Influencer Marketing: Not Just for the Big Brands

With social-media influencers making up an ever-increasing part of marketing budgets, maybe it’s time for your company to consider cultivating some influence, too?

Kim Kardashian pitches products to her millions of social media followers. Grumpy Cat promotes everything from toys to Friskies cat food.

Kim and the Cat are influencers who market products for brands that pay them to do it.  And marketing by influencer just happens to be the fastest-growing channel for acquiring customers online. Influencer marketing  is one of the most cost-effective customer-acquisition channels, generating an average of $6.50 in revenue for every $1 spent.

Source: Convince&

The tactic appeals to marketers for a variety of reasons. For one, it avoid the dreaded adblocker that more than one in four Internet users employs.  For another, consumers trust endorsements over traditional  advertising. That’s why, according to eMarketer, 71 percent of companies will increase  — or maintain —  their influencer marketing budget this year.


Can’t afford Kim? No problem

Your company doesn’t have to be a big brand to employ influencer marketing, and you don’t need Kim Kardashian on your payroll.  You can use the latest trend in social media influencers: so-called micro influencers.

Micro-influencers are people who are very credible in that specific sphere, say, woodworking or 3-D printing or gluten-free baking.

With a specific target audience in mind, companies can build an on-going campaign with bloggers who use a product and  give their honest opinions.

Business News Daily reports:  “While it’s certainly not free, tapping into the micro-influencer community can be a more affordable tactic than trying to secure a celebrity endorsement.”

As for effectiveness, recent research found that that influencers with just 1,000 – 10,000 followers — i.e. micro-influences — have a much higher interaction rate than influencers with millions of followers. (Sorry, Kim.)

Source:, Keller Fay Survey Summary

No Hidden Agendas Allowed

The Federal Trade Commission  governs all influencer transactions under the rules on Native Advertising for Businesses.  That means, if you pay or provide free products or services to an influencer, you must disclose that fact clearly and prominently.

Want to find out more about how to reach your customers through  micro-influencers? Let’s talk!

About the Author

Michele Martell is a rare commodity as a community, marketing and legal strategist and implementer. Michele provides business strategy and implementation as an experienced legal, marketing and business executive. She leads digital marketing and social media programs for Internet of Things clients and other technology companies. With a background in entertainment and edtech as well as intellectual property law and a focus on innovative storytelling for every screen, Michele has been part of the executive management teams for The Jim Henson Company, Cinedigm Entertainment, SD Entertainment as well as WWE. She can be found tweeting at Austin music shows, food festivals and edtech events or speaking on panels at SXSW on virtual reality issues.

Michele is on the Development Council for the Denius-Sams Gaming Academy at the University of Texas, at Austin. Michele was a 2013 nominee for the Women in Toys Wonder Woman Award, and serves on the WiT Legal Committee. Michele obtained her JD from UCLA School of Law, and her undergraduate degree from Pomona College.