Influencer Marketing Definition

Cite this article as:"Influencer Marketing Definition," in The Business Professor, updated March 22, 2019, last accessed October 26, 2020,


Influencer Marketing Definition

Influencer marketing is a way of marketing that focuses on influential people instead of a targeted market using social media. It recognizes people who have influence over prospective customers and adjusts marketing actions around those specific influencers.

A Little More on What is Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing entails marketing products and services to individuals who have a strong influence over what others purchase. This influence in the market comes from the influencer’s reputation, popularity, or expertise. It’s like word-of-mouth marketing but marketing to a group of influencers doesn’t depend on specific recommendations.  

Influence can appear from a variety of places. Any brand, person, place, or group can conceivably become an influencer. Celebrities, for example, are often chosen to market products because of their brand visibility and the respect people have for them. When a celebrity is seen using a product, the company that manufactures it gets recognition, respect, and exposure from the endorsement.

Because bloggers are viewed as authentic and have devoted followers, they have become significant influencers. The recommendation of a blogger for a product appears more trustworthy than conventional advertising. Straight forward marketing communication receives skepticism and cynicism that companies tend to avoid by using influencers.

What makes this kind of marketing special is that it interests the needs of the influencer instead of the customer. Companies have to form organic and open relationships and respect influencers so they give an endorsement for a product. A way in which a company might go about doing that is to invite the influencer to visit the firm personally or give the influencer access to a product that hasn’t been released.

Influencer marketing isn’t as manageable as ordinary marketing. A product’s chance of success could receive negative impact should an influencer fall out of the public light or get into legal trouble. Marketers have to prepare for how they will handle negative fallout if the influencer they are using rejects or misrepresents their product.

