The complete guide to
Influencer Marketing

  6 chapters    40 min read

A guide by

Frederik Vincx

Frederik Vincx
founder of PR CRM Prezly

Sam Golden

Sam Golden
strategist at Augur

The phrase Influencer Marketing is cropping up more often than ever. The concept of creating relationships with those who have the ability, authority or platform to influence a certain audience has evolved wildly over the last ten years.

When scouring the web we saw plenty of experts and information out there, but nobody had joined the dots. Nobody had written the definitive influencer book. No-one had made sense of it all.

It was like seeing all the ingredients to bake an incredible cake but nobody had put it in the oven.

So we decided to mix up these ingredients and spice it up with interviews from some of the best in the industry.

This guide looks at influencer marketing through the eyes of brands, marketers and PR professionals to identify the key themes around exerting influence, regardless of channel, medium or even message.

7 experts contributed to this guide

Here's how they define influencer marketing

Stephen Waddington

From a PR perspective, Influencer Marketing is the shift in recognising there are new ways to reach your audience or publics. Traditionally that used to be high net worth individuals or journalists and now it can be anyone with their own network or media of their own.

Stephen Waddington, Chief Engagement Officer, Ketchum

Brian Solis

The ability to cause effect, change behaviour and drive measurable outcomes online

Brian Solis, Digital Marketing Analyst and anthropologist

Philip Sheldrake

Influencer Marketing is a systematic approach to influencing and being influenced

Philip Sheldrake, Euler Partners

Kyle Wong

Influencer marketing can be loosely defined as a form of marketing that identifies and targets individuals with influence over potential buyers.

Kyle Wong, Forbes + Pixlee

Kimberlee Morisson

Influencer marketing is when marketers leverage the power of top social media influencers to connect with audiences on social networks.

Kimberlee Morrison, Freelance Journalist and contributor to Ad Week

Deirdre Breakenridge

I look at it as ‘influence equals action’. It’s knowing there’s individuals that come in all different shapes and sizes, everyone from your own customers to bloggers, twitter personalities, LinkedIn power-users, analysts and experts who are able to move the needle for you.

Deirdre Breakenridge, Pure Performance Communications

Nicolas Chabot

The voices of the internet are extremely unequal, It’s not a fair world. Some people have much more of a voice than others. Influencer Marketing is about understanding who these people are and having special influencer marketing programs in place to engage with the people who drive the most impact

Nicolas Chabot, Traackr

All sound familiar?
It should be.

Influencer marketing is something that has been happening for decades without the trendy name. The difference is ‘influencers’ were traditionally journalists at major media outlets or powerful people in society.

Now things have changed and now anyone with an audience or platform can be an influencer, from your mother and her friends to the bedroom blogger writing about makeup.

Within any community on the web there will be 1 to 3 per cent of people creating the content, up to 20 per cent involved in the conversation around that and the remainder simply consume the media. That applies to almost all forms of media and networks, from print and broadcast to networks like Twitter.

Stephen Waddington
Stephen Waddington,
Chief Engagement Officer, Ketchum

Essentially, influencer marketing is the concept of creating relationships which are mutually beneficial to both brand and influencer. Tweet this

The influencer receives something in return for the brand borrowing the social capital they possess. And social capital converts, in fact AdWeek reports 92 per cent of consumers trust recommendations from other people, even strangers, over branded content.

Branding and digital strategy expert, Minter Dial calls this concept of social capital, WIIFM (What’s in it for me). Influencer Marketing shouldn’t be about using others to your advantage it should be about creating common value between individuals and brand. By demonstrating value to your influencers they will give support and affiliation in return.

Now, let’s start at the beginning...

Outline your aims

The first thing to consider in any influencer marketing campaign is understanding why your organisation exists, what it's trying to achieve, and what it stands for. Absent this, and you've yet to influence yourselves appropriately let alone others.

