With more choice than ever in consumer goods, brands are turning to individuals who will promote products to their large social media fan base.

Each new trend is often an iteration of a previous way of doing things. Companies have long used celebrity endorsement to advertise their brands to customers, but influencer marketing is a bit different.

Made possible through social media, the influencer is not necessarily famous, but they do have a huge online following, whether that’s on a blog or vlog (video blog), Instagram or Facebook. These are people whose full time job is to review or demo products to their fans and followers. And it can be incredibly powerful.

Influencer marketing is based on a relationship between the influencer and their fans. They tread the fine line of balancing the needs of the brand and maintaining the trust of their fan-base. Authenticity is vital and that’s where live-streaming comes in. Because live-streaming is unedited, it is seen as more authentic and real.

China’s top live-streaming influencer, Viya is a Key Opinion Leader (KOL). She has built up a follower base on Taobao of nearly 6.5 million in just 3 years. Her followers, who are all ages, are ready to buy whatever she recommends. In a livestream event in August, Viya facilitated the sale of tens of millions of products from more than 40 New Zealand and Australian brands to her millions of fans.