In 1984, Nike collaborated with Michael Jordan to create an unique sneaker line, the Air Jordans.

It was successful. In simply 12 months, the Air Jordan 1 sneakers racked up greater than $100 million in gross sales. In 2020, an unique pair—worn and signed by Jordan himself—bought for $560,000.

Michael Jordan, the celebrity basketball participant, catapulted Nike into the family title we all know right this moment.

That is an instance of influencer advertising and marketing.

On this information, you’ll be taught:

  • What an influencer is
  • What influencer advertising and marketing is
  • Why you must do influencer advertising and marketing
  • Forms of influencers
  • The right way to create an influencer advertising and marketing technique
  • The right way to discover influencers
  • The right way to consider influencers
  • The right way to attain out to influencers
  • The right way to work with influencers
  • The right way to transcend influencer advertising and marketing
  • Influencer advertising and marketing examples

Influencers are individuals who have an lively, sizable viewers (normally on social media) and the flexibility to affect their viewers to do one thing.

Influencer advertising and marketing is the follow of working with influencers to advertise your model’s message, services or products.

There are a couple of explanation why you must do influencer advertising and marketing.

1. Persuade their viewers to take motion

Influencers maintain sway over your target market. It’s in the title itself—they affect. Which means they’re in a position to encourage their following to take motion. Most significantly, to purchase.

It means issues like promoting out sardines after a point out in a podcast episode.

We see this at Ahrefs too. Though we’ve by no means run an influencer advertising and marketing marketing campaign, we see {that a} robust suggestion from a trusted influencer can result in a big increase in sign-ups:

2. Construct belief in your model

Influencer advertising and marketing isn’t at all times about gross sales. It is usually about model consciousness and trustworthiness.

The appropriate influencer rigorously curates the kind of merchandise they advocate. They don’t shill every thing that lands on their lap. Even when they’re being paid, they’ve excessive requirements. They take their group’s belief in them severely. Belief is tough to construct and straightforward to lose. In return, their followers say issues like this:

So, when an influencer recommends your product over the remaining, they’re vouching for you, your product’s high quality and your organization’s status. You’re, in essence, borrowing “trust” from that influencer. You don’t should construct it from scratch—they belief the influencer and by extension, you.

Assume again to Nike. In 1984, they have been unknown in the basketball world. No basketball fan was dying to buy a pair of Nike footwear. However Jordan’s endorsement led to their acceptance.

And Nike went from being unknown in basketball to international dominance.

Typically talking, there are 5 forms of influencers. They’re grouped primarily based on the dimensions of their viewers.

Realizing the various kinds of influencers will make it easier to plan your price range and technique. Right here’s the breakdown:

1. Celebrities

These are influencers with over a million followers.


  • BTS (IG: 45.7M followers)
  • Lionel Messi (IG: 232M followers)
  • Zendaya (IG: 101M followers)
  • Charli D’Amelio (TikTok: 118.8M followers)
  • Linus Tech Ideas (YT: 13.6M subscribers)

2. Mega-influencers

These are influencers with 500,000 to at least one million followers.


  • Mark Manson (IG: 739K followers)
  • James Clear (IG: 520K followers).

3. Macro-influencers

These are influencers with 100,000 to 500,000 followers.


  • Elisabeth Akinwale (IG: 115K followers)
  • Lindie Botes (YT: 272K subscribers).

4. Micro-influencers

These are influencers with 10,000 to 100,000 followers.


5. Nano-influencers

These are influencers with 1,000 to 10,000 followers.



There isn’t any common standardization for these phrases nor their viewers sizes. You may discover that they differ from different books and articles. 

Earlier than you even start in search of influencers and working with them, it is advisable have a method. In any case, the objective isn’t to work with each influencer underneath the solar, however the ones that may make an influence.

A method will information you in the best course.

  1. Outline your target market
  2. Set your goal
  3. Work out your price range
  4. Set up your KPIs


1. Outline your target market

It might appear cool to have Justin Bieber shout about us to his followers, however what’s the purpose? There’s little to no overlap between followers of Justin Bieber and individuals who need web optimization instruments. Even when we might afford his asking payment, it wouldn’t make sense to work with him.

So, step one of any advertising and marketing plan is to know who you wish to attain.

If you have already got an present advertising and marketing technique that defines your buyer personas, then you definately’re all set. You have already got a strong concept of who your target market is.

For instance, if you happen to’re a monetary planner in Singapore, it is perhaps one thing like:

Millennials (23–30) in Singapore who wish to start investing.