Philip Sheldrake
Philip Sheldrake
Chartered Engineer, Author and Managing Partner of Euler Partners

It’s important to ensure a strong strategy is in place for every step of your influencer marketing program. Stephen Waddington, Chief Engagement Officer at Ketchum, told us “You’ve really got to go right back to basics from a planning point of view. Whatever you’re trying to sell.”

To distil this notion here are five questions you should be asking when planning every campaign. In the rest of this guide we’ll be exploring how you set about answering them and recommend the tools to do the job.

At the end of each section we’ll illustrate how each step can be be put into practice using the experiences of Egon Tusk, Marketing Director of fictitious automotive company ‘Prezla’.

Keep your eyes on the prize

Having the end result in mind when developing a influencer marketing program is imperative. Without a clear goal you’ll find yourself overwhelmed by the opportunities ahead of you. Deirdre Breakenridge, Pure Performance Communications shared this list of a few potential outcomes to consider when planning an influencer marketing programme:

  • Increased awareness and exposure
  • Lead generation and sales
  • Engagement around something specific like an ebook launch or event
  • Driving a change of opinion on a certain topic within a community

It’s essential to focus on the elements of the campaign that match up with your most important objective. We spoke to Digital Marketing analyst and anthropologist Brian Solis who shared a research report with us where he explains it like this:

If brand lift or awareness is the desired outcome, recruiting individuals who are popular, or have earned affinity or goodwill, will do the job. If the result is to entice voting in a particular direction or attempting to establish thought leadership, individuals who possess authority or trustworthiness become instrumental in steering potential outcomes.

Brian Solis
Brian Solis
Digital Marketing Analyst and anthropologist

Over at our fictitious car company Prezla, Egon Tusk is putting the finishing touches to his strategy document. The goal is clear - raise awareness of Prezla’s new honey powered engine that makes driving a more environmentally friendly experience.

Egon sets up a microsite to promote the engine and ensures analytics is installed. He will measure the success of the campaign through a combination of increasing traffic to the site, the amount of social shares and an uptake in inquiries for prototypes.

So without further ado, here’s how to engineer an influencer marketing campaign that works. Tweet this

Chapter 1


How do you find your audiences and influencers? And where are they?

 3 min read

If you’re looking for greater exposure and awareness you’re going to look for the folks who have the biggest networks, those people who when they speak others will tend to amplify.

Deirdre Breakenridge
Deirdre Breakenridge,
Pure Performance Communications

Once you’ve defined the objectives of your campaign you should have a clear idea of the audience you want to reach. Now it’s about identifying where these communities exist and understanding who is influencing them.

There are influencers in every community around every topic. I haven’t yet come across a vertical or a topic that isn’t the case. Whether you’re selling a high fashion good, a car or anything in between firstly you need to find where these communities are and identify the people that influence them.

Deirdre Breakenridge
Stephen Waddington,
Chief Engagement Officer, Ketchum

So start by thinking about who you want to reach. Whether it’s DIY enthusiasts or IT decision makers the principle stays the same. With careful research it’s possible to identify the top influencers in these communities who have the reach to amplify your message. Starting points to this research include:

  • A simple Google search
  • A scan of popular forums on the topic
  • Crawling social media sites
  • Tools like Traackr or BlueNod that we’ll discuss in more detail later
  • Asking other key influencers for recommendations

Once you’ve identified your audience it’s time to find the people that are influencing them. Focus on the most active members of these communities and who they are referencing. You should soon start seeing these communities as a network of individuals with your influencers at the centre.

Visualisation of influencers as shown by Bluenod

Visualisation of influencers as shown by Bluenod

It may seem obvious but Nicolas Chabot, Head of Europe at influencer identification tool Traackr told us it is one the areas often overlooked by brands.

