An Introduction to Influencer Marketing

With social media rapidly increasing in popularity, most brands have been encouraged to build up a powerful online presence. In fact, just in Malaysia alone, there are about 11 million Instagram users as of January 2020, which roughly covers 34.7% of the entire population. Companies have tried to use various methods of reaching out to customers in this new landscape, but it is among these that influencer marketing has flourished. 

In the year of the pandemic, there were even more challenges to the traditional advertising method, with audiences being drawn to social media usage during lockdown. According to reports, only 1% of millennials are reportedly trusting the products they see in traditional ads. With this, brands have had to pivot and partner with influencers this past year in order to get the word out in a relevant, topical and mindful way.

What are Influencers?

But what exactly makes an influencer? An influencer, or key opinion leaders (KOL) do not necessarily have to be celebrities; they can be anyone. Influencers are characterized by a huge number of loyal social media followers, with whom they share a friendly rapport with. These influencers are also often perceived as experts in their niches; whether it’s bloggers, models, photographers, activists, journalists, celebrities, and more. 

The internet is packed with influencers of all kinds; bloggers, photographers, activists, journalists, celebrities, and more. Through the use of different social media platforms, influencers connect with their audiences by leveraging on the accessibility of social media to develop personal connections with their followers. This helps them win the trust of their fan communities. 

In terms of influencer marketing, an influencer is someone who has the power to affect the purchasing decision of others because of his or her authority, knowledge, and position. Influencers are real-life consumers who share authentic and valuable information with their followers, often possessing the power to influence their followers’ choices. Brands use influencers to connect with their target audiences and gain increased visibility as well as shape purchase decisions.

Different Types of Influencers

Now that you know what influencers are, it’s time to find out the kinds of influencers that would be suited for your brand. In order to do so, we’ll need to get down to the details in getting to know each one. Let’s take a look at the different types of influencers that are in the market. 


With more than a million followers or more, they’re very active on social platforms where their audience spends time, generating tons of engagement. This is what makes them attractive to brands that want to leverage influencer marketing, but they don’t come cheap. 


With around 500K to 1 million followers, they can leverage their reputation to gain followers on social media, so brands can expect a high price tag, though not as hefty as mega-influencers. Brands still get a large reach with this type of influencer but may not get the engagement rate they want due to the follower/engagement ratio. 

Mid-tier influencers 

These influencers may not exactly be celebrity status, but their content is authentic and polished, while not being out-of-touch with their followers. With numbers ranging between 50K and 500K, this often leads to a wider reach and more engagement.


While these influencers have a smaller following than the previous groups, this group is much preferred by brands due to their effectiveness in terms of engagement and trust. With around 10K to 50K followers, micro-influencers have a more intimate connection with their followers and tend to be more niche-focused.


While they have the smallest follower count at around1K to 10K, their hyper authentic and personalized content resonates the best with audiences with super high engagement rates. This means that aside from being a cost-effective option, nano-influencers provide a more intimate experience for brands looking to reach out this way. 

How will influencer marketing change in 2021?

Moving into 2021, influencer marketing will see a marked increase in budget allocation for brands. There have been reports that have stated that around 63% of marketers plan to increase their influencer marketing budgets in 2021 to meet with growing popularity and demand. 

So in 2021, it’s important to pay attention to these influencer marketing trends so that you’re not putting money in the wrong place. 

i. More for micro and nano influencers

By focusing on nano and micro-influencers, brands will hope to be able to connect to their audiences in a deeper and more intimate way. According to a report, micro-influencers, particularly those with fewer than 25,000 followers, have the highest engagement rates at around 7%. Plus, brands will be able to stretch their influencer marketing budgets even further. 

ii. Partnerships abound

In 2021, look out for more brands and influencers who are partners together for long term rather than just on one-off posts. The reason for this is that brands would want to capitalize on the influencer marketing trend and include several sponsored posts with a single influencer over a period of time, rather than going with numbers. It’s a quality over quantity approach that could make real contributions to sales. 

iii. Rise of niche influencers

Influencers with niches are not new, and that doesn’t look to be stopping in 2021. Influencers will continue to develop expertise in their niche or industry, making them even more sought after by brands in those niches. As influencers become more specialized, we’ll likely see a shift in the language used; for example, the growth of “content creators”, rather than “influencers”. 

How you shouldn’t use influencer marketing

Simply put, influencer marketing involves collaborating with a social media influencer to increase brand visibility and strengthen a brand’s reputation. When executed correctly, it helps you win more customers and earn more revenue. However, this does not mean that influencer marketing is simply giving money to someone with an audience and expecting them to promote your product or service. 

The thing that sets today’s influencer marketing apart is that it is perceived as more authentic and trustworthy. Owing to an influencer’s rapport with their fans, their recommendations aren’t dismissed as fake and sponsored endorsements. Looking at things like the number of followers and expecting quick return on investment are not great ways of using influencer marketing. 

Slow and steady is the way to go when it comes to influencers, with the best results coming when you tailor your audiences to the right influencer. 


While brands have been reluctant to put in hefty budgets into influencer marketing in the past, the success of a few ambitious brands such as Daniel Wellington have really motivated brands to consider taking the less conventional route. Almost 80% of marketers agree that influencer marketing is effective, with 71% of them also agreeing that the customers and traffic received from influencer marketing are of superior quality.

As the number of social media users continues to rise, the prevalence of influencer marketing will undoubtedly follow. There’s no doubt that influencer marketing in Malaysia will take off in 2021. So it’s time to stay ahead of the curve and incorporate influencer marketing into your overall marketing strategy.

Influencer Link is an influencer marketing platform in Malaysia. We can help you plan out your whole influencer marketing strategy; from Facebook Marketing, to influencers for hire. We also help to identify the right influencers for your marketing campaign, as well as plan out and strategize ideas and mechanics that define the results that you need. Our team will ensure that your influencer needs are met, with customisable solutions for campaigns of any size. 

Speak to us at +603 7932 1001.

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