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Influencer marketing: A beginner’s guide

  • December 21 2020
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Influencer marketing: A beginner’s guide

By Zarah Mae Torrazo
December 21 2020

Influencer marketing has become an essential business strategy for marketers. Here is a primer on how you can get started as an influencer.

Influencer marketing: A beginner’s guide

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  • December 21 2020
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Influencer marketing has become an essential business strategy for marketers. Here is a primer on how you can get started as an influencer.

Influencer marketing

As more people joined social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and TikTok, some users became content creators themselves, crafting their own blogs, stories, photos and posts for their followers to view and engage with. During this process, these creators become experts in their own fields and eventually accumulate a loyal and large following. This is how social media influencers are born. 

Marketers were quick to take notice of this internet culture trend. Over the last five years, businesses have collaborated with social media influencers across different platforms to generate awareness about their products and services through content-driven, online marketing campaigns or through “influencer marketing”.

If you are new to influencer marketing, the conflicting information can be confusing. Here is our beginner’s guide to influencer marketing.   


What is influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is not an entirely new marketing concept. Traditionally, companies have worked with thought leaders and opinion-makers that could sway their potential customers. This usually entails brands paying for a celebrity endorsement for televisions and print ads or with bloggers that have deep understanding about a certain niche or industry. 

Influencer marketing

In this modern era, the definition of influencers has changed. Most of the people that brands partner with are social media influencers. These are people that have built a large online network or following through content creation on social media networks. 

Fundamentally, influencer marketing is a type of social media marketing in which a brand collaborates with an influential person to endorse a product, service or advocacy by creating related and impactful content online. 

How does influencer marketing work? 

Influencer marketing is increasingly becoming more popular among businesses because traditional advertising has become less effective in generating leads and attracting customers. Businesses can customise their influencer marketing campaign based on their goals, whether it is boosting brand awareness, generating leads and sales, or improving brand advocacy. 

Influencer marketing works because it uses strategies such as word-of-mouth marketing and social proof, which in modern times are critical aspects of any successful marketing strategy. 

Usually, brands collaborate with niche content creators who already are sharing content that market to a brand’s targeted audience. This makes it easier for brands to access the audience personas they are trying to reach.

For example, a pet food company will strategically partner with an online influencer that is known to be an animal advocate or that has a social media account dedicated to animal welfare. It will ensure that a sponsored post in Instagram will garner interaction from followers who have relative interests or passion, making it easier to generate leads or conversions. 

Influential marketing is also effective due to the high amount of trust that social media influencers have built with their following. One of the best ways to measure if an influencer is trusted is by looking at their engagement rates. An Instagram influencer with high engagement rates (high number of comments, likes and shares) will be more effective in promoting a service or a product because followers trust their recommendations. 

Good engagement rates is also a measure of success as it means the influencer has an organic and loyal following rather than an inflated follower number boosted by fraud accounts and bots. 

What type of influencer do brands work with?

The type of influencer a brand works with is necessary for an influencer marketing campaign to be effective. In its early days, influencer marketing usually meant brands paying macro-influencers to endorse their products and services. These are usually influencers with 100,000 or more followers.

But influencer marketing strategies have also adapted to the changes in the digital marketing landscape.

Instead of collaborating with a handful of influencers with big followings, marketers are now working with dozens of micro-influencers, who categorically have 3,000 to 100,000 followers on their social media accounts. 

According to a recent study by the Kelley Fay Group and Experticity, 82 per cent of respondents said they were highly likely to trust and follow a micro-influencer’s recommendation. 

While these influencers are not celebrity influencers or social media stars, they are seen as trusted sources for purchase recommendations because they are perceived as knowledgeable, passionate and authentic, the study noted.

How much money can you make from influencer marketing?

Over the years, businesses have increased their influencer marketing budget. This trend is expected to continue. Given this, it can be assumed that there is plenty of money-making opportunity in this industry that is seen to grow to US$10 billion at the start of this decade. 

If you are looking for a digital hustle, being an influencer may become a lucrative gig. Influencers can have several revenue streams, such as affiliate partnerships, traditional banner advertising on blogs and social media accounts and even commissions for in-person appearances. 