What is the audience you’re targeting? It’s surprising how this simple question sometimes struggles to get an answer. If the answer is ‘I just want to go viral’ that’s no good. You must know what you want and define a strategic objective to achieve it. Once you’ve defined the objective for your brand, you need to decide what your influencers will get out of it. Creating value for the influencer is the biggest challenge for brands engaging in influencer marketing

Nicolas Chabot
Nicolas Chabot
Head of Europe, Traackr

Over at Prezla, Egon Tusk has his team have identified the key influencers in eco friendly engineering by carefully scouring the web, asking industry contacts and using tools like Traackr. They now have a list of 25 key influencers including big bloggers, traditional media, industry analysts and vocal thought leaders speaking at conferences and on social.

The next step is to take a look at what these influencers are sharing and how Prezla can connect with them...

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Chapter 2


How do these influencers communicate?
What content do they share?

 5 min read

Once you’ve identified who your influencers are the next step is analysing what will engage them.

Many of the experts we spoke to explained the origins of Influencer Marketing lay in areas like luxury goods, music and fashion. Now, with the internet creating niche communities on almost every topic, an influencer marketing campaign can be applied to any vertical.

Influencer marketing relies on content and on engagement. So it naturally works well for industries that generate a lot of content and has a lot of engagement, like fashion. It’s easy in those industries. The brands that face a challenge with influencer marketing are the ones that struggle to connect with their customers.

Stephen Waddington
Nicolas Chabot
Head of Europe, Traackr

The type of content you take to your influencers should be informed by how your influencers are already communicating. Are they sharing tips, stats, images or articles? Are they finding this content in forums, on social, in comment sections or at physical events? Find the common themes and decide on a mix of channel and content best suited to your objectives.

If you're in business, you're in the business of influence. Period. Saying that, influencer marketing technologies and services are typically applied in situations where there are very many individuals to interact with.

Philip Sheldrake Waddington
Philip Sheldrake
Chartered Engineer, Author and Managing Partner of Euler Partners

Don’t forget physical channels when you’re doing this. Inviting people to events and sharing a conversation in real life or over the phone can be a key element in influencer relations. According to our experts this is particularly pertinent when working in B2B sectors where events and relationships are very important ways to drive a relationship.

The next question to ask yourself is “What conversation can my brand legitimately be a part of?” Authenticity is key. If it doesn’t feel natural to be talking about something then don’t do it. It’ll be apparent your influencers, who may be more than happy to name and shame you - leaving your brand with even less social currency than when you began.

Once you’ve identified your audience and the platforms they communicate on now you need to decide on what to offer these influencers. What can you offer that is genuinely beneficial? Ideas suggested by our experts include:

  • Interesting content for your influencers channel
  • Affiliation or recognition
  • Giveaways
  • Products or samples
  • Invites to unique experiences

Even in niche B2B industries content can be created and connections can be made. Stephen Waddington used a project he worked on as an example telling us his team identified there were only 12 people in the world influential in an area of engine design and they successfully reached them using traditional means. B2B influencer marketing in action: and not a social media tactic in sight.

Influencer marketing previously depended largely on the power of blogs. But visual media platforms are giving rise to a new generation of influencers. YouTube is a particularly powerful platform, especially with people are searching for so much educational content.

Kimberlee Morisson
Kimberlee Morrison
Freelance Journalist and writer for Ad Week

At Prezla the team set about analysing each of their influencers activity online and offline to figure out whether the are the kind of person to share images on social, speak at events or write articles on environmentally friendly engineering.

One blogger with a huge social following writes about upcoming developments in eco engineering. He has tweeted looking for performance stats for the top engines so Egon sets about finding these stats to share with the blogger. In return Egon hopes the blogger will be interested in hearing more about Prezla’s new engine...

Chapter 3


How can your brand join these conversations in an authentic manner?

 5 min read

Remember creating relationships doesn’t happen overnight. Imagine if you proposed on the night of your first kiss. Probably a bit too much, a bit too soon. Integrity, honesty and patience are key to building any relationship whether personal or professional.

Brian Solis advises starting off an influencer marketing program with a pilot campaign.

