You'll hear a lot about influencer marketing as the CEO of your company. You'll find that most online media articles and discussion about the topic are from influencer marketers and agencies, particularly when it comes to ROI and results.

It can be easy to question if there's a vested interest when influencer marketing service providers provide data and statistics. Of course companies in the business of selling services and products will say that their product or service works well.

At Simple Mills, we've worked with influencers as part of our overall marketing strategy for several years. As the CEO of the company, here's what I've found.

Real Impact

Simple Mills was just a couple months old when influencer and Against All Grain blogger, Danielle Walker, mentioned us on a Facebook page. Not only did all of our products on Amazon sell out shortly after. I was shocked that this, more than anything else we tried, jumpstarted our company in the market.

Now that we're larger with more products, it's harder to know where spikes in sales are coming from. But from our early days, we've seen firsthand that brand chatter among influencers can help sell products - a lot of products!

More Targeted Brand Alignment

It's no secret that products and services have greater potential to sell when they're in front of the right consumer. Traditional mainstream advertising and media can have great reach but it can be hard to ensure it's targeted.

Influencers are often in very specific, small niches, even with large followings. They fill gaps and reach people in categories that might be too small for traditional media and advertising. We find that through influencers we can reach out the consumers that care about the type of products we make and reach them more directly. It is a compliment to our more mainstream marketing efforts.

Authenticity Is Required

People follow influencers that align with their interests and mindset. Marketing efforts with influencers have to as well. You can't fake it or get away with just trying to get your brand out there. It's not enough to want to make your products "go viral."

Their followers pay attention to the slightest detail and they will call it out. Authenticity is one of our company's values; it's rooted in everything we do. You can't just choose influencers who are popular. It won't work. They need to fit the mindset and interest of your customer.

It's Not Like A Traditional Ad Buy

Working with influencers can be vastly different than traditional advertising. This is important for CEOs to recognize. It isn't like an ad buy, where the creative, verbiage, and every other aspect of your spend is directed and controlled by you. In fact, with influencer marketing it can have a catastrophic effect if you try to do so.

When influencers write or talk about your company or products, it has to be in their own voice. You can provide specifics to ensure accuracy. But from there you have to let them be a vehicle for sharing your products in their own unique and individual way.

Working with influencers can be less expensive as well. This can be particularly true with micro influencers, who have smaller but more targeted followings.

It Works Best Long Term

A single influencer mention can be powerful, but we've found influencer campaigns tend to do best when they're across a long range - where your products or services are being regularly or consistently shared or promoted. This tends to be consistent with marketing, PR and advertising in general.

You have to be careful not to overdo it. If you can, stagger your influencer marketing across a length of time versus a single, one-time effort.