Influencers — they’re the best thing since sliced bread.

Do you remember the Make a Wish #batkid? You probably saw Miles story via social media influencers, journalists or celebrities sharing on their social media channels. Kristy’s agency spearheaded the #batkid campaign for Make a Wish.

I was able to sit down with Kristy Sammis founder of Clever to do a deep dive into influencer marketing.  Many of the questions we discussed came directly from you.

So here is a little bit about Kristy….

Kristy has successfully managed to turn her bootstrapped venture, Clever, into a multimillion-dollar company. Clever, which Kristy founded in 2009, pairs brands with social media influencers. Today, its network is no joke — Clever Girls reaches 75 million women a month. Kristy’s spent the better part of the last decade translating the amazing aspects of social media– those embodied by the #Batkid phenomenon that CLEVER spearheaded—into business principles: notably, that authenticity rules, “users” are actually human beings, and great stories always win the day. 2016 & 2017, Inc. 5000 has recognized CLEVER as one of America’s Fastest Growing Companies. And this is all in addition to being a mom to her kids — ages 7 and 9.

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In this video discover the answers to questions like:

What are the benefits of running an influencer marketing campaign? And when is the right time to add an influencer to a brand?

Do you foresee any changes in influencer marketing in the upcoming 5 years?

What is the first step to identify and evaluate the right influencer? How do you find them?

What’s the best way to pitch an influencer?

What percentage of your marketing budget should be used when hiring an influencer?

What type of ROI should a business look for? What Are Some Characteristics of a Successful Influencer Marketing Campaign?

And many more.

More answers about influencer marketing

What is an influencer?

 An influencer is someone who has the power to influence the perception of others or gets them to do something different.  Influencers must have a combination of three key factors: reach, contextual credibility and salesmanship. The higher these three factors, the higher the influence potential of an individual. Some examples of influencers include:

Journalists (Barbara Walters)

Academics (Nir Eyal)

Industry Analysts (Jim Cramer)

Professional Advisors (Tony Robins)

Celebrities (Beyonce)

Individual Brand Advocates (Steph Curry for Under Armour)

What is influencer marketing? Why should a business incorporate influencer marketing into their marketing strategy?

When done right, influencer marketing is a quick (and fun) way to make your campaigns more effective in less time. By reaching your target audience through an influencer instead of finding them on your own, people are already engaged and ready to trust and listen to you.

      1. Improve SEO
      2. Expand Brand’s Reach
      3. Increase Social Shares
      4. Boost Reputation
      5. Source of User Generated Content
      6. And of Course Drive Traffic and Sales ( Surveys have found that 74% of consumers identify word-of-mouth as a key influencer in their purchasing decisions.)

Improve SEO: In addition to driving traffic, links can help improve your website’s search rankings and traffic. Working with influencers with high authority websites improves your backlink profile.

Expand your brand’s reach: Partnering with an influencer expands your reach more quickly than some organic methods, since you’re going straight to their already engaged audience, with a personal recommendation to boot.

Increase social shares: When you select influencers carefully look for those with engaged audiences, they’ll also have an audience who will want to share anything involving them.

Boost your reputation: A personal recommendation from someone they trust goes a long way in shaping someone’s opinion. Influencers are highly trusted by their audience, so an endorsement or partnerships can go a long way in building your reputation.

Source user-generated content: By publishing content created by influencers on your site, you’re giving their followers something that interests them, starting the relationship off on solid ground.

Drive traffic: Whether an influencer is promoting you in a website review or in a tweet, including a link back to your website will drive their audience to check out your brand.

Drive sales: Endorsements are also very important for boosting sales. Surveys have found that 74% of consumers identify word-of-mouth as a key influencer in their purchasing decisions.

An influencer campaign can drum up more conversions for a product or offer.

Why use influencer marketing?

In the words of marketing guru Seth Godin,

“People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories, and magic.”

When you look at the stats below, it makes sense why influencer marketing is such a popular tactic to drive sales:

  • When it comes to millennials, only 1% of them trust advertisements. However, 33% of them trust blog reviews for their purchases.
  • Around 40% of people reported that they purchased a product online after seeing it used by an influencer on YouTube, Instagram, or Twitter.
  • 71% of influencers believe that it’s an honest and authentic voice that keeps their audience engaged.
  • According to a study by Tomoson, influencer marketing yields a $6.50 return on investment for every dollar spent.


