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Introduction to influencer marketing

Sep 01, 2021

Introduction to influencer marketing


By Nick Bottai - Co-Founder/Director @ The Marketing Leaders Ltd.


The World Wide Web changed the paradigms of communication. And then social media changed it again. People all around the world became connected and free to share their opinion reaching thousands if not million of other users. 

As it happens in the real world (compared to the digital), there are people better than others in communication and able to raise and nurture bigger audiences. We call them “influencers”.


  1.  Who is an influencer?

An influencer is a person with a relevant expertise (real or given) in a field, market or topic, with a significant number of followers, who is able to influence them.

Speaking about a topic, influencers show their audience they are expert in their field and little by little they built their reputation and followers.

Unlike celebrities, influencers built their followers thanks to the relevance of their topics.

We can identify them in 2 main categories:

  • By the numbers of their followers
  • By the content they release


Numbers. Depending on the number of the followers, we can identify:

  1. Mega influencer – more than 1 million followers at least in one channel
  2. Macro influencer – from 40.000 to 1 million followers in one channel
  3. Micro influencer – from 1.000 to 40.000 followers in one channel
  4. Nano influencer – less than 1.000 followers in one channel


Type of content. Based on the content an influencer share and the channel used, we can call them:

  1. Blogger
  2. You tuber
  3. Podcaster
  4. Social media

Each content/channel identifies the type of audience. For example, a TikToker has followers that are younger than a podcaster.

The types of different influencers help a company to identify the right one to collaborate with.


  1.  Difference between a testimonial and an influencer

Especially the Gen X, boomers and silent generation saw the use of testimonials to promote brands. I still remember Carl Lewis (a gold medalist in 100 metres and long jump) being the testimonial for Pirelli (campaign: power is nothing without control). And I can speak about many other examples during the last 40 years and today too (the illusionist Dynamo for Pepsi, premier league champions, actors and more).

Brands use the celebrities to reinforce their brand awareness and reputation, using the principle of social proof and liking.

Influencers are not so famous people, but they proved themselves experts on a specific topic. They’ve built their reputation on the field, and they are known and followed for that. Companies collaborate with them because of their audience and expertise, that is aligned with the brand objectives.

In short, celebrity testimonials are famous people, and companies associate their brand to them to build awareness and reinforce reputation.

Influencers are known to be experts on a topic and companies collaborate with them to achieve specific goals.



  1.  What is influencer marketing

In a few words, influencer marketing is a collaboration among one ore more influencers and a company to achieve specific goals.

Everything starts with the goals to achieve.

Once they are clear (and SMART), it’s time to find the right influencer(s) to collaborate with. It depends not only on the topic, but on the channel and audience of the influencer. This is why you might want to have multiple influencers, one for each relevant channel (based on the demographic of your customers).

Then, work with the influencer(s) to define a plan that is part of the overall marketing, branding and PR plan.

Results will come and it takes time. The advantage of using influencers is their audience and their ability to engage with them. Trust them and allow them to work and remember:

  • They will not put your goals and plans ahead of theirs. It took years to them to achieve their reputation and followers. Those are the influencers’ value and they do not jeopardise them for you.
  • Trust! Influencers are dealing with their audience for years, with a direct communication that allows the influencers to understand their followers deeply. If you engage an influencer, let her/him do their job. Otherwise, why do you hire them?