Does Influencer Marketing Work? And Is It Worth It for My Business?

influencer marketing

If you’re on social media (who isn’t these days?), it’s impossible to scroll through your feed on any platform without seeing an influencer promoting a brand or product, whether a promoted ad or an actual post. As a business owner, you may be wondering, “Does influencer marketing work?” If you weren’t, you probably wouldn’t be reading this blog post. 

You may be surprised to learn that marketers are predicted to spend over $32 billion on influencer marketing in 2023. There can only be one reason folks are spending cash like that—because it works. Keep reading to learn how, why, and if it’s worth it for your business.

What Is Influencer Marketing?

So, what is influencer marketing anyway? Influencer marketing is a form of digital marketing where businesses collaborate with popular online personalities and profiles with a large following to promote their business, brand, or product. So in exchange for posting images or videos, the influencer is paid the agreed-upon amount.

By promoting said brand, business, or product and influencing their followers to engage with them, the collaborating company can work towards whatever their goal was for creating a partnership with the influencer in the first place. That could be brand awareness, increasing website traffic, sales, etc.

Basically, you can think of influencer marketing as the newer version of celebrity advertising on tv. So instead of Britney Spears and Beyonce drinking Pepsi, you’ve got TikTok and Instagram influencers like Addison Rae and Charli D’Amelio landing brand deals with some of the most recognized brands in the US including Adidas, American Eagle, Hollister, and Dunkin’ Donuts.

Does Influencer Marketing Work?

According to two studies, the internet, including social media, is the #1 way that Gen Zers find new products, and 50% of Millennials trust influencer product recommendations compared to 38% for celebrity product recommendations. That sounds like a resounding yes to us. But that begs the question of why.

Why Does Influencer Marketing Work?

Influencer marketing works for several reasons. One of them being it’s all about trust and credibility for Gen Z and Millennials. They care more about what “real people” are using and trust them more than what ultra-famous celebrities are using or why brands are saying they should use their products. Influencers are people who are just like them, they just happen to have millions of followers on social media. 

Influencer marketing also works because it caters to a more niche audience. If you’re trying to reach Southern, Millennial males who love anime, Zelda, or World of Warcraft, an influencer can help you do that!

Additionally, it feels more authentic to have someone “like you” recommending a product. It’s like your friend who has kids telling you how much they love their new Swiffer mop because it works so well. And you know it must be true because sometimes it looks like a tornado has been through their kitchen.

How Do You Choose the Right Influencer?

Depending on the industry, most businesses can see an ROI on influencer marketing if they do it the right way. Like other forms of digital advertising, it takes planning and strategy to be successful.

  1. Identify your target audience. Are they into beauty? Fashion? Video games? How old are they? Do they have kids? Without an audience, you don’t know what kind of influencers to hone in on.
  2. Identify your type of influencer. There are four categories of influencers: mega, macro, micro, and nano. As you might have guessed, they’re separated by the size of their following, with mega (think traditional celebrities) having the most and nano (1,000 or less followers) the least. Influencers with a larger following are also going to cost more. The size of your business and budget will largely, but not solely, affect what type of influencer you should go with.
  3. Evaluate influencer credibility, engagement, and fit. You want to partner with an influencer who’s seen as a credible expert in their field; posts at least a few times a week with a high volume of comments, likes, and views; and someone who fits the feel and vibe of your brand. If the promotion doesn’t feel authentic, the ROI, or lack thereof, will show.

How Can Your Business Be Successful at Influencer Marketing?

Set Goals

If you want to execute a successful influencer marketing campaign, start by defining clear objectives and goals for your partnership. Do you want to generate more quality leads? Maybe you’re having a 10-year anniversary sale and want to increase traffic to your website. Or maybe you just want to increase brand awareness. Figure out the goal you’re trying to reach and a way to track your progress toward it. Also, define what success means to you in regard to your goal and objective.

Choose the Right Influencer

Now that you know what you want to achieve, you can set a budget for your campaign. As we mentioned earlier, the bigger the influencer, the more they’re going to cost. As of right now, micro influencers seem to hit the sweet spot, with over 50% of marketers who utilize influencers choosing to work with them.

However, nano influencers shouldn’t be written off due to their small audience size. They usually get the most engagement because their followers are loyal and receptive to recommendations. They can also be the more economical choice because they charge less and will often opt for free products instead of monetary compensation. Whichever tier of influencer you choose, be sure to carefully consider their cost based on their reach, engagement, and the quality of their content.

Pick the Right Platform

It can be tempting to say the more the better and want your partnering influencer to post across all social platforms, but that’s not always the best decision. Firstly, it’s going to cost more. It’s ill-advised to simply copy and paste the same content across platforms. Secondly, some content performs better on some platforms than others. In most cases, every dollar counts for a small business, and there’s no need to waste money posting on a platform that the content won’t do well on. Finally, there’s no guarantee that an influencer’s followers will be as engaged across all platforms.

One thing you can do to figure out which platform(s) to post on is research your target audience to discover where they’re most active and where they spend their time the most. Another is to research each platform to see what they’re best suited for—long-form content, short-form videos, engaging content, etc. 

How Can You Measure Your Success and ROI?

There are some specific KPIs you should monitor throughout your influencer marketing campaign. They include conversions (whether for sales or otherwise), referral traffic, metrics provided by GA4, impression data on posts related to the campaign, and various engagement actions (likes, shares, comments, etc.).

Analyze these KPIs in accordance with your set goals and definition of success to see how you’re doing over the life of the campaign. Don’t be afraid to switch things up if you don’t get the desired results as the campaign progresses.

Is It Worth It?

It can be hard for long-established and sometimes even newer businesses to make the switch from traditional marketing to digital marketing, and then in digital marketing to influencer marketing. But influencer marketing has the same advantages over traditional marketing as digital: the ability to target who sees your ads, lower cost, and tracking.

Find the Right Influencer with Uptick

Initiating a partnership with the right influencer for your business can be tricky. Lucky for you, Uptick can help bridge the gap between you and a suitable influencer and help negotiations go in your favor. Our team of experts has extensive experience in creating effective social media strategies and elevating brands to the forefront of their respective industries. Contact us today to get the answers to all of your influencer marketing questions and see if it would be beneficial to your business!

About Alan

Alan Harned is Uptick’s Marketing Consultant Manager. He graduated from Birmingham’s Samford University, creating video content for Samford’s athletic department right after graduation. He also completed a multi-year stint at Student Life for Lifeway Christian Resources. His work at Uptick includes leading a team of Marketing Consultants, analyzing campaign results, recommending digital marketing services and swaps, and refining marketing strategies to suit clients’ short and long-term goals best. His previous experience in video gives him a great reference point for creative work, which offers clients additional perspective when strategizing.

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