What does an influencer do exactly?

Collaborate with businesses to create campaigns that increase brand awareness & drive sales by promoting a brand or product to their social audiences, newsletters, or websites.

What Is the Difference Between an Influencer, a Brand Ambassador and a Brand Advocate?


Different standards determine these individuals’ influence, from web-only to celebrity status. Influencers cross multiple platforms and increasingly require a paid arrangement to do business. They:

  • Write about brands they have an affinity for.
  • Protect their personal brand, as that is as important as the brand they choose to represent.
  • Must be a good fit/valuable for both the influencer and the brand.
  • Treat their blogs and other social channels as a business.
  • Work for compensation, meaning brand ambassadorships, money, and product exchange.
  • Have large, engaged followings and, typically, specific areas of expertise.
  • Bring trust/expertise they fight to protect.

Brand ambassadors are influencers hired by brands for long-term relationships. They differ from influencers, who might be used only for a short-term campaign. They are in effect paid spokespeople for the brand.

  • They are given inside knowledge about the brand.
  • They are typically paid on a retainer basis.
  • They are usually an expert that relates to the brand/product.
  • They wear their brand ambassadorship loudly and proudly across their channels.
  • Brand ambassadorships are highly coveted by influencers.

Brand Advocates

Advocates are super fans and brand loyalists who engage with the brand because they truly love it and will take action if asked. They may or may not have a sphere of influence themselves.

What platforms do most influencers use?

 Facebook is the most influential social channel per the results of the survey. 19% of consumer purchase decisions are influenced by Facebook posts.

YouTube seems to be the second most influential social media platform for purchases. 18% of consumers are influenced by YouTube regarding their purchases.

Almost 40% of Twitter users have purchased a product as a direct consequence of an influencer tweet.

Favorite Instagrammers rank at #6 in influencing buying behavior for consumers, per the study.

Instagram seems to be the popular choice for micro-influencers. 80% of them said that they use Instagram to post original content. 59% of micro-influencers have reported it to be the most effective medium for engaging their audiences.


What is a micro influencer?

Some will say it is somebody between 5,000–10,000 followers. Others say it is less than 100,000.

Micro-influencers are focused on a targeted niche, and as noted, often come with the advantage of high audience engagement, since their follower numbers are smaller, and thus, easier for them to engage with more often.

Having smaller audiences also means the cost to compensate them is also generally significantly lower than celebrities and high profile accounts.

What do you need to do before you reach out to an influencer?

Before you even consider reaching out to influencers, you need to have a clear, concise brand message that says who you are, what you’re all about, and what makes you different from the competition.


What is the first step to identify the right influencer?

For an influencer campaign to truly work, first you need to know your audience. The following questions will help you define your target demographic and make finding an effective influencer much easier. So, get out your customer personas

  1. What age is your target customer?
  2. What gender is your target customer?
  3. What social media platform does your target customer use the most?
  4. What type of interests does your target customer have?
  5. What hobbies/jobs are associated with your target customer?
  6. What location is your target customer in?

Make sure the influencer’s audience matches your target audience, then considering potential influencer partners, ask yourself this:

“How would my brand’s message sound coming from [Influencer]?”

To get a sense of the fit between your brand and an influencer, ask yourself these questions:

  1. What is this influencer interested in or passionate about?
  2. Does my brand share their interests or passions?
  3. If not, does my brand relate to the influencer’s interests or passions?

The goal here is to find an influencer who overlaps with what your brand is all about. The better the fit between the influencer and your brand, the more authentic their endorsement will feel. And the more authentic the endorsement feels to the influencer’s audience, the more likely they are to follow that recommendation.

How many influencers should I target?

This really depends on what campaign you are running, but as a rule of thumb between 100-200 influencers is a good starting point, as this is a manageable number and these influencers will, in turn, influence the wider community. 


How do you find micro influencers?

The first place to look is your own “backyard.”

Sift through your social media platforms and your blog. Check and see who’s commenting and sharing your content. Sometimes these people are micro-influencers.