Before reaching out to anyone, develop a list of pros and cons for each authority based on their work or activity to date to qualify a core set of individuals who are likely to become part of a pilot campaign. The individuals you choose should offer a notable balance of reach, reputation, relevance, and resonance.

Brian Solis
Brian Solis
Digital Marketing Analyst and anthropologist

Start by contacting these initial influencers using plain and clear language briefly introducing you and your business. Explain why you have contacted them and highlight how what you’re sharing will bring benefits to them. Remember the concept of borrowing ‘social capital’, it all depends on being able to offer your influencers something in return. This has to be a mutually beneficial relationship.

At Prezla motors, Egon’s email starts to take shape...

Email pitch example

Of course we have to achieve our goals and objectives but once we identify our influencers and we figure out and what they’re about, the next questions to ask are ‘What do they like to do? What would make their lives easier?’ Just knowing what your influencers like to do and how they like to share that’s going to shape your program in a much better way.

Deirdre Breakenridge
Deirdre Breakenridge
Pure Performance Communications

As Deidre highlights it is incredibly important to understand your influencers and what they like to share on the web. You can then tailor your content to suit. In the case of our fictional car company, Prezla, the team identify the automotive influencers that like to tweet concept images, compare statistics and attend exclusive events, so they start preparing collateral to be able to offer this.

Remember each approach should be different. Try to tailor your content and the way you present it for each influencer you engage. Research from Hanley-Wood Business Media found an incredible 78% of consumers felt that brands that create unique and personalised content are more interested in building a true relationship with them.

When I’m developing an Influencer Marketing campaign I tend to look at all different types of influencers in the space and include a mix of the the ones who like to participate in webinars, take part speaking opportunities or accept content for their site. If you truly understand your influencers it is easier to engage with them

Deirdre Breakenridge
Deirdre Breakenridge
Pure Performance Communications

Treat this outreach as an ongoing conversation. There’s no end result, just closer connections built over time. During your outreach you should be keeping track of your interactions with influencers in a CRM style system and ranking them by the level of engagement with your brand. Here’s an example of how you might do this:

  1. The starting point before your influencers knows about you or your brand
  2. Initial contact, when you’ve reached out but haven’t yet received a reply
  3. Your influencer acknowledges they’ve received your message
  4. Your influencer starts asking interesting questions
  5. Your influencer amplifies a message you’ve shared
  6. Your influencer turns into an advocate by supporting you without a prompt

The turning point is at level 3 when your influencers start asking interesting questions. This shows they are engaged and interested with what you have to say. This is the beginning of building a real relationship.

Egon Tusk at Prezla gets a reply from the automotive blogger who he contacted thanking for the stats and asking for information and a demo of Prezla’s new engine. Egon updates his CRM and starts setting up the demo.

Chapter 4


What tools can you use to carry out your campaign?

 3 min read

You wouldn’t chop down a tree with a butter knife or cut toast with a chainsaw.

Having the right tools to develop and deliver a successful influencer marketing strategy is just as important.

There are a plethora of third party tools out there that can help with every step of the journey. Below we’ve outlined the top tools to identify, interact and measure that came recommended again and again.




Traackr helps you manage all your influencer relationships in one place.



A simple way to visualize Twitter communities and find influencers.




We can’t resist blowing our own horn. Use Prezly to publish your stories and reach out to influencers.



Your personal browser for staying in touch with what's happening on Twitter.




Monitors, translate, and perform text analytics in over 70 languages.



Get a quick overview of what content is working well in your network.

140 Public Relations tools

For more third party tools to plan, deploy and measure your campaigns check out our guide to PR tools, which includes over 140 tools.

Chapter 5


How can you measure the impact on your business?

 3 min read

Measuring this impact of influence is an area of much debate. It is a challenge that many agencies and technology vendors are racing to solve. But before looking at how we measure the impact of influencers we have to ascertain what we are measuring. Tweet this

Measurement is an action – intentional, purposive, subjectively meaningful. Sensing is behavioural – automatic and reflexive. Don't measure what you can, but rather what you should ... those things relating to the outcomes that are important to your business success.

