by Nicola Renshaw | Managing Director, Renshaw Communications | May 08, 2017 We are all familiar with celebrity endorsements and brands working with personalities to promote or recommend their product – this concept is nothing new. But social media has changed the playing field in this space. Social media has paved the way for a new kind of influencer – after all these days anyone with an iphone can say they’re an influencer – right?! And from cooking to car mechanics there’s of course now an influencer for every specialist area. But how do you make the right choices when working with influencers? Do you just look at follower numbers? And is success based on number of likes? Exposure for brands who engage with influencers needs to be more than just being part of the ‘cool crowd’ at school simply because they are popular. Brands that cleverly choose the right influencer and work in partnership with them will create association and this is the key. It’s not about the number of followers a particular influencer may have or who their already working with, or how styled their imagery is – it’s about an influencer having an authentic relationship with their audience who in turn trust them and truly are influenced by what they say. Such targeted exposure to the right kind of consumer, one who is already interested and therefore will more than likely pay attention to your brand is the ultimate goal for influencer marketing and done well will reap many rewards – and not just for bigger brands. Consumers these days are also way more media savvy than they used to be. How many of us actually watch commercials these days whilst watching our favourite drama on TV? (if indeed anyone actually even watches live TV?) If we do, then an ad break is a chance to take out your phone and add a few things to your shopping basket, scroll through Instagram or casually glance at the latest properties on the market. However, as TV advertising becomes background noise the opportunities for influencer lead advertising via social media are huge. OK so a consumer has chosen to follow a particular influencer but they are still seeing advertising – the difference is because the influencer is staying true to their voice and make the brands they are working with part of their personal story, consumers feel they can more readily trust influencers. The term influencer marketing really is just the beginning. It will evolve to where personal brands open doors of possibilities to those trying to engage with an audience. So whilst some brands are still engaging with influencers based on numbers and followers, the clever brands collaborate with influencers to encourage authenticity and interactions and how to creatively get the most out of their influencers whilst integrating their activities with the rest of their marketing channels. Want to learn more about the world of influencer marketing? The IDM offers a great one day course where you will gain a greater insight into the growing importance of influencer marketing and how to effectively implement a strategy.