When you do reach out, be sure to be polite and thank them for following you and interacting with your content. Be sure to follow them on their social channels and participate there – they will appreciate your taking notice and being active.

Quality content and integrity are paramount.

What are some types of Influencer Campaigns?

  1. Discount codes and affiliate marketing
  2. Competitions and giveaways.


Image Source: TapInfluence

Do I need to maintain transparency and stay compliant with FTC regulations?

According to Mediakix, more than 90% of endorsements by top social media celebrities fail to comply with the FTC guidelines. This could mean huge fines for a brand. Just look at what is happening with Fyre Festival. 

You need to keep up with the changes in influencer marketing guidelines created by the FTC. You can check out the full list of rules on their official website.

Here are some of the basics you need to remember:

  • Advise influencers to clearly communicate sponsorships in the content they create for your brand.
  • Disclosures should ideally be above the fold so people can immediately see that it’s advertising.
  • Influencers may include “#ad” in their sponsored tweets.
  • The disclosure should be clearly visible, and should not blend in with the background.
  • For videos, the disclosure should remain on the screen long enough for the audience to read it properly.
  • People should be able to see the disclosure regardless of which device they’re using.

One of the easiest ways to disclose the fact that influencers are being compensated to promote your brand is to have them put #sponsored, #ad, or #[brand name] partner in their post.


Instagram took this a step further with their branded content option, which allows you to tag your business partner and will clearly show that it’s a sponsored post.

Tools to use? How to use them in influencer marketing?

The best way to connect with influencers is by establishing a meaningful relationship.


The simplest way to do this is to begin by searching your keyword or phrase (e.g. social media). Choose 5-10 Pages to begin and determine which ones you want to like and keep up with.

Once you click “like,” Facebook will show you more pages that are similar. Take your time to review the content, engagement, and consistency.


Search by topics & follow people. Comment on their posts. You can also message them.


It allows you to easily search for any topic and find the Top 10 Influencers of the last 30 days.


Events: If you are attending an event where influencers are speaking, get a list of speakers from the event website and start engaging with them on social media before the event.

Start sharing their content and engaging with them on social. Send them a connection request on LinkedIn and tell them how excited you are to see them speak.

Then make a point of reaching out to them just before the event. 


To identify influencers in your niche or category

Sam Hurley-

A few handy ways you can use BuzzSumo to find influencers:

  • Sort results by their reply ratio and average retweets, plus highest domain authority if they have a website
  • View the recent links they shared so you get a sense of what interests them
  • Use the advanced search function similar to how you would in Google
  • Click the ‘View Links Shared’ button to see the influencer’s most popular shared content

Use the ‘Content Research‘ tab to gain valuable insights into a topic of your choice, including which posts and topics are performing best. This will also return lots of websites to target for outreach and consequent guest blog and link building opportunities.

Klear To validate the likelihood of getting a reply from your chosen influencers

HYPR this platform also enables you to search for influencers using a certain keyword. But what makes this tool so much better is the detailed analytics it provides you of each influencer.

 Ninja Outreach ticks a lot of boxes, you can search based on keywords and filter down several layers to find the highly specific contacts.

What are some common campaign compensation models?

Here are some of the most common influencer marketing campaign compensation models:

  • Pay Per Post – This is the most commonly-used compensation model according to Linqia. It’s when you pay a flat rate to influencers in exchange for creating and publishing a post for your brand – whether it’s a blog post, a social media post, or even a video.
  • Cost Per Engagement – This is another popular compensation model in influencer marketing. It’s when you pay an agreed upon amount to influencers, based on the level of engagement they’re able to drive.
  • Cost Per Click – This is when you pay influencers a certain amount based on the number of people who took the action after seeing the influencer’s content. The action is typically that of clicking through to the brand’s landing page.
  • Free Products or Experiences – Another popular compensation model, this is when you provide free products or all-expenses-paid trips instead of financial compensation.
  • Cost Per Acquisition – This compensation is among the least used. It’s when you offer compensation in exchange for the sales or subscriptions they’re able to drive.

Quality vs. Quantity: Creating a Content Strategy in 2019 | Melbourne Australia, 2018 Keynote (Influencer marketing 24:33-27:46)

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