Influencer marketing is a mainstream form of online marketing yet there are still people who don’t understand what it is all about. Over the past few years, the popularity of social media influencers has been growing exponentially, making influencer marketing prevalent.

Influencer marketing is an ever-changing tool brands are using to sell their products and increase their online exposure. It is a hybrid of social media marketing that involves endorsements and product placements from influencers. The influencer marketing market size worldwide has grown from $1.7 billion in 2016 to $13.8 billion in 2021.

Influencer marketing or influencer relations?

There are two terms to define an influencer’s role in marketing. These are influencer marketing and influencer relations. Influencer marketing refers to short-term and paid activities, whereas influencer relations links to unpaid, earned, and shared media content. Influencer relations aims to strengthen and create long term relationships between influencers and their audiences.

Brands and advertisers invest in influencers and their relevant posts and content which link to the brand’s target audience. Influencers have been called “a new type of third-party endorser who shapes audience attitudes through blogs, tweets, and the use of other social media” (Freberg et al. 2011, p. 90). Influencers play a key role in creating electronic word of mouth for brands.

What is an Influencer?

What makes someone an influencer is their large following on social media, influencers unlike the average celebrity can be anywhere. An influencer can be a popular fashion stylist on Instagram or a gardener with a plethora of knowledge on all things green who tweet their top gardening tips daily or a respected business professional on LinkedIn. Any and every industry has influential people, you just have to find them. Influencers spend a long time building their brand and cultivating their audience, this makes influencer marketing organic and more receptive for the consumer. The most crucial difference between influencers and traditional celebrities is the intimacy and trustworthiness involved as they share their personal lives on social media for all.

Levels of influencers

Some of the top social media influencers are the well-known famous Kardashian sisters. For many brands, smaller influencers with a niche follower base may be more effective than the Kardashian mega-influencers plus the cost is much lower.

There are different levels of influencers depending on their follower size, these are broken down as below;

  • Nano-influencers (10K or fewer)
  • Micro-influencers (10K - 100K)
  • Macro-influencers (100K - 1M)
  • Mega-influencers (1M+)

Why is social media and influencer marketing so important?

Social media creates an interactive environment for every user where they are able to view or create content in any form or genre. It is key for marketers to focus on how they can enhance their engagement with influencers who have significant power in their followers’ purchase decisions. In a digital world, it cannot be denied that influencers and their strategies have become one of the key impacts on consumers’ decisions and their lifestyles in general. Social media influencers appear to be the gateway to reaching more consumers and building better, stronger, and longer-lasting brand relationships.

As with anything, there are legal regulations that marketers need to be aware of when utilising influencers and social media. The ASA and CMA advise influencers to clearly label their posts with ad, gifted, sponsored etc, it must be clear and obvious for the consumer.

Not convinced influencer marketing can lead to real business results? Civic Science found that 14% of 18-to-24-year-olds and 11% of millennials had bought something within the last six months because a blogger or influencer recommended it.

Instagram is currently the main platform of choice for influencers with TikTok rapidly growing too. 

In 2021 TikTok is on par with Facebook as an influencer marketing platform.

How can we help you with influencer marketing?

Influencer sampling

If your business or brand is new to working with influencers, then a great way to start working with them and to start building additional exposure is via influencer sampling.

This is often the easiest and most affordable way to work with influencers with no need to look at lengthy or ongoing relationships. Sampling is all about getting your product into their hands in exchange for some content posted on their channels.

We can do all the work for you here; research, liaise, report back on samples, all you would need to do is be prepared to send some product samples out to people who love your brand and can advocate for you!

We have been working with Luscombe Drinks to find and nurture relevant accounts in the food, drink and lifestyle space linked with key themes which tie in with their wider content marketing plan.

This has helped boost their awareness and engagement rates across their social channels, particularly picking up steam going into the festive period with a focus on their Luscombe & Friends Christmas Cocktail Box.

Paid influencer campaigns

If you are ready to start investing and testing in paid influencer marketing then we will be right with you every step of the way!

This approach will put your product right at the heart of an influencer’s content for a fee, this could include product placement, tutorials, how-to videos and reels. Again we would do all of the research and the communication with the influencer, or sometimes their agents to make sure that we get the best possible deal and results for you.

When considering if an influencer is right for a paid campaign, we would consider many factors before researching and outreaching, such as;

  • Brand fit - lifestyle/emotional/approach
  • Look and feel of their account/feed
  • Quality of visual content being produced and shared
  • Consistency and level of engagement

An example account, for our client Luscombe Drinks, that would be suitable for a paid influencer opportunity with Luscombe Drinks would be Elly Curshen (@ellypear). Elly’s Instagram focuses on cooking and making the most from your leftovers, with 72K followers her audience is perfect for Luscombe to work with. What goes better with a delicious home cooked meal than a refreshing Luscombe organic soft drink?

Ambassador management

We can also help your brand build long term success with ongoing ambassadors.

We will carefully research the perfect influencers to help enhance your brand over time in an ongoing relationship. Once the perfect accounts are chosen, we will manage an ongoing relationship for your brand for continued brand building, content creation and organic exposure.

We are developing an ambassador strategy for our client RocketGro to help put their organic, peat-free products at the heart of the gardening community in the UK - stay tuned for for info on this exciting case study.


Abby Millar

Content specialist with experience in food & drink