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Sometimes, it’s possible to get so deeply involved in a practice that you lose sight of what it is you’re trying to do. Or maybe someone who isn’t familiar with what you do asks you to explain, and you realize that you can’t. This is why its important to comprehend terms and provide a definition. Not understanding how to explain a term may make for several influencer marketing definitions. 

That’s sometimes the case with influencer marketing. You know what it is, but you struggle to explain it to someone who is on the outside or new to the industry. Additionally, to avoid this problem, remember these influencer marketing definitions, some of which come straight from the companies that are knee-deep in the practice.

Influencer Marketing: The Dictionary Definition

If you look up the phrase “influencer marketing” in Merriam-Webster, you get an apologetic response that the word isn’t in the dictionary with a few possible alternatives offered instead.

Moreover, in order to get to the dictionary definition of influencer marketing, you have to break it down a bit. First, the word “influencer” is defined as “one who exerts influence.” In this case, “influence” is defined as the act or power of producing an effect without apparent exertion of force or direct exercise of command or to affect or alter by indirect or intangible means. 

Next, you want to look up the definition of marketing. According to Merriam-Webster, it’s a noun that means the act or process of selling or purchasing in a market or the process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service. 

Furthermore, if you put the dictionary definitions of “influencer” and “marketing” together, you end up with a cohesive definition of “influencer marketing” that looks like this: the process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service using indirect or intangible means, or without direct exercise of command

Influencer Marketing: The Industry Definition

Sometimes, it’s a good idea to leave the dictionary behind and look to industry insiders. Get an idea of how the industry defines influencer marketing. Several organizations that offer influencer marketing services or digital marketing advice or assistance have created their own influencer marketing definitions.

Organization’s Definitions


Influencer marketing is designed to tap into an existing community of engaged followers on social media. Influencers are specialists in their niches. Additionally, these individuals have influence over an audience you might be trying to reach and can be helpful marketing to those buyers.


Primarily, influencers act as a mutual friend connecting your brand with your target consumers. Moreover, an endorsement from an influencer has the power to drive traffic to your site, amplify your message across social media platforms, and even directly sell your product through their recommendation.


Influencer marketing should be honest and authentic. An influencer speaks about your product not because they are being paid to do so, but because they want to. Ideally, you want an influencer to endorse you because because they find your company interesting. 


Influencer marketing is the name we give to the process of developing relationships with influential people . Such process, can lead to their assisting you in creating visibility for your product or service. This type of marketing depends on your having something great to offer your potential customers and the audience of the influencer, and it also depends on your building a great relationship with the influencer as well.


At its most basic, influencer marketing is like a hybrid of old and new marketing tools, taking the idea of the celebrity endorsement and placing it into a modern-day, content-driven marketing campaign. Moreover, the main difference is that the results of the campaign are usually collaborations between brands and influencers.

What Influencer Marketing Definitions Have in Common

If you read over the hybrid dictionary definition we created and the influencer marketing definitions you can see similarities. As it turns out, you can’t have influencer marketing without the following:

The hybrid dictionary

Influential people:

Influencers need to be able to sway or change the minds of their audiences in some way.


Our definitions use words like “mutual friends” and “authenticity.” Additionally, to hammer home the point that influencers need to be people whom others trust.


Staying  connected to a particular audience/group of people is what an influencer does. Likewise, it’s in the best interests of brands to focus on developing ongoing relationships with the influencers they partner with.

How Influencer Marketing Definitions Differ

One way that the above influencer marketing definitions differ is on how hard they stress the marketing aspect. The dictionary influencer marketing definition mentions the process of selling a product.

Only one of the industry definitions makes mention of using influencer marketing to boost sales. Buffer mentions that influencers can  “directly sell your product through their recommendation.”  Influencer marketing seeks to go beyond boosting sales and getting new customers.

With influencer marketing, you’re able to use the trust people have in influencers to build relationships.  Additionally, it is also important to build a relationship with the audiences of particular influencer. In many cases, boosting sales is the icing on the cake.