Incorporating Influencer Marketing into Your Next Campaign

The continually evolving digital landscape has caused a rise in the popularity of influencer marketing, changing the way brands advertise and launch new products. Nowadays, it’s easier than ever for influencers to digitally share what they’re excited about—and savvy marketers have taken notice. Brands across all industries are turning to influencer marketing as an alternative to traditional advertising, which can be expensive and inefficient.

Instead of focusing on their target market as a whole, brands are identifying “influencers,” or individuals who have influence over potential consumers, and building campaigns around them—and the timing couldn’t be better. Consumers are increasingly distrusting of traditional advertising (83% of Millennials and Gen-Z trust the recommendations of their peers above all other forms of advertising). And it makes sense—you’re more likely to trust the recommendation of your good friend Sally than a commercial.

You may be asking, “Who are these influencers, what do they look like, and how do I find them?” Great questions! Recruiting and selecting influencers for your campaign can be tricky business. It doesn’t matter how much strategy and thought goes into the campaign—if you select the wrong influencers, it can be detrimental. With different brands looking for different qualities in their influencers, it’s important to do your research. Here are three qualities we always look for in every influencer:

  • They’re connected and engaged via social media 24/7—it’s a central component of their native social lives
  • They’re experts at producing compelling content across all social channels, including Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube
  • They’re great communicators—able to clearly convey the core value of products and services

Some influencer campaigns are sales and acquisition based, while others are focused on brand awareness. Before selecting influencers for your brand, get crystal clear on your goals and what you expect from your influencers.

Here are four factors to consider:

Macro vs Micro Influencers

Celebrities and macro influencers (AKA Instagram celebrities) typically have hundred of thousands to millions of followers. While these types of influencers have the highest reach, they don’t necessarily have the greatest amount of influence. Because of their high follower count and/or name recognition, they’re always being approached by brands, which means they’re typically promoting many products at the same time, making them appear less authentic and more salesy. However, due to the sheer size of their following, they may be perfect for a brand awareness campaign.

Micro influencers typically reach an extremely targeted audience. While they tend to have fewer followers than Instagram celebrities, they normally enjoy a higher level of engagement, likely because they appear more relatable. They aren’t strangers—they’re your sorority sister, your lab partner, your class president. Micro influencers can have immense influence because they have a more authentic relationship with their social media followers.

Brand Fit

Influencer Marketing

This one seems like a no-brainer, but it’s incredibly important to select influencers whose personal brands align with your brand. For example, a brand selling weight loss products shouldn’t try to partner with a body-positive activist. It would dilute the validity of the brand and the influencer alike. Where as a skincare brand would partner well with a micro-influencer student who is studying dermatology. Finding an influencer who embodies the brand doesn’t just lead to his or her individual success, it ensures the success of the entire campaign. Aerie, the body-positive female retail brand does an incredible job selecting appropriate influencers. Their spokesmodel, Iskra Lawrence, is known as a body positive activist and aligns perfectly with the brand.

Digital Footprint

The right influencers are able to successfully reach and influence hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of people at once. This influence is created through an engaged social media following, a strategic and unique posting style, and an informed knowledge of the overall digital landscape. Additionally, your product should align with what the influencer typically shares on their social channels, otherwise their followers are going to recognize the branded post as an ad and tune out. You wouldn’t see the woman on the cover of Forbes posting about her paid sponsorship with fitness tea.

Short-Term vs Long-Term Relationships

Many brands work with a variety of influencers on a short term basis, exchanging product and/or compensation for a fixed number of social posts. However, more and more brands are looking to create long-term partnerships with influencers who may become something of a spokesperson. This strategy creates the opportunity for your brand to develop a meaningful relationship and for influencers to generate authentic content over time.

Keep in mind, not all influencers are created equal. Your brand must be selective when choosing which influencers to partner with. Never make the decision solely by looking at an individual’s follower count. Trust me—you won’t get the results you’re looking for. In order to launch a successful influencer campaign, you must take the time to properly vet potential influencers, making the best choice for your brand.

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How can YMC help?

Want to leverage micro influencers on campus but aren’t sure how to get started? Finding the right partner is key to your success. Here at YMC, we’ve been helping brands connect with 15- to 29-year-old consumers for two decades—we’d be happy to share our wealth of knowledge with you. Contact us today!

YouTube Influencers Are Changing the Face of Advertising

Let’s face it: traditional advertising just isn’t cutting it these days. Recent studies show that 96% of consumers prefer the genuine feel and appeal of influencer-generated content versus overt brand-generated content. More than ever before, brands are relying on relatable YouTube influencers to create authentic and engaging content on their social channels in order to stay top-of-mind with consumers.

With the value of print ads and traditional commercials decreasing, YouTube, in particular, has become a prime social platform for Millennial and Gen-Z influencers to share high quality and engaging content. User-generated content on YouTube gets 10 times as many views as videos created directly by brands. In other words, if you’re trying to increase brand awareness, YouTube is a prime medium to do so.

Here are four industries that are using YouTube influencers to change the game:

1. Consumer Goods

In the consumer goods industry, beauty and fashion brands alike are leveraging influencer marketing to help drive sales amid the shift in consumer retail behavior. Consumers most often search YouTube for product reviews and rankings from beauty and fashion gurus, to guide them to the right products.

As an example, watch this sponsored video for Sephora. YouTuber Kristin Johns tells a captivating story and effortlessly weaves Sephora’s latest lip products throughout the video in a subtle, yet effective way. It’s clear from the hundreds of positive comments left on her blog posts that her followers and fans appreciate this creative approach to sponsored content. Consumers also look to more traditional YouTube videos, like product reviews and rankings from beauty and fashion gurus, to guide them to the right product.

YouTube influencers

2. Travel

Millennials and Gen-Z seek travel inspiration from social influencers and are even selecting destinations based on the social content they’ve seen. Content creators use YouTube to share their adventures through cinematic video blogs (vlogs). One look at this vlogger’s trip to Bali and you’re bound to get the travel bug!

Pro tip: Combine branded content with a dreamy destination and watch the views roll in.

YouTube influencers

3. Food

With the rise in vlogging on YouTube, social influencers are sharing more about their lives than ever before—normal, everyday activities like a trip to Target or a coffee date with a friend are all recorded and captured in vlogs. Subscribers are anxious to know everything about their favorite YouTubers, including what they eat! Take this video by Lauren Elizabeth where she shares all of her favorite healthy snacks. Since consumers trust user-generated product reviews 12 times more than a brand’s promotional content, it’s a great time for the food industry to refine their digital marketing strategies.

4. Health & Wellness

Along with the rise of beauty and fashion influencers on YouTube, another huge genre of content revolves around the fitness, health, and wellness industries. Consumers look to fitness influencers not only for workout tips, but also suggestions on workout clothes, health and dietary supplements, and much more.

While we’ve seen a boom in YouTube content across these four industries specifically, any brand that is looking to target Millennials and Gen-Z would benefit from leveraging influencers. Not sure where to start or how to select the right influencer for your brand? Read our tips to find the perfect match.



Want to engage the coveted Millennial and Gen-Z demographics? Finding the right partner is key to your success. Here at YMC, we’ve been helping brands connect with 15- to 29-year-old consumers for two decades—and we’d be happy to share our wealth of knowledge with you. Contact us today!