Influencer marketing is the practice of working with influential people online to spread the word about your products and services through social media and blogs. However, running a successful influencer program involves more than just asking these people to write a positive review for your brand or product.

Social media has changed the way brands interact with consumers by fostering an environment where consumers have immediate access to information. Through social media, people gather input about brands and products and then make purchase decisions based on what they discover. Successful brands leverage social media to stay connected with consumers by actively participating in this online dialogue.

Social media influencers exist on all the primary social platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. Those social platforms have given birth to Internet famous celebrities and influencers down in the single-digit age group.

These are the child stars of the modern day, and they are becoming more and more savvy about how to properly collaborate with brands for their own creative campaigns.

However, advertising is not the same as being part of the conversation. Instead, ads distract from it, pulling people’s focus away from what’s important to them. Working with influencers allows brands to add to the conversation rather than derailing it.

“Influencers are the ones holding everyone’s attention”

They are the ones people actually spend time watching. And as long as all eyes are on them, more and more brands are going to see value in paying these people to represent their products.

This trend is not limited to mainstream and popular markets such as fashion, athletics, or entertainment. There are influencers in markets centered around everything from travel to music to mindfulness and spirituality.

In fact, to call it “influencer marketing” is really only the beginning. What’s truly happening is a broader shift, as more and more people are discovering the art of personal branding.

When you have a personal brand, when you have an audience and people see you as a thought leader in your specific niche or market, you have something no one else does: you have people’s attention. 

And that, in itself, is highly valuable, not just to brands but to other thought leaders as well. Having a personal brand opens doors of opportunity. Now more than ever we see a rising amount of influencers who are starting to understand their value.

Five years ago, it would have been thought ludicrous for a teenager to have a million followers on Instagram. Now? Those same teenagers are negotiating with big brands and calling the shots, always careful to ensure that they don’t “sell out” and just become a product pusher.

The best influencers work to integrate their branded campaigns into their unique stories without skipping a beat. They know their audiences are fickle and can quickly leave, so they treat each and every post with care.