May 22, 2020 Heather Wilson

How to Make Influencer Marketing Work for You

Influencers are fast becoming a cornerstone of modern-day marketing. In a previous blog, we discussed why influencer marketing is more important than ever. According to research cited in Adweek, 75% of Fortune 500 companies use influencer marketing to reach new audiences and engage with existing customers, and 84% plan on implementing an influencer marketing strategy in the next 12 months.

Not all influencers are the same. There’s everything from high-profile celebrity influencers to small-scale niche influencers you’ve never heard of. Before you can launch an effective influencer marketing campaign, you need to understand influencer tiers and the types of campaigns that make the most sense for your brand or product/service.

4 Types of Influencers
With social media ad spending expected to top $100 billion this year, it pays to get it right. Before jumping into an influencer marketing campaign on social media, you need to find the right influencers for your brand or product/service. Influencers are classified in tiers by the size of their audience (number of followers) as follows:

  • Mega influencer: 1,000,000 or more followers
  • Macro influencer: 100,000 – 1,000,000 followers
  • Micro influencer: 10,000 – 100,000 followers
  • Nano influencer: 10,000 or fewer followers

The cost of working with an influencer depends on the size of their audience. For companies with niche products, like specialty automotive aftermarket parts, we’ve found that the greatest return on investment (ROI) comes from working with Micro or Nano influencers. Followers of the smaller Micro and Nano influencer channels tend to be more loyal and committed to the person they are following. And because the community is still small there is an authentic sense of connection between the audience and the influencer. 

3 Keys to Success with Influencer Marketing

There are several keys to success when it comes to setting up and executing an influencer marketing campaign.

1. Know Your Audience
Not every platform or influencer is optimal for your type of business. To ensure your influencer campaign meets your goals, identify your target audience and figure out what their motivations are. If your target audience is Jeep enthusiasts, then you shouldn’t hire an influencer who doesn’t connect to that passionate group in an authentic, credible way. 

2. Choose Your Influencer Carefully
When you work with an influencer, you are telling the public that their values align with yours. If an influencer is not properly vetted, including an evaluation of their entire history on social media, then something negative about their past or reputation could tarnish your brand image for years to come. Due diligence will help you make an informed choice. 

3. Communicate Clearly
For your influencer marketing campaign to be a success, you and the influencer need to be upfront and transparent about expectations, deliverables and metrics. An influencer campaign needs to be a partnership, so both parties need to communicate clearly and agree upon common goals.

You know your audience, you’ve identified one or more influencers to work with and you’ve established open, honest lines of communication. Now what?

Because this is a partnership, you and the influencer(s) need to work together to create the most effective campaign that will resonate with their audience and put your brand in a positive light. There are five major types of influencer marketing campaigns to consider.

5 Types of Influencer Marketing Campaigns

1. Collabs

A collab marketing campaign is a collaboration between the influencer and the brand where both have roles to play. One popular collab is an account “takeover,” where the influencer takes control of your brand’s account for a set period of time while also promoting the event on their own accounts. A collab can help you grow your social media following quickly. 

Online classic car auction house regularly uses takeovers to help grow both its audience and the audience of its partners. At the 2018 SEMA Show, it conducted two separate takeovers with two different custom car builders, Classic Recreations and Classic Car Studio. 

2. Affiliate Marketing

Instagram post by: @melisfit_

When rolling out a new product or initiative, you don’t want it to get lost in the noise on the internet. Partnering with an influencer who connects with your target audience in an organic way can help your message get through loud and clear. With affiliate marketing, you agree in advance on the type of content that will be created and promoted and you involve the influencer in the creative process to ensure an authentic result. 

Melissa Metrano is a popular Instagram influencer known as @melisfit_. She got her start as a yoga and wellness influencer, but transitioning her brand into a more personal one as she became a newlywed and mother. With over 341,000 followers, she has built an impressively engaged audience that feels truly connected to her on an intimate level. Grove Collaborative, a sustainable and healthy household product delivery service, saw the potential in working with someone like Melissa who had a direct line of communication with its target audience, so it established a partnership with her to promote its brand and products. 

