The Truth behind Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is often associated with many misconceptions, but if understood and used correctly it can be an extremely effective marketing tool. Here are a few truths of the industry and how they can help your next collaboration.

What is Influencer Marketing?

In order to understand influencer marketing, it’s important to recognize how the creators see themselves and what makes their work valuable.

At Freestak, we believe influencer marketing is one of the most effective and authentic ways for brands to reach an audience. For this reason, we maintain an exclusive community of creators who uphold a passion for their sport and content.

According to @iris_trainer, “a true influencer is someone who actually lives the lifestyle they represent with passion, dedication and top-notch education.”

Influencer marketing allows brands to connect to the consumer on a more personal, relatable level by collaborating with key leaders in the industry who speak directly to the target market.

Influencers should be normal people, doing extraordinary things that also, actually use the product.” @DavidSandel

As influencer marketing continues to grow, on track to become a $10 billion industry by 2020, more brands are beginning to recognize its potential and authenticity as a method of marketing.

“Influencer marketing as a whole is extremely important for brands to get the word out about their products or services,” @thecodycore said. “It creates a direct stream from their content to the millions of viewers on social media.”

Influencers are real people.

There are many myths surrounding influencer marketing, including the persona of top influencers to all be Instagram famous or professional athletes. When in fact, the most influential creators are ordinary people who share many of the same passions and struggles as their followers.

“Influencers walk amongst us, especially micro-influencers,” @thisbunnyruns said. “It might be your friend, your sister, someone from your university year, or a person who goes to your gym.” 

Additionally, micro-influencers have seven times the engagement rate on Instagram as influencers with larger audiences.

“I think people, and companies, are realizing [macro-influencers] are only a very small percentage of their market,” @Rollingontwowheels said. “If you can show a regular Joe using the kit, I think it makes it more real and acceptable to own it yourself.”

Consumers trust authentic influencers over large marketing ads.

By selecting genuine, trustworthy influencers for your campaign, it has the power to directly impact your target audience. Content creators who have formed a close connection with their followers have not only developed an honest relationship but are more relatable and looked upon for advice.

“I believe that this type of marketing truly is the future as opposed to traditional marketing,” @theurbanchallenger said. “People will always rather listen to someone they trust or like rather than an ad from anywhere.”

According to the Digital Marketing Institute, nearly half of consumers “depend on influencer recommendations” to determine which products to purchase.

“People buy people, not an advert,” @confessions_of_a_runner said. “Deep brand advocacy from role models in that sector is worth more than a paid TV ad.”

Influencers value their athletic journey over free kit.

For content creators throughout the Freestak community, collaborating with brands is not all about the free kit. It’s sharing an athletic journey with products they believe in.

A misconception @blandontherun believes many people assume about influencers is that they’re all just “pretty people oversharing.” When in reality, influencers who are truly passionate about their sport maintain training as their main focus.

“I wish they understood that for many, the sport and training come first,” @blandontherun said. “The influencer side of things is to assist us in getting better at our sport and helping brands get better at what they do.”

Authentic content creators have built an honest reputation with their followers because they have put their passions first and only collaborate with brands they support. 

“It is very important to me to only work with brands that I personally use and genuinely believe in,” @suchosoft said. “I want to be able to honestly promote products that I think will benefit others.”

Being a successful influencer requires effort and dedication.

From hours spent building their personal brand, ensuring authenticity, and writing blogs to negotiate deadlines, organizing content, and training, influencers balance multiple responsibilities when collaborating with brands.

For @thisbunnyruns, she is not always convinced there is recognition for the effort and hard work that goes into being a content creator. 

“Whilst users may see #gifted, #ad or AD on a post, they don’t see the hours of consistent dedication and effort from an influencer which got them noticed by a brand, or the hours taken to create and refine that post,” she said.

@thisbunnyruns is proud to use #ad or #gifted on her posts because it represents her decision to collaborate with brands that align with her values and passions. 

“As an influencer you have a responsibility to be ethical, honest, [selective] and authentic,” @thisbunnyruns said.


  • Influencer marketing is continuing to grow as an industry.
  • Authentic micro-influencers have been researched to have higher engagement than influencers with mass followings.
  • Consumers are relying heavier on influencers when it comes to purchase decisions.
  • Maintaining passion for their sport is more important to influencers than sacrificing it for free product.
  • For many influencers #ad represents hard work, dedication and passion for a brand.

For more information and a free 30 minute consultation on what we could do for your brand, please contact simon@freestak.co.uk.


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