In today’s society, it’s interesting to see how much influencing power a young social media curator has compared to a high-profile celebrity. How can this be? Aside from traditional media, companies are turning to influencer marketing as a way to “voice” their message and better reach their targeted audiences. It’s often said that it’s one of the best ways to be heard amongst the crowd.

What is influencer marketing? By definition, influencer marketing is the process of developing relationships with so-called “influencers.” The influencers can help improve both credibility and authority for your business. Ultimately, influencer marketing consists of the opinions of thought leaders or industry experts. The influencers contribute legitimate content to spark industry conversations. If it’s flawed, untrustworthy or completely inaccurate, then it’s not influencer marketing. This is one reason why consumers are turning away from traditional advertising, such as ads, and to other outlets they can trust at face value. As consumers gain more power in their purchasing decisions, they are turning to opinion-related answers from other individuals. Influencers are more personable, and marketers are drawn toward the transparency.

In some cases, many would argue businesses can hire an actor/actress to promote their brand through a commercial, radio announcement, etc. Wouldn’t they be heard more using the face of someone most people know and trust? Surprisingly, this is not always the case. More people are turning to avenues like social media, including YouTube and other video outlets, to increase brand awareness through engagement efforts and social campaigns.

By using social media platforms, companies are better able to identify influencers while leveraging influencer marketing. For example, most companies will look at the number of followers a person has or the number of likes on their social media pages. But, having a large number of followers isn’t going to convince a company this is the right person to market their brand. Rather, the influencer’s creditability and expertise, including the relationships with their followers, will determine whether an influencer is right.

Take a look at Michelle Phan, digital pioneer and entrepreneur in the realm of fashion and beauty. Michelle began her call to fame by posting how-to and DIY videos to YouTube. Her expertise in the field and personal beauty tips allowed viewers to connect with her passionate personality on a personal level. She wasn’t paid to do these videos nor was she a Hollywood star. As a result, Michelle Phan now has over 7.5 million subscribers. She was also featured in Forbes Magazine’s “30 Under 30 Coolest Entrepreneurs of 2015.”

In more recent years, companies are turning to Google AdWords as a way to promote their brand and attract visitors to their site. This is a great tool to promote your ads, maximizing relevancy and directly relating to individual needs. On the flip side, Google AdWords may promote your campaigns, but it won’t spread your message like influencer marketing can. In this age with so many competitors, getting your brand messaging out there in real-time is a crucial piece of the puzzle.

According to a survey conducted by Tomoson.com, “Influencer marketing was rated as the fastest-growing online customer-acquisition channel, beating organic search, paid search and email marketing.”

So, why are some companies hesitant to take advantage of this? Like any authoritative figure, credibility is everything. Some businesses fear that putting trust in the average Joe to take their brand to the next level may result in less than stellar work. What if the campaign doesn’t excel the way they first imagined? Like all companies, it takes time to build a brand and promote awareness. The process is a matter of “how” they are going to do it and “who” is best suited to help them achieve the end reward.