Today, it's not easy to work in marketing or public relations. What used to be black and white is now gray. It's not bad, it's just different... and I blame the Kardashians.

Enter influencer marketing. If you're new to it, or still living in 2010, it's a testimonial with a subtle mention of a brand, that you almost don't notice because it comes across as more of a referral than an advertisement. That's one reason it works so well and why many are bypassing traditional media to pay a mom blogger with 25,000 engaged followers on Instagram for a post.

Accept this new way of marketing - even if you don't like it or understand it.

If you want to reach your ideal customer or client, the first step is focusing your marketing efforts on where they are. For most, it's safe to say their online. Depending on their age, you're most likely looking at two spaces - Facebook or Instagram.

Numbers don't matter. Engagement does.

An influencer could be an A-list celebrity or a niche thought leader, so be clear - the size of their following doesn't matter. Their engagement does.

For example, a celebrity can have millions of engaged followers, but those people could be made up of multiple age ranges, from all over the world, with a wide array of interests. If your brand is bigger and more generic, this could be a good route for you.

Now, take a person who is an expert in organization...kitchen organization, to be more specific. Whenever she posts an image or video, fans come out of the woodwork to ask questions and try to copy the same thing. This kind of influencer could do much for your brand, if it has anything to do with kitchen organization.

Be prepared to open your wallet.

If someone has the power to reach scores of people interested in what you're selling, you better be prepared to pay them. For many, this is their job. Today, commercials on TV and ads in the newspaper, if you still pick one up, are mostly fast forwarded or ignored. (When was the last time a commercial or newspaper ad got you excited?)

Not only is influencer marketing more inexpensive than the traditional media route, but it is usually more effective. The targeting is so much better and the ad doesn't look an ad, which makes it more appealing. (Not even ad blockers can stop an influencer's post.)

Also, because it's online, you can track so much data that will tell you who is liking, commenting, and clicking on the post. This tells you what's working and what's not. Now, that's money well spent.

Now, choose wisely.

So, who are you going to work with? This is where it gets tricky. So many people want to be influencers on social media and try their best to look like one, but may not be.

If an influencer really has influence, you'll see it in the likes and comment section. In addition, the person will have a media kit with stats, numbers, screenshots, and testimonials to prove they can move the needle for brands.

If you're not already working with online influencers, it's time to start. Get focused on your audience and hop online and start looking for a person in your area, if your business is local, or in your niche to see who can get more eyes on your brand.

Published on: Oct 30, 2017