In an online world of thousands of shouting voices, influencer marketing has become the next big buzzword. But what exactly is it, and how can it help you?

First things first: influencer marketing is not new. For many years, celebrities have allowed their names to be used by brands, attracting a large crowd of loyal fans to products they would not have heard about otherwise. What makes influencer marketing especially important right now is the ever-growing importance of social media.

Even with so many voices online, there are a few key players that stand out from the pack with large followings, and wide influence over followers in a particular field. Couple this with the rising realization that consumers prefer to base their decisions around the opinions of people they already know and trust, and it’s easy to see how influencer marketing has become the next big thing.

What’s so good about influencer marketing?

Now more than ever, trust is everything to consumers. In a world where tailored online adverts, email campaigns and popups are just a part of daily life, online users become tired of blatant sales lingo. A survey by eMarketer found that 41% of millennials use adblocking software, meaning that nearly half of those expensive adverts aren’t being seen in the first place.

As a result, consumers are seeking out their own trusted sources (whether that’s a website, blogger, celebrity or even a well-known brand) and sourcing their opinion before making a buying decision. This is where the power of influencer marketing lies.

By teaming up with a trusted influencer and asking them to share your message you can bring together digital marketing, social media and traditional sales through useful and relevant relationship-based communication. The marketing potential and ROI from a powerful influencer relationship is huge.

How influencer marketing can increase your ROI

Consumers have always valued word of mouth over any other form of marketing. In fact, according to research by McKinsey, consumer-to-consumer word of mouth generates more than twice the sales of traditional paid advertising.

If you asked a friend or family member for their opinion on a purchase and they gave you a negative review, you would probably be less inclined to buy it; on the other hand, after hearing positive feedback, you would feel more confident about your purchase. This is exactly what influencers offer. They are the friendly, human face reviewing your product. A November Bloglovin’ survey revealed that 54% of female consumers purchased a product after seeing it being recommended by an influencer and 45% have followed a brand directly from an influencer’s post.

Thanks to their reach and following, influencers can talk directly to thousands more consumers than you are able to on your own. Their voice will increase the credibility and awareness of your brand and drive more and more traffic to your website.

On top of this, influencer marketing is not only more efficient and better respected by consumers than traditional marketing, but it has the added bonus of being less expensive too.

How do I find an influencer that’s right for me?

The most important criterion you should assess…