Influencers can also earn money through YouTube and Facebook ad revenue. You can also potentially make money by selling your own merchandise or artwork. 

According to experts, how much money you can make from influencer marketing will depend on your level as an influencer. Mathew Micheli, co-founder and manager partner of global influencer marketing agency Viral Nation, said the range of payments are wide and can range from US$50 to over US$50,000. 

Experts estimate that the average pay for influencers is US$1,000 per 100,000 followers, based on Instagram marketing platform Later. However, the rate that an influencer can demand will depend on a variety of factors, including the quality of the content from the influencer, how often they create content, how big is their following, how their engagement metrics are performing etc.  

Ultimately, influencers may have the ability to earn big money from the content they create. However, it is not exactly easy to achieve and will require several factors to come together to be a successful career path. 

How do you start as an influencer? 

After knowing the ins and outs of influencer marketing, you may be encouraged to become an influencer as well. If you are planning to be part of this industry, here are steps to jumpstart your career as an influencer: 

Choose a platform 

When choosing a platform to become a social media influencer, Instagram may be the best place to start. According to Mediakix, 89 per cent of marketers name the platform as one of the most important channels for influencer marketing.

Instagram stories are highly popular among marketers. A study by Klear showed that around a third of influencer content on Instagram are posted in its Instagram Stories feature. The swipe-up feature to provide a link that followers can visit is offered to accounts with more than 10,000 followers. This feature makes instagram a practical and great platform to share and link to brand content and websites. 

You should also consider the platforms that your audience will most likely use. If most of your target market is on Facebook, you should consider focusing on the latter platform rather than Instagram.  

Focus on a niche 

After choosing a platform, it is important to identify your niche. In this industry, you cannot be a jack of all trades but a master of none. You must choose a niche that is within your interest and will align with your brand identity. 

One of the best ways to choose your niche is to assess your strengths and weaknesses. Select a niche that will highlight your best skills and features. Your niche must also be relevant and will generate relevant and engaging content for a long time. 

Below are some categories or topics that you can focus your content on: 

  • Travel
  • Lifestyle
  • Food
  • Beauty
  • Gaming
  • Sports
  • Entertainment
  • Fashion
  • Health and Fitness 
  • Science and Technology

However, do not limit yourself with these established and popular niches. Some influencers combine two or three categories, depending on the content that they produce. What is important is to find a niche that will work best for you and will attract the type of audience persona that you want. Having a unique voice will also help your content to stand out in a highly saturated industry. 

Build a connection with your audience 

Any established influencer will tell you that having a good rapport with your audience is key to being successful in this industry. Build a connection with your followers by taking time to acknowledge and respond to their comments on your posts. You must also be proactive in answering their personal messages and noticing their efforts to reach out to you. This will help you develop a relationship with them, which in turn will make them receptive to any recommendations that you give.  

As an influencer, you will also have your share of negative comments and criticisms. Like with any other job, take these negative comments in stride. Always address them professionally and remember to keep your cool. 

Develop your content 

The key to becoming a successful influencer is to produce high-quality and consistent content. It will help build your industry authority. Your followers will perceive you as a reliable source of information on a certain topic.  

Publishing content on a regular basis is also an effective way to maintain engagement with your audience. Create a schedule or timeline of when you will release or post new content and make sure to follow this schedule. This will keep your audience hooked as they anticipate your next post.

It is also important for you to listen to your audience on what type of content they may want to see on your account. If they are requesting a specific post or content, you may accommodate these types of requests as long as it fits with your brand image and it will help you to be closer to your audience.

Give your audience a balance of informative content and personal content. Being relatable to your audience will help build the trust between you and your audience.  

Grow your network 

Once you have established your presence in the social media sphere to some extent, it is time to grow your network.

One way to do this is to network with other influencers in the same niche that you are focused on. By associating yourself with a content creator in the same niche as yours, you can gain new followers with similar interests as your existing audience. Generally, collaborations will be mutually beneficial to the influencers you work with, as it will also grow their network.


Influencer marketing is showing no sign of slowing down. This provides budding influencers the opportunity to be part of a continually growing industry. But remember that the process of becoming a successful influencer takes time and effort, so it is best to dive into this industry with the proper knowledge and strategy. 

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