You've probably heard people refer to  influencers at your work, at home and when you go out. Some people want to be them while others admire watching them. Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube have created their own forms of visual story tellers with large enough followings -- some even stronger than the biggest celebrities or musicians on the planet. 

Brands have been using the influence of these people to create buzz for their product or service.

If you are a new company, or one that is looking to become cool, the use of these influencers might be the strongest and fastest way to bubble up conversations about you and your brand.

However, this new phenomenon has definitely created a somewhat comical effect. Similar to a celebrity endorsement on a commercial, influencers are paid to talk about a product whether or not they like or use it. These influencers are often talked about as being bratty, entitled and greedy -- but yet, brands still use them!

Here are 7 golden rules that will make sure you are using influencers correctly:

1.Make sure they are your target audience

A very easy thing to miss is looking into a the following of an influencer. Most brands see 1 million followers and immediately think that that person is worth the money. That is not always the case. If you are targeting women between the ages of 21 and 29, you need to make sure those women are following that influencer. Instagram launched a handy analytics dashboard that lets influencers take a peek into their follower's background. Requesting this information is now as simple as asking for a media kit.

2. Look at the followers who 'like' the images

The overall following is important, but make certain that you are looking at the followers who are engaging with the images or videos themselves. These can sometimes be different than the overall following so make sure that you are looking at all angles.

3. Utilize a trackable link or make sure you are viewing your referrals

This seems obvious, but many brands miss it. If you have paid or gifted an influencer who posts about you, make sure that you are looking at the data coming in to your website around the date and time the link was posted. Most social media posts have a peak lifetime of a few hours so you want to make sure that you are getting the engagement you were looking for. And if not, you know to use someone else the next time around.

4. Check the like to follower ratio

If an influencer has 100,000 followers but are only getting 150 likes per photo, you know there is usually an issue with their overall followers. Many of these could be bots or "bought" followers. You don't want to waste your time and money on fake eyeballs because bots and fake followers can't convert into sales for your business.

5. Follow the rules and disclose your sponsorships

When you sponsor an influencer, make sure they disclose that this was a paid endorsement with the hashtag #ad. The clearer the disclosure, the better.  Dennis Yu of Blitzmetrics brought to my attention that the Federal Trade Commission is cracking down on sponsorships that aren't disclosed as ads -- and in most cases, the brands are getting fined.

6. Ask your influencer to promote the post

You're already asking the influencer to post up your content, but only a certain percentage of their followers will be online when they post the image. You should get the most value out of it by setting aside a specific amount of the budget to use specifically on Instagram ads. This way, more people who follow or are aware of the influencer are able to be exposed to the message from the influencer's account.

7. Get the analytics

What good is sponsoring a post if you don't know how many impressions it received, how many people it reached and who engaged with it? You can ask your influencer to send you a screen shot with this information 48 hours after the campaign.

Gilt Groupe and Erin & Sara Foster put together clip that provides some great comedic relief about all of this.

Are you sponsoring influencers? How is it working out for you? I'd love to learn more! Comment below.