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How Influencers Help Brands Earn Money

[ BLOG ]

Table of contents of the article

Companies are increasingly collaborating with influencers whose audience shares the brand's values. Our advertising agency WGG will tell you how it all works.

Who Are Influencers and What Do They Do?

Influencers are opinion leaders who gather a loyal audience around them. They are not necessarily bloggers making money from ads. They can be actors, athletes, musicians, scientists—professionals in their fields whose words are listened to and trusted.

For example, a publishing editor shares behind-the-scenes aspects of their work: how they select manuscripts, which writers have a chance of getting a contract, and which conferences are worth attending. A marketer predicts trends and shares successful advertising campaigns from their clients.

It’s not necessary for an influencer to have a million followers. Often, experts don't aim to promote their social media, and they may have 2–5 thousand followers. For brands, this number is not as important. Due to their authority and knowledge, influencers can influence purchasing decisions—something that works in the long term.

Typically, opinion leaders collaborate with brands they use themselves. For instance, a publishing editor might announce a course for writers where they give a lecture. A marketer might test a new social media analytics service and share their review.

Such content appears organic and doesn’t resemble classic advertising posts written using formulas like AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action). The audience trusts the opinion of a specific person and buys the product, understanding that it’s an honest review.
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Why Do Brands Need Influencers?

On average, users spend 2 hours and 24 minutes a day on social media, according to a DataReportal study at the beginning of 2024. Therefore, brands must compete for the audience's attention not only with competitors but also with the media platforms themselves—striving to reach as much audience as possible across different platforms. Influencer marketing helps companies:

Enhance Brand Recognition
Influencers don’t directly sell or promote the brands they collaborate with but mention them nonetheless.

Increase Sales
The number of followers does not indicate the quality of the audience. Opinion leaders in a narrow niche (e.g., nutritionists, doctors, etc.) often have a small but loyal audience, which significantly impacts sales.

Example: The watch brand Daniel Wellington sent free watches to micro-bloggers in exchange for reviews and received large reach from these advertising campaigns.

Showcase the Product in Action
Reviewers introduce their followers to the brand, help them understand the pros and cons, and highlight differences from competitors. Before deciding to purchase, users see how everything works.

Example: Gadget reviewers, like tech blogger Wylsacom, compare the functionality of phones.
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Types of Influencers

The most common classifications of influencers are by the number of followers and by content type.

By number of followers:
  • Celebrities: Actors, musicians — over 1 million followers.
  • Macro-influencers: Bloggers earning from advertising — up to 1 million followers.
  • Micro- and nano-influencers: Up to 100 thousand followers — opinion leaders in various niches who do not professionally produce content.
By content type:
  • YouTubers
  • Podcasters
  • Instagram bloggers
  • TikTok bloggers
Opinion leaders gain the authority of their followers due to their position or expertise in their field of knowledge. For example, a journalist for a major publication may not be an expert on all the topics they write about, but they are respected for being professional enough to work in prestigious media.

Some micro- and nano-influencers can bring significant benefits to a company selling a product targeted at a narrow niche. Therefore, brands are increasingly looking in this direction.

According to Linqia, an agency that works with influencers, brands are choosing micro- and nano-bloggers.
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Collaboration Options with an Influencer

The main formats for working with opinion leaders are as follows:

  • Barter: The product or service is provided in exchange for a post. Important: the influencer is required to give an honest review, not just praise.
  • Fee: The brand pays the blogger a specific amount for the published materials. For example, one million rubles for ten posts published over the course of a year.
  • Payment per lead: For instance, the influencer receives payment for each subscriber who joins the client's service using a promo code.

How to Start Working with an Influencer

Collaborating with influencers makes sense only if there is a clear goal and strategy—such as increasing brand awareness or boosting sales.

It's important to have a good understanding of the target audience and know which influencers they follow and whose opinions they value.

This can be determined through in-depth interviews or mass surveys. For example, you can publish a post with a selection of podcasts, Telegram channels, etc., and ask, "Which podcasts do you listen to? Share in the comments." Gradually, a database of influencers worth approaching for collaboration will form.

You can contact a specific opinion leader directly—usually, their pages include the contact details of an assistant or advertising agency. Alternatively, you can register on a special service.

Even if the analytics services look great and the followers match the brand's target audience, it's essential to observe the influencer for some time.

For instance, check the format of their advertising and general blog management: how the blogger interacts with their followers, how they respond to questions. Make sure their style fits the brand and that their values align.


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