Smart marketers employ influencer marketing solutions to ride the wave created by the modern social media-driven consumer. That wave continues to grow, presenting innovative brands with unique opportunities to bridge the gap between brand and buyer, and only the social media savvy will stay afloat.

Authentic influencer marketing is more than an evolution of the celebrity endorsement. It’s a relationship built on a foundation of trust, shared values, and honest brand messaging. That’s why it’s so important to dispel misconceptions and acknowledge the impact that influencers have. When you find the right influencer/partner, you won’t need to worry about winning them over—they’ll already be on board.

Influencer Marketing vs. Celebrity Endorsements

A common misconception shared by brands wary about influencer marketing is that it’s nothing more than a celebrity endorsement for the social media generation. The two might look like similar strategies on the surface, but influencer marketing is so much more.

A traditional celebrity endorsement is pay-to-play in the sense that a brand pays a celebrity to appear in an advertisement (print, television, etc.). In many cases, the celebrity doesn’t even use the product advertised, but that’s not what’s important. The brand doing the buying is paying for the celebrity’s credibility and fame and nothing more.

Influencer marketing creates an authentic relationship with a social media icon to help promote and embody a brand’s messaging. Reaching an influencer’s audience on a personal level is attractive to brand leaders. You can’t buy authenticity, even though businesses try to take shortcuts by paying for social media product placement posts and looking for quick wins.

The best influencer marketing does not involve financial compensation,” says Gerardo A. Dada for Forbes. “Good influencer marketing is centered [around] building sincere personal relationships with influencers and sharing useful, unique, exclusive or early information.”

You’re Not Sponsoring an Influencer. You’re Establishing Trust.

The challenge marketers face when trying to treat influencer marketing like traditional advertising is that consumers are smart enough to spot the difference. Today, sponsored posts on Instagram or Facebook are skimmed over by users searching for authentic interaction from the influencers they trust. It’s that established well of trust you want to tap into. This can be tricky to do on your own, especially without tainting that trust by paying for blatant advertising attempts, so some brands use a dependable third party for influencer connections.

Modern social media-focused consumers are quick to call out influencers for selling out, and all trust goes out the window when an influencer parrots a brand’s opinion for monetary gain. Successful influencer marketing campaigns happen when businesses connect with influencers who align with that brand’s ideals and values.

A Match Made in Influencer Marketing Heaven

How do you find the right influencer for your brand? You could spend hours scouring through Instagram, looking for influencers up your alley, but there are easier and more effective ways to make those connections.

Influencer matchmaking solutions are flooding the landscape almost as quickly as brands are rushing to influencers. Trusted third-parties have had their finger on the influencer marketing pulse for a while now. They know how best to connect brands with influencers who can help make the most impact. Take advantage of influencer marketing resources offered by the professionals, and you won’t get lost in the sea of social media influencers and the audiences who trust them.