PR Under the Influence: Why Influencer Marketing is all the Buzz


Influencer marketing is the modern day version of word-of-mouth marketing.

influencer marketing comic strip

If PR owned a bar, influencer marketing would be the featured drink with a high rating of a 81% ROI. It’s the latest buzzworthy addition to the digital marketing world where brands are driving consumers under the influence to Twitter parties, Facebook chats, Google+ Hangouts, Blab live conferencing, Instagram hashtags, and Snapchat stories.

Influencer marketing is quickly gaining traction among many brands and businesses as a way to promote products and services thought influencers. What is an influencer, you might wonder? We caught up with Danielle Wiley, CEO of Sway Group, and Allie Freeland, Marketing Consultant and Principal Owner of AGF Communications, to get the latest on this Social PR trend.

What Is Influencer Marketing?

The first thing you need to know about influencer marketing is, naturally, who is considered an influencer. Well, according to Allie Freeland and Lisa Buyer in their Marketing Influencer Webinar, influencers are people who carry high social clout and credibility. The have an extraordinary ability to sway opinions in their favor.

Influencer marketing taps into the social megaphone of high-profile industry experts to carry your brand’s message. They are the ultimate connection between your brand and a consumer. To explain it more in layman’s terms, brands often seek out influencers using the formula RRR (Reach, Relevance, and Resonance) to promote their brand in exchange for financial reward or exposure.

influencer marketing example of brand ambassador lululemon

Influencer marketing can take the shape of sponsored blog posts; brand ambassadors; social influence programs such as Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat; or branded entertainment on platforms such as Vine and Youtube.

A case in point example of influencer marketing in action is the company Lululemon, known for their athletic clothing and attire. As Lisa tells us, that company often skims through their own online reviews to find customers who are enthusiastic and passionate about their products. If the consumer has a large social reach, such as owning a CrossFit studio, Lululemon may make an offer to them to become a brand ambassador. The CrossFit studio owner, for example, will share about his or her positive experiences with the brand while the studio gets exposure by Lululemon. Clearly, it’s a win-win relationship.

Why Is Influencer Marketing Effective?

Danielle Wiley knows better than most why influencer marketing has become so increasingly popular over the years. When Danielle realized that companies were spending too many hours and fees looking for influencers and influencers didn’t want to handle the business aspect of the arrangement, an idea was formed.

Her company, Sway Group, was created for the sole purpose of providing a “middle man” between companies and influencers. Danielle has first-hand knowledge seeing the positive benefits in influencer marketing between her own clients.

Danielle says that influencer marketing is effective because the relationship is two-fold—that is, it “gives brands reach within their target demographics and an influencer holds a lot more weight and trust for products.” The belief is that influencers will not agree to endorse or promote a product they personally don’t believe in.

Other alluring perks of influencer marketing include:

  • Cost Effective: Marketers who implemented an influencer marketing campaign earned an average of $6.85 in media value for every $1 they spent on paid media.

  • High ROI: 81% of marketers say influencer marketing is effective.

  • Gaining Consumers Trust: 92% of consumers trust recommendations from personal connections, while only 33% trust ads.

  • Has Mass Popularity: 74% of all marketers plan to use influencer marketing this year.

Formula for Influencer Marketing?

So, now you know what influencer marketing is and why it works—all that’s left is for you learn how to implement it yourself! We’re going to give you a
brief guide to success to begin your journey. It’s important to remember that influencer marketing is about social credibility:

  • Plan: Define the relationship, define your goals/KPIs, and define your budget.

  • Identify: Reach, Relevance, and Resonance: How many followers does the influencer have? Is it relevant to your topic? Does their message resonate with their intended audience?

  • Recruit: Make sure to utilize your pitch in your email. Use your best PR strategies to communicate and recruit influencers! (Make sure to check out the  to see exactly how you should structure your pitch email!)

  • Maximize Value: Remember that your goal is a long term relationship! Build trust and maximize the benefits for both parties!

influencer marketing birchbox

Companies tapping into influencer marketing include:

  • TubeHeroes

  • Lululemon

  • Sway Group

  • Birchbox

  • Mercedes Benz



Other important tips to consider are remembering to find a platform where your demographic is. Also, if you’re a blogger looking to find and build a relationship with a company, Danielle says to remember to post more vertical content, jump in and find other people doing something similar, ask questions, and get engaged!

Get started with these influencer marketing tools and resources:


If you want more in-depth information on becoming an influencer marketing master, watch the with Danielle Wiley and the Influencer Marketing ! Also, check out our Influencer Marketing Workbook, written by Allie Freeland.

Is influencer marketing part of your Social PR strategy? Tell us about it.


Comic Strip Source: The Buyer Group
Image Source: Webinar Influencer Marketing, BirchBox, Lululemon Blog


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