Should you don’t have a concrete buyer persona assertion like this, don’t fear. There are tons of guides, templates and even instruments you should utilize to create one.

Really useful studying: The right way to Create Detailed Purchaser Personas for Your Enterprise [Free Persona Template]


2. Set your goal

Now that who you’re focusing on, we have to determine why you’re doing influencer advertising and marketing.

What’s your objective?

Typically talking, there are three targets:

  1. Enhance model consciousness and introduce your model to potential prospects.
  2. Create curiosity and need by educating potential prospects extra about their issues and how your services or products can resolve them.
  3. Entice the acquisition by additional educating potential prospects about your services or products and why it’s the very best resolution for them.

You’ll have to know your targets in order to measure in case your marketing campaign is profitable.

Really useful studying: Marketing Targets: The right way to Set Them Proper (with Examples)


3. Work out your price range

The quantity you’re prepared to spend will decide the kind of influencer you’ll be able to work with and the kind of content material you’ll be able to create.

Realizing your price range beforehand will make the seek for influencers simpler.


4. Set up your KPIs

It’s not at all times straightforward to measure absolutely the ROI of influencer advertising and marketing campaigns, however you’ll be able to measure relative ROI utilizing Key Efficiency Indicators (KPIs).

KPIs will let you measure progress in the direction of your targets. Should you’ve already set your targets, then you definately’ll know what these KPIs are. For instance, if you happen to’re monitoring the variety of gross sales, you could possibly give the influencer a reduction code with their title.

Really useful studying: 7 Marketing KPIs Really Price Monitoring

Discovering the macro, mega and celeb-level influencers is straightforward. It’s doubtless on the prime of your thoughts. Even probably the most disinterested particular person would have heard of Cristiano Ronaldo. However not each firm has the price range to work at these ranges.

What if it is advisable discover micro or nano-influencers? How do you search them out?

Listed below are some choices:

1. Workers

Most manufacturers start their seek for influencers outdoors. In doing so, they’re lacking out on a possible pool of influencers who’re proper in entrance of their noses—their very own workers.

Your workers be just right for you and doubtless use your product. (In the event that they don’t, one thing’s severely unsuitable.) They’re in the very best place to advertise your model. A few of them may need even cultivated an viewers on their personal.

Take Ahrefs for instance. Most of us in the advertising and marketing staff might be thought-about nano or micro influencers on Twitter:

Collectively, we are able to simply amplify the content material we publish or the options we launch. And we do.

2. Clients

We’re turning the seek for influencers on its head. Begin by in search of the individuals who already love your model.

Your workers aren’t the one individuals who love your model. Your prospects find it irresistible too. We found this ourselves after we began sponsoring podcasts. Those the place we received probably the most high-quality mentions and sign-ups have been from podcast hosts who already beloved our product.

Like your workers, a few of your prospects are in all probability influencers—and they’re additionally more likely to be aware of your pitch.

For instance, Ed Sheeran is a big fan of Heinz ketchup. He even has a tattoo of their bottle on his arm. It was a no brainer for Heinz to work with him:

When you won’t have an Ed Sheeran-level influencer as your buyer, you’ll in all probability have one or two who’re influential to your target market. Discover them in your buyer relationship administration (CRM) software or no matter you employ to trace your prospects. Attain out and see in the event that they’d prefer to work with you to advertise your model.


You can too ask your prospects which influencers they’re following on social media. 


Your followers on social media already find out about and like your model—and a few of them will doubtless be influencers. Look by your followers to search out them.

4. Google

Merely go to Google and enter this search question: “top [your niche] influencers”.

You’ll discover a ton of properly compiled lists.

5. Social media

Should you’re in search of influencers on a platform, then there’s no higher place to begin than wanting on the platform itself.

Like Google, you’ll be able to seek for key phrases on these platforms and see who seems. Native, curated lists (like Twitter lists) are a great choice in the event that they exist in your goal platform.

Should you’re already following a few of these influencers in your area of interest, then testing the “Explore” web page (or comparable) can even assist floor different influencers.


A possible concept is to create a totally new account, comply with/subscribe to those influencers and see what the platform suggests in your ‘Explore’ web page. 

