Since influencers first emerged on the social media scene, influencer marketing has become big business, and is a great tool for brands to raise awareness and gain exposure.

Collaborations will usually see the influencer produce videos or imagery for their Instagram, Twitter or other social media platforms, promoting a particular product or service. Brands can also upload this content to their own social channels to maximise the partnership as, for consumers, seeing a respected influencer promoting a product can further instil trust in a brand.

Working with influencers is one of the most effective ways for businesses to engage consumers in a product or service and reach demographics that can be difficult to engage through traditional marketing, for example millennials and Gen Z consumers.

As they are not at complete celebrity status, audiences often view influencers as more authentic and relatable than celebrities, and therefore more credible, whilst still boasting a sizable and loyal fanbase. This is backed up by research showing 50 percent of millennials state they trust influencers they follow for product recommendations, compared to only 38 percent who trust their favourite celebrities.

The trust an influencer has with their audience is built over a long period of time, creating a relationship between them which is based on transparency. With a loyal audience in tow, influencers have the ability to expand online reach for brands and establish trust and authority in a way that isn’t always achievable through other means.

However, with all this in mind, influencer marketing campaigns aren’t just about metrics. It is crucial that businesses are selective when choosing influencers to work with and fully audit their audience, the types of products or services they have previously promoted and how they engage with their followers. Although it can be tempting to target influencers just because of their high follower count, brands must ensure the messages individual influencers promote fall in line with their overall brand identity and values.

Brands should view influencer marketing as a long-term investment and shouldn’t expect quick wins, such as a boom in sales off the back of one social media post. Just like building rapport with customers, working with influencers is all about relationships. With the right knowledge and investment, brands can develop strong and lasting partnerships that drive results not just in the short term, but in the long-term too.