The Secret Sauce: How Influencers Play a Key Role in Video Marketing


As the internet is getting flooded with content, people are turning to familiar faces to tell them where to look. It is becoming increasingly difficult for businesses and personal brands to break through to a large audience without a familiar face putting them on.

This article covers the role of influencers in video marketing by highlighting the importance of familiarity. By the end of this post, you’ll understand how to pick the right influencer to expand your audience and how to engineer your message to be persuasive enough to generate real sales. Finally, you’ll get our influencer video marketing cheat sheet towards the end!

Golden Tip: Use ContentFries to multiply one video of an influencer using your product into dozens of clips for all social media platforms.


Mere Exposure, Familiarity, And Likability Bias

The internet's crowded, and while there are millions of content creators, most get very few views. There's a Pareto distribution of sorts where the top 1% of the influencers get over 90% of the views while the rest are left fighting for crumbs.

If you don’t want to be obscure on the internet, you need to remember this: Familiarity is the way in.

  • MrBeast – One of the videos that blew up MrBeast on YouTube was saying Logan Paul 100,000 times.

  • Jordan Peterson – Peterson reached the peak of his fame after appearing on Joe Rogan’s podcast, the Joe Rogan Experience.

  • Kai Cenat – The world's most followed streamer at one point, Cenat's initial claim to fame was reacting to trending content.

In each case, an unfamiliar creator grew on an audience by leveraging a familiar creator. So, your brand’s best shot at success is to work with familiar faces. With repeated exposure, you and your brand will cultivate likability (a.k.a. The mere exposure effect). But to get to the point of sales-generating likability, you have to pick the right influencer for your video marketing.


Does Influencer Video Marketing Make Sense For Small Businesses?

Since 2016, influencer marketing has been on an upward trend. And this has affected traditional paid media strategies. Clear examples of this can be found in campaigns like HUGO BOSS's "Like a Boss", where influencer Khaby Lame can be seen posing in Boss outfits and accessories.

If major luxury brands cannot afford to turn a blind eye to influencer marketing, small and medium-sized businesses cannot either. Unfortunately, corporate giants' interest in influencers has resulted in a price surge that has priced most small businesses out of the influencer-collaboration market.


Influencer Marketing: Are You Overpaying?

Luxury brands can overpay influencers and make back their money through high-ticket products. This puts small businesses at yet another disadvantage, where they cannot make financial sense of hiring an influencer even if they can afford to pay one. They might not sell enough products to justify the campaign price.

However, smart business owners have leveraged influencer marketing campaigns to grow massive brands. For instance, Dave Portnoy's One-Bite pizza reviews have turned struggling pizza shops around, turning some into major success stories.

For every Dave Portnoy story, there are several Fyre Fest stories where influencers were duped into selling a scam to their audience. What makes Portnoy's reviews so influential is his authenticity and credibility.

A credible influencer with a smaller audience is more effective than an inauthentic one with a large audience. So, small business owners should seek out small and authentic content creators who are closer to their audience and genuinely interested in the products they market.


The Reality Of Influencer Marketing

Much of influencer marketing today is held up by the stories from 2016. Back then, influencers could build brands with shoutouts. Today, finding the right influencer is more important than getting an influencer collaboration. Too many creators are trying to become paid influencers, and a cottage industry has popped up around helping people fake their clout.

Online audiences have been exposed to so many paid sponsorships that they're a bit jaded. So, influencer marketing is getting harder. But for those willing to put in the effort, creator-led campaigns can still be the ROI goldmine they used to be in 2016.


Strategies For Influencer Marketing

The strategies in this section apply to all types of influencer marketing. Once you understand these, the step-by-step influencer video marketing guide at the end of this resource will make more sense.

Influencer marketing has to be built on a foundation of authenticity and trust. So, whenever you shortlist influencers to approach, look them up individually with the word "scam". This can help you know if they have shorted their audience before and bankrupted their goodwill.

Influencers you want to work with are ones who have the same values as your brand and have ideally expressed interest in the type of products you make.

Find The Undervalued Influencer

Influencers collaborate with multiple brands, and sometimes they might shout out your competition as the "best" and then sing your praises, calling your products the "best". This is a lose-lose situation because neither brand looks good, and the influencer comes off as inauthentic.

That's why you should approach influencers who have expressed interest in the kind of products you make but have not recently pushed your competitors' products. Then, you should sign a recurring deal with them to reach their audience in a more believable manner.

When the influencer works with your brand regularly, she begins to genuinely like it. This comes off in how she promotes you.

