Influencer marketing was once a niche form of advertising for brands with big budgets who could afford celebrity endorsements. Over the past decade, influencer marketing has vastly evolved and is no longer reserved for larger businesses. Now, businesses of all sizes and budgets are tapping into the growing influencer marketing industry.

In fact, the investment in influencer marketing continues to rise over the years. In 2021, the total global value of influencer marketing was estimated at $13.8 billion. In 2022 Influencer marketing investment is expected to grow to $15 billion.

And, while influencer marketing continues to grow in popularity, it’s important to consider if this medium is the right fit for your digital marketing strategy. In this post, we’ll provide more context into what exactly influencer marketing entails, how to find the right influencers who align with your products and business size, and what the future holds for influencer marketing.

What is influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is a form of social media marketing that leverages individuals who have a prominent and dedicated base of followers, to promote a business’s products or services. Influencers typically have a specific niche and are seen as experts in that niche by their audience. For example, athlete influencers may endorse and promote athletic shoes or apparel on their social media platforms.

Historically, brands with large budgets would seek out celebrities to promote their products or services due to their extensive reach and recognition. Now, however, regular non-celebrity individuals in a wide variety of niches have curated content to attract and gain enough followers to be considered influential. Their base of followers trusts the opinions of these influencers and their product reviews, which in turn prompts the follower to take action. This might mean clicking a link to learn more or ultimately completing a purchase.

Can influencer marketing work for small brands too?

Different influencers command different payment prices per post. Some influencers are more affordable than others depending on a variety of factors. This has opened up influencer marketing to small businesses with smaller budgets as well.

How do I start influencer marketing?

A successful influencer marketing campaign requires having a solid strategy in place. First, determine the marketing platform you want to promote your product or service on. This will largely depend on your target demographic and where they spend the majority of their time when interacting with social media. For example, 90% of all beauty-related posts in 2020 were published on Instagram, proving to be a highly valuable social media platform for beauty brands.

Your brand will ideally have a presence on the social media platform or platforms your customers are on. If you’re not already on these platforms, look into starting to build an active and consistent presence there.

Selecting the right influencer for your brand

Next, you’ll want to consider the types of content creators that will best benefit your business. Content creators vary in size of reach, specialty, and cost. Just because an influencer has thousands of followers doesn’t necessarily mean they may be the best fit for your brand.

If you aren’t sure of the type of influencer that will provide the most return on investment for you, social listening is a great place to start. Social listening enables you to identify where people are talking about your brand, your industry, and your competitors. You can then use those insights to make better marketing decisions.

In turn, social listening will help you identify the most influential voices in your industry across all social platforms. These are important people to not only connect with, but potentially build mutually beneficial partnerships with for future collaboration. Influencers in your industry can impact how their followers feel about your brand—or your competition.

Types of influencers

As we’ve established, influencers tend to specialize in specific industries. They also have diverse followers. Their audience size will also vary. Below, we will break down the different types of influencers.


Nano-influencers have 10,000 followers or less. Sometimes these influencers will accept free products rather than payment to promote a brand. They are seen as everyday influencers, and may not have a perfectly curated feed. Because of this, they offer a more personalized content experience and may provide more “authentic content” when compared to influencers with more followers.

According to the State of Influencer Marketing, the engagement rate of nano-influencers is twice as high when compared to other groups of influencers. They are more likely to be selective of the products and brands they choose to promote, as they are trying to build their audience and maintain their follower’s trust.


Micro-influencers have between 10,000 to 100,000 followers. While micro-influencers have more followers than nano-influencers, they’re still trying to actively grow their follower base and therefore likely carefully consider the products they promote. With thousands of followers, they are seen as authoritative influencers.

Some micro-influencers may work with a marketing agency to manage their brand partnerships. They’re also less likely to accept free products rather than being paid.


Macro-influencers are typically well-known and widely recognized trendsetters. They can have hundreds of thousands and up to a million followers. This number varies depending on the social media platform.

For example, on Instagram, a macro-influencer will typically have more than 500,000 followers but no more than 1 million. Conversely, on YouTube, they will have between 100,000-1 million average video views.

Macro-influencers are also seen as authoritative influencers, and their influencer marketing efforts are likely managed by an agency. They also demand more money per social post, an online review, or a blog post.

Determine your budget

Your budget will likely determine how often and who you select to promote your products. If you’re a smaller business, for example, you may not be able to select an influencer with millions of followers to promote your product. Instead, you may have to opt for more niche content creators, which doesn’t necessarily equate to less success.

Next, we will discuss how much influencers typically cost to help you determine who will be best to promote your business.

How much do influencers cost?

The cost for influencer marketing largely varies. Some factors that will impact the price an influencer charges include:

  • The influencer’s reach and social engagement
  • The platform (such as YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, etc.)
  • The number of posts you want
  • Celebrity influencer status
  • Agency fees, if applicable
  • Your overall campaign goal

As a general rule of thumb, the more followers an influencer has, the higher their rates will be for any given social media platform. Influencer marketing budgets ultimately will help a business determine how and where it will allocate its financial resources.

Does influencer marketing produce quick results?

Marketers are seeing a substantial return on their influencer marketing endeavors, the top 13% are making $20 or more for every $1 invested. On average, businesses make $6.50 for every $1 invested according to a poll from influencer marketplace Tomoson. Despite these impressive figures, these results aren’t guaranteed to happen immediately.

As with other marketing initiatives, such as content marketing, it can take time to see results. It also takes a few months to establish benchmarks, have trial and error, and produce enough data to analyze performance. Establishing a well-thought-out strategy and identifying the right influencer partners to work with can lead to positive results more quickly.

Before you see results, consider how influencer marketing will affect your business in other ways than your bottom line. For small businesses particularly, the right potential influencers advocating for your brand will help you:

  • Build your authority
  • Establish credibility in your industry
  • Enable you to be seen as a thought leader
  • Exposes you to individuals you may have not been able to reach without the help of an influencer
  • Improves your brand’s own follower count

One of the benefits of influencer marketing is consumers have become accustomed to following influencers to help guide their purchasing decisions. Nearly half of consumers depend on influencer recommendations, and 40% of consumers have purchased something after seeing it on Twitter, YouTube, or Instagram. It’s clear both small and large businesses continue to benefit from this marketing endeavor.

What will influencer marketing look like in 2022 and beyond?

Influencer marketing continues to rapidly evolve and looks different than it did only a few years ago. So too, will influencer strategy change in 2022 and beyond. Consumer behavior shifts occur often, as we’ve seen in just the past two years alone. In the future, shopping preferences, relevant influencers, and influencer content are likely to change to align with consumer behavior.

One facet of influencer marketing that won’t change is the importance of building meaningful and deeper relationships with the end consumer. The more personal your approach to influencer marketing and improving your customer’s experience, the more success will follow.