Alternatively, you’ll be able to merely have a look at who these influencers are already following. Likelihood is they’re following different similar-sized influencers too. Some platforms (like Instagram and Twitter) can even counsel comparable accounts on these pages:

Lastly, one other method to discover influencers is through hashtags. However not simply any hashtag—use your opponents’. In case your opponents have executed an influencer advertising and marketing marketing campaign earlier than, there’s a excessive likelihood that they both:

  1. Requested the influencer so as to add a novel hashtag for the marketing campaign, or
  2. Requested the influencer so as to add their firm hashtag.

Right here’s an instance of an influencer tagging the meals supply firm, FoodPanda:

Click on by to the hashtag and you’ll see {that a} ton of influencers have already promoted one thing comparable:

Should you’re working in the identical area, these might all be potential influencers you could possibly work with.

6. Platforms and marketplaces

Even with all of the ways I’ve steered to this point, discovering influencers might be actually time-consuming. A “faster” various would merely be to search for them on a devoted third-party platform.

Now we have a listing of those platforms in one other article, so look by them on your desired influencer on your goal platform.

Really useful studying: The right way to Discover Influencers in Your Area of interest (6 Simple Steps)

7. Content material Explorer

Since influencers usually have blogs, one other method to discover them is to search for fashionable authors of posts about subjects associated to your model. You are able to do this in Ahrefs’ Content material Explorer, a searchable database of 5 billion pages.

Right here’s the method:

  1. Open Content material Explorer
  2. Enter a related subject (e.g., hyperlink constructing)
  3. Choose “in title” from the dropdown
  4. Hit search
  5. Go to the “Authors” tab

Right here you’ll see a listing of parents who’ve written about your subject, what number of posts they’ve written, and what number of followers they’ve on Twitter.

8. Companies

Should you’d choose every thing carried out for you, then you’ll be able to at all times work with influencer advertising and marketing companies. They’ll do every thing for you, together with the marketing campaign set-up.

The truth is, for macro-influencers and above, it’s doubtless that you simply’ll should work with one anyway. Most of them are akin to actual celebrities and you’ll should work with their supervisor or company to get a marketing campaign carried out. Ensure you’re conscious of that.

Simply because somebody has 1,000,000 followers, doesn’t imply your marketing campaign shall be profitable. They could have a big following, however can they affect their viewers to do one thing, like go away a remark, take part in a giveaway, and even purchase?

Taking a step again, we have to ask: are the million followers even actual? Faux influencers are aplenty. We don’t wish to waste our cash on campaigns that get no returns.

That is why we have to consider the record we’ve simply created. Earlier than we even do any outreach, we have to be sure that these are the influencers we actually wish to work with. That they characterize our model nicely, can create the kind of content material we would like, and even have the flexibility to assist us obtain the KPIs we’ve set.

In The Affect Code, Amanda Russell—an influencer and influencer advertising and marketing skilled—suggests evaluating 5 Rs:

  1. Attain
  2. Recognition
  3. Reference
  4. Relevance
  5. Resonance


1. Attain

That is the overall dimension of the influencer’s followings throughout all platforms.

Most companies make the error of focusing solely on this metric. It’s comprehensible as that is probably the most publicly accessible metric. However deal with this as a place to begin.

Not solely is that this quantity straightforward to ‘manufacture’, the variety of followers doesn’t equate to precise attain both.

Recognizing faux attain

Attain is the simplest metric to faux. Go to websites like Fiverr and you’ll see providers that promise to get you X variety of followers in a single day. The New York Instances even wrote an article in 2018 in regards to the black market of pretend followers.

All the time ensure you look rigorously into an influencer’s following.

  • Do their followers have bizarre usernames, like a protracted record of numbers?
  • Do their followers have an empty show image?
  • Do their followers have any posts?
  • Do their followers have zero followers themselves, but comply with a whole lot of different folks?

These are all pink flags. Right here’s an instance:

Now, simply because an influencer has faux followers, doesn’t imply they purchased them. As an account grows in dimension, it turns into unimaginable to keep away from faux followers and social media bots. Simply be certain that it’s not a big proportion of their followers. A fast method to test could possibly be to make use of a software like SparkToro’s Faux Followers Audit (Twitter solely) or HypeAuditor’s Instagram Audit.


2. Recognition

That is how ‘known’ or ‘recognizable’ the influencer is in the area of interest.

They don’t should be on a Hollywood actor’s fame degree, however they need to be recognized to your target market. Even when they’re not so well-known, are their experience, credentials or accolades recognizable?


3. Reference

Is the influencer or their work being referenced or cited by folks in their area of interest (or outdoors of it)? Have they been featured on a listing of specialists by a reputable/well-known publication or web site?