Prioritize Content Of Product-Pushing

Instead of influencer-distributed campaigns, you should think in terms of creator-led campaigns. Letting influencers create content featuring your products can be more impactful than having them interrupt their programming to shout you out. Ads can be skipped and ignored, but integrations cannot.

Reviewers are ideal for super-niche products, and vloggers make for great mass-market product promoters. But instead of simply shipping them your products with a script, give them ideas to incorporate your products into their standard content. Of course, you can still include what needs to be said verbatim in the influencer brief. Just keep it short.

Pick The Likable Influencer (And Use A Limited-Time Offer)

It is important to understand that many influencers have anti-followings. People follow them not out of love but to actively hate on them. Most rich-life influencers inspire envy. So, if it makes sense for your business to work with a major influencer who receives a lot of hate, you might want to add a promo code or a limited-time offer to compel their audience to act.

Their shoutout alone might not cause the movement you want. These days, you'll notice smaller influencers getting comments like, "Go, get your bag, queen," and "Movin' up! So proud of you," whenever they get a brand deal.

Larger influencers get comments like "Sellout!" and "Can you stop with the ads, please??" for the same sponsorships. Again, research is your friend. But so is a limited-time offer.

Review Their Past Performance

Before you select an influencer, you might want to check out what kind of results they've earned for other brands. However, since brands and influencers don't publicly post their sponsorship budgets and resulting sales, you can't know exactly how much money a creator has made for a brand.

However, there is one way to sniff out effective influencers: look at ones that are being sponsored over and over by the same brand. A business hires an influencer again only if the previous collaboration has been beneficial to the business.

Understanding whether macro-influencers or micro-influencers make sense for your business can set you in the right direction. If you get this right, you're unlikely to get much else wrong. So, this is worth paying attention to.

Get Your Micros And Macros Right

The size of the influencer doesn't always have to do with the size of your business. Corporate giants often balance macro-influencer sponsorships with numerous micro-influencer campaigns.

Small businesses selling digital products with mass-market appeal can definitely use macro-influencers, but the resulting sales might not offset the cost of hiring the influencer.

But if your business is relatively new, getting a handful of customers could trigger a chain reaction with positive word of mouth. Or you could have a subscription model where new customers have high lifetime value.

A $5000 influencer shoutout might bring in only $1000 in initial profit. But ten customers you get could repeatedly buy from your business, making you more than $50,000. So, take an audit of your current customers' lifetime value.

Are your customers the one-off kind, or do you get recurring revenue from them? If you get repeat orders, you can afford to pay more for influencer shoutouts. And if your products have mass appeal, then you can pay the premium charged by macro influencers. And if they have niche appeal, you can pay the premium charged by top creators in that niche.

Your business will not float or fail based on a single influencer campaign. This is a category of marketing that requires repeated engagement. So, it is best to start collecting data as soon as possible.

Track ROI (Short-Term And Long-Term)

One way to get a snapshot of the short-term ROI generated by an influencer is to give them a unique promo code. This helps you figure out how many pieces said influencer has sold.

Alternatively, you can space out influencer collaborations and see which month has earned you the most customers.

CRM (customer relationship manager) programs allow you to tag each customer with the name of the influencer that brought them to you. This way, you can track the real, long-term ROI of every influencer you hire.

Many businesses have influencer relationship managers. For smaller businesses, this role is fulfilled by the marketing manager or the junior marketing executive. A relationship manager can help you stay up to date with the creator's schedule.

She can also help keep campaign costs low by softening up the influencer. Above all, she can engage in research and prioritize influencers who are more likely to generate profit for your business.

Offer Stories, Not Products

Giving your influencers a story can help your brand resonate with their audience. Many influencers get personally excited about promoting a home-grown business or an underdog brand that's changing the way business is done. If those are authentic aspects of your brand, you should include them in your influencer marketing brief.

But if they're not, you shouldn't fake them. Online audiences admire authenticity, and you can lose credibility if you're caught faking elements of your story. This brings up the question of what one should do if one's business has a pretty plain backstory.

You can always do something incredible and talk about that. Your brand can launch a charity drive or execute a marketing stunt that's worth talking about. You could arrange a meet and greet with the influencer as well, though that can inflate your campaign's budget. The point is, you can make stories happen!


Influencers And Social Media Platforms

At this point, we should talk about different social media platforms used by different types of influencers. Fashion brands get much more out of Instagram collaborations, while book publishers make more from podcasts and YouTube sponsorships.

