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Earned vs. Paid Influencers: What’s the Difference?

Influencer marketing is a smart and effective way to maximize your digital marketing strategy. The content that influencers post is similar to word of mouth recommendations. They come highly trusted and valued by potential customers who want to know more about your products and services. But, what some brands don’t realize is that there are different types of influencers. Knowing the difference will help you achieve your goals. 

  • Earned influencers. These influencers say something about your brand but are not paid to do so. They talk about your products organically because you’ve earned it. 

Earned Influencer Relationships 

Earned influencers can have big or small followings on social media. They offer some of the best exposure because their brand mentions are authentic and genuine. Your audience knows this, and it can help move your brand up in terms of credibility and authority. 

Examples of earned mentions are: 

  • Tweets about your products and services 
  • An Instagram photo with your product 
  • Facebook mentions 
  • A blog post 

Even though you’ve “owned” the mention, the influencer is still doing you a favor. So, take the time to thank them. This shows that you are paying attention and appreciate the positive feedback. 

If you want to use the content on your own site, ask for permission first. You don’t have to pay them for the content, but they still own it. Also, be reasonable about the content you ask for. If you want to embed a few photos on your site, that’s reasonable. If you want to use the photos for an ad campaign, it’s probably not reasonable. 

Paid Influencer Relationships 

Paid influencers offer more freedom because you are paying them to talk about your products and services. But, it’s also sponsored content, so your audience might not find it as trustworthy. 

Working with a paid influencer allows you to reach a new group of people. However, not all influencers will have the same impact on your brand. Choose people who have a relevant following and expertise in your industry. Also, be clear about your goals and timeline. It’s important that both parties have realistic expectations about the relationship. 

As you can see, there are differences between earned and paid influencers. For the strongest influencer marketing strategy, you should have a combination of both earned and paid influencers. For more information about starting an influencer program, contact Go Digital WSI today.