Philip Sheldrake
Philip Sheldrake
Chartered Engineer, Author and Managing Partner of Euler Partners

If you’re not sure what you should be measuring by this point it might be too late. The measurable impact on your business must be outlined at the beginning of your campaign. While there are so many potential outcomes from an Influencer Marketing campaign these are some of the most common:

  • Increase in brand mentions across the web
  • More mentions of your brand during conversations on social
  • A shift in brand sentiment or trends
  • Higher levels of traffic to your website or platform promoting the campaign
  • An increase in sales or downloads

How do we practically measure some of these elements though? Deirdre Breakenridge highlighted the importance of creating a central landing page where you can track traffic and top sources of referrals. This will help you identify which influencers are really making an impact.

Everything you’re sharing should in someway link back to a landing page. Your best bet is to always have something clickable so you can use Google Analytics to see where the traffic comes from and who is driving it.

Deirdre Breakenridge
Deirdre Breakenridge
Pure Performance Communications

Brian Solis notes that it’s important not to measure the impact of a campaign on so-called ‘social scores’ alone. Sites like Klout and Kred can be useful in setting a benchmark to improve on but they don’t link specifically back to real business objectives.

Aligning your brand with people who have notable scores is one thing. Aligning with connected consumers to accomplish something specific delivers measurable results.

Influencer marketing specialist Brian Solis
Brian Solis
Digital Marketing Analyst and anthropologist

Every influencer marketing campaign can be measured in a variety of ways, and every outcome will be different. The important thing to understand is building relationships is a gradual process and the impact can take time to come through. Always keep your eye on the prize and measure every outcomes in relation to your business objectives. You can find out more information on measuring outcomes using Google goals in this insightful article from Rich Leigh.

In the next section we’ll explore how brands around the world have successfully carried out influencer marketing campaigns and look at what they measured to demonstrate the true power of influence.

Chapter 6


Influencer Marketing campaigns that delivered

 5 min read

From our own research and the recommendations of others, here are some examples of how brands have achieved their objectives through well engineered influencer marketing campaigns.

From the widest ranging consumer campaigns to niche B2B, here’s some examples of the power of influencer marketing.

Valvoline logo for influencer marketing guide

Under the Hood: the Spirit of DIY

The aim: Increase brand awareness to the industry and DIY enthusiasts

The campaign: Valvovine worked with PR agency Cohn & Wolfe to identify influencers in the automotive and DIY industry. These influencers included amateur races, writers and people like Tim Odell of Hooniverse, a popular automotive blog.

By offering these influencer the opportunity to showcase their cars in a well produced video, Valvoline were able to create content that would be shared by these influencers and amplified by their audience.

The results: The video series was uploaded on Valvoline’s Youtube channel with links to their main site in the description, it was then shared with the influencers involved who then went on to share it across social media to the wider the DIY and automotive community. The series now has over 25,000 views and still growing.

British Airways logo


The aim: Associate British Airways with some of the smartest minds in the world and highlight how the power of flight brings people together.

The campaign: British Airways chartered a private flight from San Francisco to London that was luxurious and exclusive. They then reached out to some of the leaders in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) offering them a free flight and the opportunity to give back to the community through sharing their thoughts with others on how to tap into global talent.

The outreach brought together some of the planet’s smartest minds for the flight including executives from IBM and Google alongside academics and world class VC firms such as Andreessen Horowitz. During the flight the team were tasked to come up with concepts on how to address the challenges of accessing global talent.

The results: The group developed 22 concepts to help people with STEM skills find opportunities to make use of their talents and showcase their skills. The winning concepts from the campaign were presented to the United Nations ITU committee as plans to drive global innovation. The inflight influencers also tweeted about their experiences to thousands of followers and the the resulting presentations generated pieces of media coverage around the world.