Different industries lean towards different platforms. And figuring out where your audience is can cut at least half of your influencer research burden. It does not make sense to consider Khaby Lame (a silent influencer) for your audiobook business.


Instagram is the ideal platform for influencer collaborations if your business can make money by building a large following. For example, small fashion brands make money when their IG followers see their new designs.

So, an IG influencer shouting them out and blowing up the brand's Instagram can result in $$$ down the line. But if you're not on Instagram or you sell stuff in the real world, such shoutouts might not do you much good.

  • Visual – Instagram is highly visual. It literally started off as a photo-sharing/check-in app.

  • Impulse Purchases - IG gears its audience towards impulsive decisions.

  • Down-the-line selling - You can build a following with ads and monetize it down the line.


YouTube is responsible for several brands like MrBeast's Feastibles and Mark and Mike's Dollars Shave Club. Other businesses that attribute their success to YouTube sponsor collaborations include BetterHelp, SurfShark VPN, and Established Titles. None of these businesses are super-visual brands. They are brands built around convenience and offering value to a highly targeted audience.

  • Listening – YouTube viewers "listen" as much as they watch.

  • Niche interest - YT caters to a broad range of interests.

  • Offer-driven CTA - A nice promotional offer can drive up your conversion rate on YouTube.


Meta's Facebook is the grandfather of modern social media and is, therefore, unsurprisingly occupied by grandfathers. The platform offers very precise audience-targeting for advertisers but low organic reach for content creators.

If you collaborate with an influencer, they'll act as content creators, and you'll have to use paid advertising to push their content to the right audience.

  • Collaborative Creation – Facebook is a great ecosystem for creative collaboration.

  • Hyper-targeting – You can target hyper-target your paid media campaigns with Facebook.

  • Great analytics – FB is a market leader in offering excellent analytics.


TikTok has been the fastest-growing social media platform for a while. It has ushered in a wave of short-form content and created a roster of millionaire influencers. Generally, TikTok creators are relatively cheaper, but their organic reach can be a hit or miss.

With other social media platforms, a set percentage of the influencer's overall audience sees all their posts. With TikTok, a creator with 3 million followers may gain only 1000 views. Here's why this happens: TikTok is not very forgiving when it comes to boring content. So, if you collaborate with a TikTok influencer, remember to give them a challenge or create an interesting story that gets their audience's attention.

  • Inconsistent engagement – TikTok collabs can hit or miss

  • Gamify – TikTok challenges have immense potential

  • Invite audience engagement – Create engaging content and invite viewers to engage with it.


Contentfries’ Video Marketing Guide For Influencer Marketing

If you're a video marketer who wants to use influencers in her marketing campaigns, the tactics and foundational information above will help you lay out a successful campaign. This section acts as a blueprint that you can customize and optimize as you see fit. Everything you've learned from this resource is distilled into a step-by-step guide below.

Know Your Audience And Their Content Interests

Before you even begin your influencer research, you must know thyself. Figure out who your audience is and what it wants. Once you know your audience, you can be clearer about the influencers that align with your brand. Even more important is that you can actually start creating content you know your audience will love.

Create The Content Your Audience Wants

Initially, your videos will not reach your audience. But because you know that later collaborations will bring in the right traffic, you can start creating a library of content for them to binge. Suppose you're selling organic keto snacks, and your brand is a fun and easy-going one.

Then, your audience must be keto-consumers who like to have fun. With these two standards, you can start creating content. You could make comedy sketches where people keep misunderstanding keto. Or you could make relatable memes (day one on keto vs day 999 on keto).

Collaborate And Grow

Once you have a backlog of content and a library of videos enjoyable to your potential audience, it is time to work with an influencer who has the audience you want. A familiar face pushing your page with his content drives traffic to your channel.

That's where people discover a treasure trove of content that's made with them in mind. In the case of the keto brand discussed earlier, working with any keto influencer will get you the desired result.

Understanding this strategy is not limited to keto, fashion, or any specific niche. It works for any business that knows its audience and can create content for them. Unfortunately, most businesses think of themselves first, creating highly promotional content that doesn't resonate with people, even with influencers' push.


Final Thoughts

Businesses and fresh content creators are coming to the same conclusion: organic reach is dead. Platforms don't seem to push content to a large enough audience. And the audience isn't very receptive to content pushed with ad dollars. The secret sauce to reaching your audience is the right influencer. With the video marketing strategies covered in the final section and the influencer selection specifics covered earlier in this resource, you'll have more success than the average business when it comes to video marketing.