea of the number of followers you need the creator to have to reach your goals. Four different types of influencers make up the industry: nano-influencers (with less than 1,000 followers), micro-influencers (with 1,000 to 10,000 followers), macro-influencers (with 10,000 to 100,000 followers), and mega-influencers (with over 1 million followers). Don’t write off influencers with smaller follower counts. A smaller community can often be a more loyal one.  

Brand affinity

Influencers tend to attract followers who have affinity for specific subjects. Understanding influencer affinity can help you understand what brands the influencer’s audience is likely to resonate with. For example, if the influencer’s audience is mainly comprised of people who like fashion, their audience is not likely to resonate with Apple, a tech company.

Marketers make a wise decision by collaborating with influencers who enjoy high brand affinity. Choosing a well-loved and respected creator to convey your brand’s message might help promote brand love and loyalty.

Target audience

Check the audience of a prospective influencer to make sure their followers or users align with your target audience. Those invested in the influencer’s content should match your brand’s target market; this is crucial to the success of your campaign. Your brand’s message needs to reach the right audience.

That being said, at times you might want to consider using influencers who have an audience that doesn’t directly relate to your target market. You may realize a benefit in that your brand may grow when you reach a new audience.

Choosing the right influencer requires you to balance campaign goals, influencer reach, and audience with brand image and marketing budgets. It’s an important decision and should be made only after having a clear idea of what you want to achieve with this campaign.

Examples of successful influencer marketing campaigns

One of the best ways to find inspiration for your influencer program is by looking at some of the most successful campaigns that have been carried out. The list we’ve compiled includes several well-known brands. It’s worthwhile to study how these businesses translate their campaign goals into a creative message and how they choose the right brand ambassador to deliver it. Look at some of the most successful influencer campaigns that do a good job of hitting their targets.

67 shades of Dior

67 Shades of Dior

For the launch of Dior’s Forever Foundation, the beauty giant collaborated with 67 influencers. Their campaign was intended to highlight the product’s diversity and availability in 67 different skin shades. Dior recruited 67 influencers who would each post about the foundation and how well it matched their skin tone in Instagram influencer posts for 67 days.

The campaign achieved global awareness for the product, together with lasting brand and product recollection due to its long duration. It created content that Dior was later able to use to reach new audiences on their own communication channels.

“Curiosity” campaign by HISTORY Channel

Curiosity campaign by History Channel

In order to reach a new market segment and improve its digital presence, HISTORY Channel launched a campaign with creators on TikTok titled “Curiosity.” The campaign was straightforward but garnered incredible engagement rates for HISTORY Channel, helping the brand reach 21 million users on TikTok.

The concept was simple. Each selected creator on TikTok made a video about a new fact about the history or origin of objects or personalities that were relevant to their audience. Food bloggers created videos about the origin of lollipops. Dancers and dance vloggers made videos about how people danced across different periods. HISTORY Channel was thorough and put ample effort into making sure content created under the campaign was aligned with the respective audience preferences of each creator.

Benefit Cosmetics and Crocs with Manny MUA

Benefit Cosmetics

Benefit Cosmetics and Crocs partnered to employ a tried-and-tested method. They started a trending challenge on TikTok and Instagram Reels.

With the help of Manny MUA, a makeup artist and influencer, Benefit and Crocs launched a challenge that invited users to complete their makeup looks while wearing Crocs on their hands. The novelty and humorous nature of the challenge helped them achieve 6 million views on TikTok and, in fact, led to Crocs selling out their limited edition line of overshoes.

Netflix: the launch of “Cobra Kai”


Netflix utilized TikTok to create awareness about the release of the third season of “Cobra Kai,” a prequel to the “Karate Kid” franchise. Collaborating with TikTok to create an interactive “Cobra Kai Chop” filter, Netflix launched their influencer campaign with a mix of male and female influencers who created authentic content using the filter without it feeling too branded.

The filter also encouraged massive organic engagement. Using interactive features in addition to a roster of diverse influencers, Netflix achieved over 4.6 billion views on TikTok and a 2.76-times return on their investment.  

Gymshark “66 Days: Change Your Life”


Fitness apparel and accessories brand Gymshark was an early adopter of influencer marketing, with many successful campaigns under its belt. But the one that takes the cake is their ‘66 Days: Change Your Life’ campaign launched on TikTok. It’s based on research findings that say it takes 66 days to form a habit. Gymshark flipped this premise to challenge fans to change their lives around in 66 days.

The result was one of the most popular TikTok campaigns ever, with followers posting ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos and videos. By the end of 66 days, #gymshark66 had generated over 193 million views.

Häagen-Dazs: Secret Sofa

Haagen Dazs

Here’s a lesson in silver linings.

Just as the UK was entering lockdown in 2020 and outlooks were bleak, Häagen-Dazs hit upon a refreshing idea. The ice cream brand teamed up with Secret Cinema, an immersive film and television events company, to launch its Secret Sofa campaign across multiple social media channels. The idea was to entertain home-bound audiences with some of the country’s most-loved films. The brief was to create ‘cultural moments’ and ‘bring communities together’ on social media.    

Influencer marketing company TAKUMI roped in 24 nano and micro-influencers to create content around the chosen films that ran every Friday for eight weeks. By the end, the campaign had generated over 3 million views and 450,000 actions.

Key example takeaways

What made these campaigns so successful? The key takeaway from these examples is influencer alignment with brand image and the presence of meaningful influencer content. Additionally, in most successful influencer marketing campaigns, we see how the campaign's message inspires viewers to take an action. Whether that’s doing a makeup look, showcasing their creativity, or just trying a TikTok filter, viewers respond well to having a part to play.

Before launching your campaign, consider a few steps:

  • Determine your campaign’s objectives
  • Create performance indicators for your objective
  • Determine a scientific way of measuring the success of your campaign

Once the context and goals of your campaign are decided, you can start looking for influencers who fit your brand and campaign’s requirements.

Get expert influencer marketing help

Finding the right influencers for your brands can be a challenging task.

It involves understanding how influencer marketing works, negotiating with influencers, having a brand message, and creating a plan for the campaign’s execution. Planning and carrying out a successful influencer marketing campaign requires industry experience. A high level of trust between the influencer and your brand’s representatives is paramount. Remember, you’re appointing the creator as an ambassador.

If you’re looking for guidance or an industry expert to help you with your next influencer marketing campaign, Upwork is the platform for you. With Upwork, you’ll get access to the best influencer marketing experts. Collaborate with skilled professionals to create an influencer marketing strategy for your business needs.

Browse through thousands of professionals and marketing agencies across the world on our platform and benefit from a hassle-free recruitment process. Get started today!

If you understand the world of influencer marketing and would like to share your skills with others, sign up with Upwork today!

Upwork is not affiliated with and does not sponsor or endorse any of the tools or services discussed in this article. These tools and services are provided only as potential options, and each reader and company should take the time needed to adequately analyze and determine the tools or services that would best fit their specific needs and situation.


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Influencer Marketing: Basics and Examples
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