3. Contest, Giveaways and Sweepstakes

Contests and giveaways are popular promotional strategies on social media. By working with an influencer, however, the contest becomes more of a conversation than a simple promotion. You reach a new audience in a more organic and authentic way, which increases brand exposure and helps identify new customers. 

When established beauty products brand Raw Sugar Living launched its sister line Unfiltered, it relied solely on influencers for marketing and gave creative freedom to the content creators. While it varied with each individual influencer, the majority of influencers, like Alysa Mae (@alysamaebeck) who has 31.6K followers on Instagram, promoted a chance to win Target gift cards (the sole retailer to carry the new product) or win product directly from Unfiltered. To qualify for the contest, people had to follow both the influencer’s and the brand’s Instagram accounts and comment on the post using the branded hashtag #UnfiliteredStory.  

4. Brand Ambassadors

When you identify the right influencer partner and have vetted them fully, turning influencers into brand ambassadors can be a powerful tool for companies who are invested in long-term social media growth. Usually through a paid deal with clearly defined deliverables set on a time table, these campaigns allow a brand to build recognition with an influencer’s audience steadily over time. It requires more investment, both in cost and time, but it can lead to powerful results. By positioning the influencer as a spokesperson, you effectively turn the influencer’s audience into your own.

There’s a successful long-term brand ambassador relationship between leading coolant and automotive fluids brand PEAK and top automotive influencer ChrisFix. For over five years they have worked together to produce organic connect that promotes the PEAK brand and its line of products while connecting ChrisFix’s audience in an authentic way. Over the course of the relationship, they have launched numerous campaigns targeting both his Instagram (532,000 followers) and YouTube (6.37 million followers). For example, leveraging ChrisFix’s impressive YouTube following, PEAK sponsored a video in which ChrisFix explained how to do a radiator flush and fill. This type of content not only directly promoted PEAK’s product in an organic way but it is directly aligned with the type of content ChrisFix typically produces. 

5. Influencer Content Creation

While having a clear-cut plan and strategy is necessary for most situations, occasionally it’s appropriate to go in the opposite direction. When you identify an influencer who creates high-quality content and establish a good working relationship, you have the opportunity to create something truly unique. By giving them creative freedom, you allow them to create unique content that will deeply resonate with their audience. 

MagnaFlow has used influencers to not only create content featuring its existing products, but also to get input on the development and testing of new products. MagnaFlow’s new line of xMOD modular exhaust systems kicked off with the launch of of the 2020 Toyota Supra, with several YouTube influencers having early access to the car.The Kahn Media team worked with MagnaFlow to identify ideal candidates to provide reviews and locked in YouTubers Adam LZ and TJ Hunt to receive the first iterations. TJ is local to MagnaFlow’s Oceanside, California, facility, so his video series spanned multiple episodes as MagnaFlow’s team developed the perfect system for his Supra. Adam LZ received the first production system and created an install and test video that generated 550,000+ views and generated immediate pre-orders on the MagnaFlow website following the release of the video. 

To expand on the xMOD line launches, we followed a similar template for the upcoming S550 Mustang system and identified key players in that market and provided them with prototype systems. Mustang Lifestyle created a complete step-by-step install video with the new exhaust system that was shared with over 100,000 subscribers. And on the West Coast, Rush Shift’s video hit 33,000 views and he also included a tour of the MagnaFlow facility for additional content. 

Influencer marketing can be incredibly rewarding when executed carefully and thoughtfully. It provides the perfect opportunity to authentically share your brand’s message with a dedicated and loyal audience. When done the right way, working with influencers leads to greater brand awareness, a larger audience and a new base of consumers to connect with. 

Need help? We can help you achieve your influencer marketing goals. Contact us at to receive a free social media consultation, including a review of how influencer marketing can grow your business.