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How to Win Friends and Influence Millions: The Rules of Influencer Marketing

Hal Conick

Influencer marketing is potent and ascendant, growing stronger each year. How can marketers work with influencers while avoiding the miscues, failures and controversies that have marred other brands?​​

​Under the sunlight of social media, few strategies have blossomed like influencer marketing. But when used errantly, few strategies have the same capability to quickly wilt a brand. 

Influencer marketing is built to win consumer trust, especially when compared with traditional online ads. Consumers are blind at best and irritated at worst by pre-roll, pop-up and banner ads. Influencer marketing is less intrusive and more flexible than traditional online ads; it can be small and quiet, big and booming or somewhere in between. An influencer can be a teenage girl posting about her favorite hamburger joint to make a few bucks, or it can be reality star Kim Kardashian posting about a clothing line to make $500,000. Whether teenager or celebrity, influencers create and post ad-supported content to their own accounts, bypassing ad blockers and potentially popping into millions of social media feeds. Followers can block or unfollow individual influencers, but there’s no ad blocker for influencers as there is for traditional ads.

But marketers see influencers as more than just a means to bypass ad blockers: They see influencers as a chance to engage with a new generation of consumers, people who have always had the option to skip, ignore or completely avoid ads.

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Hal Conick is a freelance writer for the AMA’s magazines and e-newsletters. He can be reached at halconick@gmail.com or on Twitter at @HalConick.