4. Relevance

That is how intently related an influencer is with a selected subject or area of interest.

You’d wish to be sure that the influencer you’re working with talks a couple of subject your model desires to be related to. Should you’re a vegan model, for instance, you won’t wish to work with a paleo influencer, even when each subjects are about “diet/nutrition.”

Relevance can also be about how intently an influencer’s viewers aligns along with your model’s target market. A feminine influencer that repeatedly promotes swimwear won’t have a feminine viewers; a male influencer that repeatedly promotes dwelling exercises won’t have a male viewers.

You’ll should dig deeper.

For instance, Kate Upton labored with American cosmetics model Bobbi Brown to advertise their merchandise. Whereas it is sensible for Bobbi Brown to work with a well-known mannequin, it seems that 90% of her on-line viewers have been males in sports activities and video video games.


5. Resonance

That is the quantity of engagement (feedback, shares, views, retweets, mentions, and so on.) that the influencer will get at any time when they submit content material.

Recognizing faux resonance

Sadly, like attain, resonance might be purchased. So, quite than wanting on the absolute variety of likes, feedback, retweets, and so on., have a look at their high quality. They need to be real feedback or conversations.

Right here’s a fast guidelines to run by:

  • Are all of them emoji-only feedback?
  • Are all of them quick feedback with no that means or context, like “Wow!”, “Amazing!”, “Nice!”?
  • Are all of them repeated feedback by the identical person?

Right here’s an instance:

Different metrics

Listed below are another metrics you’ll be able to look out for:

  • Offline. Actual folks turning up for occasions means the influencer has an precise engaged viewers. Discover out what the turnout was at their earlier in-person occasions.
  • Testimonials, critiques and case research. Ask your influencer for details about earlier campaigns. However do notice that micro and nano-influencers could not have them.
  • Status. An influencer’s controversy may also harm your model. Test by the influencer’s content material to see in the event that they’ve not been embroiled in latest scandals or have robust views that don’t align along with your model.

Together with your record narrowed down, it’s time to achieve out and see if a profitable collaboration might be made.

Nonetheless, it doesn’t imply you’ll be able to ship the identical electronic mail to everybody. You’ll should deal with every group in a different way.

In any case, outreach is a recreation of brand name notion—yours vs the influencer’s.

For instance, if you happen to’re Louis Vuitton, even probably the most well-known celebrities would have a tough time saying no to a collaboration. However if you happen to’re a small ecommerce retailer making an attempt to get Chiara Ferragni to provide you a shoutout, likelihood is your electronic mail shall be ignored.

It might sound annoying, however there’s a motive for this. Influencers want to guard their very own model too. The rationale why you assume they’re a great match is exactly as a result of they don’t promote each single factor that falls on their lap. In the event that they did, they’ll be seen as a sellout—their model shall be diluted and their viewers keen to go away. Plus, I’m positive you wouldn’t wish to be simply one among many merchandise they promote.

So, earlier than you attain out, ensure you have an applicable technique for every kind of influencer.


For giant influencers, you’ll have to achieve out through their companies or managers. You possibly can doubtless attain out to nano and micro influencers straight. 

There are various methods to collaborate with influencers. They embrace:

  • Freely giving swag or free merchandise (in the hope the influencer will give a shoutout);
  • A paid product shoutout;
  • Working a giveaway;
  • Recruiting influencers into their affiliate or referral applications;
  • Giving the influencers a promotion code/low cost (for direct gross sales);
  • Creating content material along with the influencer;
  • Inviting influencers for his or her occasions;
  • Product collaborations;

And extra.

There are nearly infinite methods to work with them, and the precise manner you select will rely in your objective and the content material that can work greatest for the influencer’s viewers.

Past that, there are some issues you must take notice when working with an influencer:

1. Develop an influencer settlement beforehand

It is a enterprise partnership. It might seem to be a problem, however a signed settlement might be useful in defending each events from a authorized perspective. It additionally gives a doc that each of you’ll be able to confer with in the occasion of any disagreements or misunderstandings.

There are on-line templates accessible, nevertheless it’s greatest to seek the advice of a lawyer. Some objects you may wish to take into account together with are:

  • The period of the partnership;
  • Exclusivity—can the influencer work with different comparable/competing manufacturers?
  • Particular kind of content material you’re seeking to create;
  • Particular messages you wish to embrace;
  • What the influencer can or can not do and say throughout the marketing campaign period;
  • How lengthy the influencer ought to go away the content material up;
  • The place they need to be posting the content material (necessary if the influencer works on a number of channels);
  • Who the content material will belong to;
  • Quantity and phrases of compensation;
  • Particular monitoring methodology.

Really useful studying: The right way to Create a Flawless Social Media Influencer Contract

2. Collaborate, don’t management

Loads of manufacturers make the error of dictating what an influencer ought to or shouldn’t say. This outcomes in an inauthentic advert that doesn’t persuade their viewers.

The influencer’s viewers is theirs—they know what their viewers desires. As a model, you’re there to offer course, key messages/pointers, and your model tips. Don’t micromanage the content material. Belief the influencer to give you one thing that’ll be irresistible and promotes your model nicely. Even higher: give a tour of your product or train them the right way to use it to allow them to discuss it naturally.

That mentioned, don’t be afraid to ask the influencer for the primary draft and a couple of rounds of edits. You’d wish to be certain that you’ll be able to appropriate any errors earlier than the content material goes stay.

3. Comply with regulatory tips

Relying on the nation you and your influencer are working in, you’ll have to reveal that the content material created is an advert. For instance, the Federal Commerce Fee in the U.S requires all influencers to reveal publicly and in an easy-to-spot place that they’ve been paid to advertise the product.

Most influencer advertising and marketing campaigns are one-off campaigns. However if you happen to really loved working with an influencer and are pleased with the outcomes, then you could possibly rent them into model ambassadors.

Whether or not you name them ambassadors or evangelists, these are the individuals who proceed to advocate for a selected model solely for a protracted time frame. In return, the model helps them in quite a lot of methods: free merchandise, sponsorships, insider entry, and commissions.

They’re not new—the style, cosmetics and sports activities world have used them extensively.

The truth is, we even have our personal evangelist right here at Ahrefs—Patrick.

Like Patrick, model ambassadors are principally specialists throughout the area of interest and may also present recommendation and concepts on the right way to enhance your product.

Really useful studying: 9 Nice Public Relations Tactics with Marketing campaign Examples

Listed below are some examples of profitable influencer advertising and marketing campaigns.

1. Ahrefs—worker influencers

Tim is our Chief Marketing Officer. He’s additionally one among Ahrefs’ greatest evangelists. Though our brand Twitter account has 3x extra followers, his tweets constantly get extra engagement.

It’s not all about engagement both. Tim will get us prospects:

It’s not simply Tim. I discussed earlier that the Ahrefs advertising and marketing staff are all nano and micro-influencers ourselves. We assist to drive prospects too, like Sam:

Even I managed to drive a few:

2. Instagram—high-profile thought leaders

Let’s get meta right here. Instagram is the platform of selection for many influencers. However do you know Instagram grew to become fashionable due to influencers too?

Due to influencers like Jack Dorsey, the founding father of Twitter, Instagram hit 25,000 customers throughout the first day and 100,000 customers throughout the first week.

Sarah Frier writes in No Filter:

All the things he (Dorsey) posted on Instagram would instantly cross-post to Twitter, reaching his 1.6 million followers there. He instructed the world it was his favourite new iPhone app, and they listened. When Instagram launched to the general public on October 6, 2010, it instantly went viral because of shares from folks like Dorsey. It reached primary in digital camera functions in the Apple app retailer.

3. Daniel Wellington—Instagram influencers

Daniel Wellington is a Swedish watch model. Identified for his or her changeable watch straps, they made $230 million in income in 2016 and have bought over 6 million watches.

You’ve in all probability seen them on Instagram. No, scratch that. You’ve positively seen them on Instagram.

Daniel Wellington grew fully by influencer advertising and marketing. They inundated Instagram—first by freely giving free watches to 1000’s of influencers, and then driving gross sales by asking these influencers to share particular coupon codes.

This established themselves as vital client model for millennials and zoomers—each demographics are massive on Instagram. For sure, this reworked what was merely an preliminary $15,000 funding into a widely known watch model.

Last ideas

I hope that this information has served as a great primer for understanding and executing influencer advertising and marketing. It ought to be a good basis for studying extra in regards to the subject.

For this information, I’d like to provide credit score to 2 books I’ve learn:

  • The Affect Code by Amanda Russell
  • The Age of Affect by Neal Schaffer

I’d additionally prefer to thank these folks for fielding my questions on influencer advertising and marketing:

  • JK Music from Punch Digital
  • Andrew Prasatya from RevoU

Did I miss out on something necessary about inbound advertising and marketing? Let me know on Twitter.