If you haven’t jumped on the social media marketing train, you’re missing out. This type of marketing can increase brand awareness, grow your business and ultimately drive conversions and sales. With the shift from traditional marketing to online, skipping out on influencer marketing means losing out on a big, juicy piece of the pie.

As influencer marketing is still relatively new, there are a lot of unanswered questions surrounding the topic. What does it take to be an influencer? How much does it cost? How do brands and influencers connect? Whether you’re already engaged in social media marketing or just want to dip your toe in, the following influencer marketing FAQ’s may help you get started.

What types of influencers are there?

There are many different types of influencers who serve different purposes. Just like with celebs, there are the ones that you follow because they’re good sources of information and there are the ones you follow because they’re train wrecks. The type you use for your campaigns should reflect your brand. For example, if your company is more serious in nature (and you’re trying to stay that way), you probably don’t want to collaborate with Kesha or the “Cash me ousside” girl.

When looking for an influencer, make sure the type you choose can help you achieve your goals. Here are some examples of the types of influencers you will encounter:

Public Figure- This type of influencer is one who has an already established following either as a celeb or as a public figure outside of social media. They often have the most extensive reach in terms of followers and exposure. They are also typically the priciest to work with.

Instigator- Instigators typically work well with brands who are looking for someone outspoken and opinionated. Their strong and sometimes viral voice can attract both positive and negative attention. If you’re the type of brand who believes that any publicity is good publicity, this type of influencer might be a good match.

Friend- Some influencers have built their following simply by being friendly. They’re social experts who have a knack for networking and forming online relationships. Their lifestyle-based content makes them very trustworthy to their followers. A sponsored post from this type of influencer often appears more genuine than from a celeb.

Authority Figure- Authority figures are experts on a specific topic or niche. Their influence stems from sharing their extensive knowledge with their followers. This niche can be as narrow as booty workouts (@JenSelter) or as general as humour (@thefatjewish).

What are the best industries for influencer marketing?

While social media marketing can be applied to almost every industry out there, some industries pair more seamlessly than others. An influencer showing off a dress or a weight loss tea is a little more natural than them showing off the latest fridge or dishwasher.

It’s no surprise then that the highest value in social media marketing is in consumer packaged goods. This includes food, apparel/retail and tourism.

What type of influencer collaborations exist?

There are many ways for influencers and businesses to collaborate. The type you choose should be picked based on your end goal and budget.

Sponsored Content- This type of collaboration entails the influencer posting content on social media that highlights and reviews product.

Co-Created Content- This one requires a little more work on the influencer’s part. In this situation, the brand and the influencer would work together to produce creative and engaging content. The benefits of this type of collaboration is that you’re getting the expertise from both sides resulting in (hopefully) pretty rad content.

Shared Content- This is probably the easiest type of collaboration for influencers to take part in. In this case, the influencer shares the brand’s existing content on their social media.

Giveaways- Giveaways require the influencer to- you guessed it- give away product or a discount code to offer their followers as part of a promotion. This type of collaboration can be designed to attract followers, spike engagement or boost sales.

What are some red flags to look out for when searching for an influencer?

When looking for an influencer, it’s important to know that, just like that guy on Tinder, they may not be who them claim to be. Between buying followers/likes and having inconsistent account activity, some “influencers” aren’t influencers at all.

For this reason, it’s important for you to do your research. Examine their pages and follower engagement to really get a comprehensive understanding of what they can do for your brand.

How do brands and influencers connect?

While brands and influencers can certainly cold message each other to collaborate, it wastes a ton of time and can make you want to pull your hair out. Luckily, there are tools available that make connecting much easier.

Apps like Rep (plug!) do all the tedious work for you. Rep is a 100% free marketplace where brands and influencers can connect. Influencers specifically interested in monetizing their accounts through collaborating with brands are on the app making it easy for them to be found.

Are there any guidelines or restrictions for influencers promoting a product?

The short answer is hell yes. Quite a few influencers have gotten into hot water by the Federal Trade Commission over this one and so it’s important to understand what legal guidelines you’re bound by.

To avoid deceiving their followers, influencers must disclose that a sponsored post is a paid message. The very least you can do is prominently including hashtags like #paid, #ad, or #sponsored in your caption. Let ’em know.

What makes influencer marketing better than traditional online marketing?

While there are a ton of benefits to influencer marketing, there is one that stands out as being the most logical. In a 2016 Ad Blocking Report, it was found that there were almost 200 million active ad blockers around the world. This means that the ads brands are spending boatloads of money on aren’t being seen. To make it even worse, only about 35% of consumers claim to trust company made ads as opposed to a whopping 90% who trust peer recommendations when it comes to their purchase decisions.