References for Influencer Marketing

Academic Research on Influencer Marketing

  • # Sponsored: The Emergence of Influencer Marketing, Woods, S. (2016). # Sponsored: The Emergence of Influencer Marketing. This thesis investigates how brands are using influencer marketing. To go deep into this topic, the author held 13 qualitative interviews over the course of a week with people with influencer marketing experience who work in New York City in the advertising industry. The interviews lasted from 30 to 45 minutes. Some of the discussion topics dealt with the start of social media influencers and the advantages and risks associated with working with them.
  • Influencer marketing. How word-of-mouth marketing can strengthen your organization’s brand., Weiss, R. (2014). Marketing health services, 34(1), 16. Marketing was first introduced into the healthcare field in the 1970s. There were predictions that word-of-mouth messages would fall apart and traditional marketing instruments would override the giving of recommendations to one another but it was not as it was thought. Human contact is more influential than traditional marketing from a person’s voice and internet means or rating websites.
  • InfluencerMarketing ist nicht nur Instagram, Held, F. (2018). In Influencer Marketing (pp. 67-83). Springer Gabler, Wiesbaden. Instagram and YouTube are perhaps the most referenced platforms when it comes to media coverage of influencer marketing. These platforms are always creating social media stars who can reach millions. The author believes that influencer marketing is more diversified, with there being more than only YouTube and Instagram channels that can be appropriate for successful communication.
  • Influencer Marketing: the characteristics and components of fashion influencer marketing, Zietek, N. (2016). Ad-blocking has caused new difficulties for fashion brands to get heard and seen. Therefore, new marketing methods are needed. Influencer marketing is a credible channel to reach customers since so many people are using mobile devices and spending more time on social networks. This paper hopes to provide a guideline for fashion brands that include the characteristics and elements of influencer marketing. The author interviews four experts on fashion influencer marketing held to question their everyday work with influencers and the hardships they face. From the interviews came four fundamental components of influencer marketing, which are micro-influencers, co-creation, long-term relations, and authenticity. Sub-components were also discovered, which include exclusivity, trust, creative freedom, visual language, price, passion, and frequent communication. The conclusion is that micro-influencers are an essential part of influencer marketing because they have high authenticity, are experts in a specific area and are not motivated by compensation.
  • Navigating the uncharted risks of covert advertising in influencer marketing, Gürkaynak, G., Kama, Ç. O., & Ergün, B. (2018). Business Law Review, 39(1), 17-19. Using influencers on social media is a more common form of advertising being used by brands. There’s no argument that social media and influencers have the ability to reach a vast audience of global consumers. Influencers are tastemakers who extremely valuable to brands. The catch is that people can’t be sure that the influencers have actually used and likes a product they are mentioning on their social media accounts. The question is if there is a commercial relationship between the brand and the influencer which would be the real reason the influencer is posting about a particular product in the first place.
  • INFLUENCER MARKETING. HOW TO FIND THE BEST INFLUENCER?, Matveeva, A., & Yevseitseva, O. (2016).
  • # Sponsored# Ad: Exploring the Effect of Influencer Marketing on Purchase Intention, Müller, L., Mattke, J., & Maier, C. (2018). Companies spend a growing amount of money on influencer marketing so that influencers who advertise their products create purchase intention for a large number of followers. The authors use a fuzzy set Qualitative Comparative Analysis to examine different perceptions that create purchase intention. They look at the perceptions of the influencer, the perceptions of the ad, and perceptions of the product and explain how the varying perceptions work together to create purchase intention. The theory reveals that two distinct configurations of perceptions contribute to the generation of purchase intention. Also, the authors show how influencer credibility has a strong causal relation to purchasing intention.
  • Social media influencer marketing, Isosuo, H. (2016). Influencer marketing is an important topic in the field of marketing because social media has shifted the power balance between brands and customers. The author acknowledges the commentary of Wong from Forbes, who says recommendations from peers and word-of-mouth marketing generates more sales than traditional advertising.
  • # Sponsored# Ad: Agency Perspective on Influencer Marketing Campaigns, Childers, C. C., Lemon, L. L., & Hoy, M. G. (2018). Journal of Current Issues & Research in Advertising, 1-17. Social and digital media continues to grow with more users interacting. Advertisers see the need for coming up with innovative strategies for reaching their audience. Influencer marketing is one of those methods. Influencers connect with services and brands and engage with audiences who trust them. This study shows the intuitiveness of influencer marketing and brings awareness to the perceptions and experiences among advertisers. The author interviewed nine advertising professionals. The authors explain how the industry of influencer marketing is an undiscovered territory.
  • Algorithms for Online Influencer Marketing, Lagrée, P., Cappé, O., Cautis, B., & Maniu, S. (2018). ACM Transactions on Knowledge Discovery from Data (TKDD), 13(1), 3. Influence maximization is the difficulty in finding users who are influential in a graph so that they can escalate the spreading of information. It can be applied to marketing and advertising used through social media. The authors examine a generic adaptation of influence maximization, in which they conclusively choose “spread seeds” from a group of influencers. They work under the hypothesis that in an inclined campaign, previously activated connecting points or pathways will stay continually active. The authors explain a problem referred to as “online influencer marketing with persistence.” They get information from Twitter and describe an algorithm that is an approach that will lead to high-quality spreads.
  • Influencer Marketing as a Marketing Tool: The process of creating an Influencer Marketing Campaign on Instagram, Biaudet, S. (2017). Consumers are becoming more critical of commercial messages and are educated as users of media because of digitalization. Brands are having a difficult time standing out among other brands, which is why companies turn to influencer marketing. It is considered the most significant fresh approach to marketing nowadays because of the trust built between the consumer and the influencer. The purpose of this study is to get a better understanding of why firms should implement influencer marketing and learn the technique for starting a campaign on Instagram.
  • A Framework for Analyzing Influencer Marketing in Social Networks: Selection and Scheduling of Influencers, Mallipeddi, R., Kumar, S., Sriskandarajah, C., & Zhu, Y. (2018). Fox School of Business Research Paper, (18-042). Companies have altered the way they strategize their marketing efforts because of the dynamic growth of users on different social media outlets. Firms are now using influencer marketing to have influencers promote their services or products using social media. However, network seeding is an issue. Identifying which influencers will represent the company’s advertisement or message the best has not been fully discussed in papers. The authors come up with a data-driven structure to assist firms with successfully running an influencer marketing campaign. The problem is broken down into two phases, which are selection of influencers and scheduling of the ads from them.

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