Influencer marketing seems to be all the rage among brands today, and for good reason. Influencers are aptly named because they have exactly that: influence over consumer decisions. In an environment in which consumers have low levels of trust, following influencers often helps them make decisions on purchases similarly to how they would base a purchase off the recommendation of a friend.

An influencer builds his or her career by promoting products or services online, usually on social media. By integrating these products into daily life and taking appealing photos or videos, an influencer accomplishes more than what straight, traditional advertising may otherwise be able to do.

Often, an influencer will sign a contract with a brand to promote products in exchange for product or monetary compensation. By promoting through appropriate influencers, a brand can reach new potential customers and harness the power of social media to bring their brand to a new level of exposure.

But is influencer marketing the right solution for every business? Perhaps not, so the decision to work with an influencer or an influencer agency should come after some dedicated research and qualifying questions.

Brand exposure is perhaps one of the most effective metrics to measure when it comes to using influencers in a marketing strategy. By establishing metrics that can be tracked, such as reach on posts, follower counts, or visits to a UTM link, a brand can measure the effectiveness of an influencer campaign. But it’s important to decide ahead of time what’s important and what will be quantified.

If a brand is newer to a space or has a newer product to promote, perhaps doing a round of influencer marketing is a viable solution. Influencers have different niches and numbers of followers, so selecting the right influencer for the right target demographic is also important.

For example, a brand selling health supplements would likely not find much success with an influencer dedicated to promoting travel, and vice versa. It can be tempting to only look at the hundreds of thousands of followers an influencer has and base a decision off of that alone, but this brings a risk of a message falling on deaf ears.

Another factor to keep in mind here is that of authenticity. Not all influencers are created equal, and sometimes the content does not reflect the level of genuine buy-in that brands desire. Of course, this isn’t what’s important to every brand, so again the question must be asked of what matters most to this specific brand. Many customers crave authentic connections online, which is an area in which influencers are particularly strong. Content published by influencers can often be viewed as more genuine, less advertorial — but make sure to do a pre-check of the content an influencer publishes before making a decision.

Working with influencers can pay off in a big way for a brand seeking exposure or brand visibility. It’s important to remember that every influencer is a bit different, and going in with a clear strategy with measurable KPIs will help answer the question of whether or not influencer marketing is the right answer for your brand.

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Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 20 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth, overseeing more than 175 professionals in the company's headquarters in midtown Manhattan. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named "PR Agency of the Year" by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions. Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world's most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, and a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, was named to PR Week's "40 under Forty" list, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations" is an industry best-seller. A NYC native, Torossian lives in Manhattan with his children. He is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities.