Word-of-Mouth and Referral Marketing Blog

Celebrities, Bloggers, Athletes, YouTubers: Influencer Marketing

‘Influencer marketing’ has been gaining huge traction recently – for good reason, considering how effective it is. Businesses are making $6.50 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing, according to a poll by Tomoson.

Get someone who has a large audience to talk about you, and your product can potentially get huge word-of-mouth.

These influencers are often trusted by their fans to be an authority on something, whether fashion, fitness, or just life in general – BlogHer, for example, found that 81% of U.S. online consumers trust information and advice from blogs, compared to advertisements.

Seth Godin has described influencers as ‘sneezers’ – they spread ideas like viruses. What makes them particularly potent, according to him:

Sneezers are the ones who when they tell ten or twenty or 100 people about an idea—people believe them.”

If you have a product that serves a particular niche or need, an effective way of connecting to your audience is to get influencers on your side. Provide them with samples, invite them to events to get to know your product and brand better!

If you manage to win them over, you’ve likely secured a loyal fan that will get your product known to their audience.

kim kardashian game copy

Want to be as stylish as Kim Kardashian? Listen to her advice and download her game, she says.

Here are some of our favorite examples.

1. Instagram – early adopters of the app propelled it to success


A photo posted by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on

Taylor Swift is the Queen of Instagram, according to this link

Instagram is everywhere – it recently hit 400 million users, beating its main competitor twitter.

One of the factors that bolster it’s success was the fact that early adopters of Instagram included extremely influential people in both the tech, as well as the entertainment industry. Apple’s Phil Schiller and Twitter’s co-founder Jack Dorsey joined the app early on, with Dorsey tweeting about it to his million+ followers. Justin Bieber, too, joined Instagram early on, bringing along his huge following onto the platform.

When someone sees popular influencers heading towards Instagram, they are inclined to think that Instagram is the new, cool platform to use, spurring even more sign-ups.

Read more: How Instagram Used Word-of-Mouth to Gain One Million Users in Three Months

2. HYPEBEAST – be cool enough to get celebrities like Kanye and Lupe as fans

lupe fiasco sneakers hypebeast

Hypebeast started as a blog run by one man, and now it’s the go-to street style blog with 28 million monthly page views.

Founder Kevin Ma shares:

I kept working on Hypebeast to bring in more newsworthy content and eventually the individual that helped propel the site onto the next level was a hip-hop artist called Lupe Fiasco. He was one of the first guys to see the site and understood what it was about. Through his influence, Hypebeast gained a wider readership and helped us command a larger audience. For example, through Lupe’s relationships with different hip-hop individuals, artists such as Kanye West began blogging and tweeting about our site and even mentioned Hypebeast in one of his songs.

Read more: 4 Ways HYPEBEAST Grew From Humble Sneaker Blog To Cultural Powerhouse

3. Warby Parker – A publicity stunt at New York Fashion Week

warby parker new york fashion week

Warby Parker did not have the budget to be part of New York Fashion Week early on, but they wanted to make use of the attention drawn to New York during that period.

They proceeded to do a guerilla campaign where they had a ‘secret presentation’ at the New York Public Library, and invited editors to the presentation. Vogue describes the event:

During a blink-and-you-missed-it event, models and friends of the designers seated around the silent studying room—all wearing Warby Parker shades and glasses—simultaneously raised up robin’s-egg-blue books, titled with Warby Parker’s style names.

The editors were so impressed that all the editors present at the event wrote about Warby Parker’s creative campaign, launching the brand into popularity.

Read more: How Warby Parker Earned Word-of-Mouth By Using Storytelling And Remarkable Experiences (8+ Examples)

4. Modcloth – Giving influencers a role to play within ModCloth’s brand

blogger of the moment modcloth

ModCloth has a ‘blogger of the moment’ feature on their site, and actually names a dress after each of them.

In turn, Bloggers of the Moment get to suggest other ModCloth pieces to complement their dresses, and name their favourite ModCloth piece!

This provides publicity both ways, and also gets other bloggers to start talking about the brand, giving ModCloth a lot more exposure within fashion-blog circles.

Read more: How ModCloth Evolved From A One Woman Firm to A $100 Million Company

5. Everlane – Letting influencers visit their factories in order to observe and share about Everlane’s inner workings

everlane factory

Everlane is a brand that focuses on ‘radical transparency’ – making sure every part of its production process is ethical and transparent to all their fans.

In July 2014, Everlane hosted their first Transparent City Tour, where they invited a few fashion icons on Instagram to visit their tee factory and dye house in LA.

While Everlane has always been open in the way they document the factories that produce their clothing, inviting members of the public to actually visit those factories firsthand takes transparency to a new level.

The fashion icons proceeded to share about their experience in the factory, which helped cement Everlane as the go-to brand for ethical consumerism.