Estée Lauder logo


The aim: Highlight the emotional appeal of the La Mer brand

The campaign: The #EyesLightUp campaign allowed users to create a photo mosaic of things in their life that make their eyes light up and share these stylish images on instagram and twitter.

The team approached high profile models and actors and hired them to appear in a series of videos explaining their own “Illuminating Moments”. These well produced and artistic videos were shared by these influencers using the #EyesLightUp hashtag this amplified the campaign and allowed it to reach the right kind of audiences across social media.

The results: By combining endorsement from celebrity fans of the brand with amplification from engaged consumers, Estee Lauder connected to a wide audience to the La Mer, Illuminating Eye Gel leading to 100’s of social shares in the first few days after launch.

Influencer Marketing isn’t just for big business like our examples show, small businesses can take advantage of the technique just as efficiently. Aubre Andrus, at Contently offers this advice: “Don’t think big—think small. Thanks to the Internet, your reach is endless. But there is a very specific group you should be targeting.”

What's next?

Over the course of talking to our range of experts on PR and Marketing it quickly emerged there were two key areas where Influencer Marketing was expected to evolve and grow and both came down to integration.

Integration of marketing silos

Too many organisations approach influencer marketing as a bolt-on rather than a build-in. Rather than addressing all Six Influence Flows, many marketing teams continue to focus on simply getting the message out (the 1st flow).”

Philip Sheldrake – influencer marketing specialist
Philip Sheldrake
Chartered Engineer, Author and Managing Partner of Euler Partners

The blurring boundaries of marketing is an area that has been discussed at length but it seemed apparent to our experts that Influencer Marketing was an area that didn’t just cross boundaries into other marketing disciplines, it was actually helping build a bridge between them. It is essential that these silos are broken down and information is shared across every area of the business. This can lead to an increase in efficiency and a better understanding of your customer.

For the brunt of brands who have started working on Influencer Marketing the next step for them will be integrating this across the rest of their marketing functions. What we are finding with some of our most advanced clients is that their influencer marketing practice is relevant to every other area of marketing; performance marketing, social media, corporate communications, product comms and even customer relationship management.

Nicolas Chabot
Nicolas Chabot
Head of Europe, Traackr

Integration of marketing tools

Technology is invading marketing. Brands are asking how they build bridges between all of these technologies. From our conversations with industry experts it was clear that no one tool could be the best at every area of influencer Marketing but instead market leaders were focusing on how to keep information consistent across every platform by allowing integration of different tools and ensuring it all feeds back into a central database.

The blurring boundaries of marketing is an area that has been discussed at length but it seemed apparent to our experts that Influencer Marketing was an area that didn’t just cross boundaries into other marketing disciplines, it was actually helping build a bridge between them. It is essential that these silos are broken down and information is shared across every area of the business. This can lead to an increase in efficiency and a better understanding of your customer.

There’s a whole class of tools emerging around CRM, to help manage how you build relationships with not just influencers but members of a community and how you do that to scale. We’ve got to make the connection between the relationships brands have with customers on social networks and traditional data systems

Stephen Waddington
Stephen Waddington
Chief Engagement Officer, Ketchum

This is just the beginning

Influencer Marketing is one of the first steps to becoming what Philip Sheldrake describes as a social business, it’s about aiding everyone associated with your organisation all the way from employees and shareholders through to suppliers and customers. By building worthwhile relationships with each other each party continues to help the others to build on shared values and shared success.

As for Egon Tusk over at Prezla Motors? By following our guide and building valuable relationships with the most influential people in the industry, the campaign to promote the honey powered engine is a sweet success, the influencers amplify the message to their audience and requests for prototypes start rolling in. At the end of the day it all comes down to understanding, engaging with authenticity and offering mutual benefits.

So what are you waiting for? Head back to section one and start planning your influencer marketing campaign today.

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A guide by Prezly, the PR CRM

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