Read more: 5 Ways Fashion Retailer Everlane Earned Insane Word-of-Mouth

6. Under Armour – Giving out free shirts to football players in order to angle their brand as the ‘go-to’ for professional sporting apparel

Image: J. Meric / Getty Images North America
Image: J. Meric / Getty Images North America

Under Armour faced stiff competition from huge competitors like Nike and Adidas, and it seemed almost impossible to break through.

Founder Kevin Plank decided to come up with a brilliant scheme – give out free shirts to NFL athletes on the pretext of helping them.

I tried to emphasize that if an Under Armour shirt could help these athletes improve their performance just a little bit, they’d be able to earn even more money. I positioned wearing it as a tool to help them rather than a favor to me.

Plank made sure that he gave extra shirts to each athlete, so they could pass the shirt to a teammate if they liked it.

It turned out to be a huge success – the Georgia State football team soon approached Under Armour to outfit their players, followed by Atlanta Falcons, the New York Giants and the Miami Dolphins.

The Miami Dolphins also wore Under Armour merchandise on national television, helping Under Armour anchor itself as the go-to brand for professional sports gear.

Read more: 4 Ways How Under Armour Grew via Word-of-Mouth to Eventually Overtake Adidas

7. Dettol – Letting housewives help anchor your brand as the go-to household product.

the organised housewife dettol

Screenshot from The Organised Housewife

Dettol might seem like an unlikely example for influencer marketing, but it has actually been very successful in this respect.

Dettol wanted to establish itself as a multi-purpose household product for daily use, and thus set foot to create an influencer campaign in China.

They targeted female, housewife bloggers who had a big reach on Chinese social media like Tencent and Weibo. They provided samples to these women, and encouraged them to review the product.

It ended up being a huge success – – Sales of Dettol spray soared by 86% after the campaign and 98% of consumers demonstrated interest in purchasing the spray.

They later replicated this model in other markets to great success.

8. Birchbox – letting both large and small influencers be part of your brand!

birchbox blogger

Beauty boxes are a dime in a dozen nowadays, but Birchbox in particular has done extremely well. Birchbox has gotten 70 million dollars in funding and has more than a million subscribers, despite the heavy competition.

One reason why they’ve been so successful is because of their ‘liberal’ approach to bloggers. Birchbox says:

“Whether you have one million YouTube subscribers or the only person reading your blog is your mom (go moms!), we want YOU.

This has allowed them to both reach huge audiences via popular blogs, as well as more ‘local’ audiences via small blogs – basically word-of-mouth! These bloggers are provided with exclusive opportunities like product sneak peeks, samples for review, and invites to blogger-only events.

This has helped them establish both a personal connection to it’s fans, while helping to get their name out as the best beauty box around.

Read next: How Birchbox Grew From 200 to 850,000 Subscribers In 3.5 Years

9. SkinnyMint – Leveraging on social media and creating trends

The ‘tea-tox’ trend, which is a play on the words tea and detox, took over social media for the whole of 2015.

kyile jenner tea tox instagram

With celebrities like Kylie Jenner and Vanessa Hudgens posting about their teatox diets on Instagram, it soon became a huge hit as everyone wanted to see how truly effective this tea diet actually was. Skinnymint, one of the earlier tea tox brands, was able to capitalise on this attention in a few ways.

Firstly, they strategically sent their products to famous ‘fitness gurus’ and models on Instagram. As these individuals often post about health and fitness related topics, Skinnymint was immediately associated with these two topics.

skinny mint fitness

Secondly, by keeping their own Instagram active and featuring influencers who talked about their product, their instagram also grew in popularity. It now sits at a comfortable 177 thousand followers.

More examples:

  • Daniel Wellington did both paid endorsements to prominent celebrities and offered free watches to less established influencers – particularly photographers with massive Instagram followings.
  • Dagne Dover built a name for itself in New York by reaching out to NYC fashion bloggers
  • Multi-functional phone case brand Zytlus targeted influencers on YouTube who do product reviews.
  • Dockatot established itself by winning over popular mom bloggers
  • H&M partnered with influencers to promote its sustainable H&M Conscious collection
  • Memebox partnered with YouTube vloggers who do makeup tutorials
  • THINX built its brand by getting glowing reviews from many YouTube influencers
  • Sriracha became even more popular after influencers like The Oatmeal made comics about it
  • Chipotle gives certain celebrities
  • Coachella gets great publicity from the presence of celebrities at its music festival
  • “Mobile changing room” Undress targeted triathletes and yoga influencers to promote its product
  • Samsung used celebrity power to get the most retweeted selfie of all time
  • Maybelline skilfully captured modern market share by going through Youtube beauty vloggers – Sephora did the same
  • ROLI Seaboard established itself by winning over popular musicians with its futuristic keyboard

Read next: Tribes, Niches, Groups and Subreddits – 30+ Examples Of Community-Focused Marketing


Melody Madhavan

Melody is a history major and part of the pioneer batch of Yale-NUS College. She hopes to be able to bring forgotten historical narratives back to life, and learn how to make the perfect latte.

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