What’s an ‘influencer?’

Firstly, what IS an Influencer?

Influencer marketing is a form of social media marketing involving endorsements and product placements from influencers, people and organizations who possess an expert level of knowledge and/or social influence in their respective fields!

There are generally two types of influencers – celebrity and micro.

The term “influencer” may seem like a fairly new addition to our lexicon, but first uses date back to the 1660s. Still, its application to social media—relatively new in its own right—is a more recent phenomenon.

While the ‘very first’ commercial influencer may be lost somewhere in the annals of history, product packaging and magazine adverts of yesteryear provide a breadcrumb trail that tracks the early evolution of influencer marketing. From Aunt Jemima, to the Marlboro Man, to Santa Claus, fictitious characters have offered tried and true ways to establish a personalized connection between products and consumers. Eventually, these influential spokespersons led to the modern social media influencer – someone who has built a sizable following across one or more social media channels.


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Whats a Micro Influencer?

Micro influencers can have their specific niches, like travel, beauty or vegan but there are also ‘lifestyle and parenting’ influencers, whose brand may cut across large swaths of these sections!

Micro influencer marketing is the use of what many people would consider ‘everyday people’ to promote specific products on social media. Those products can range from clothing, food, or a new service or day out.

One of the reasons why micro influencer marketing has become an option is that surveys have suggested that people trust advice and recommendations from other people that they know and trust. For example, Nielsen’s 2015 Global Trust in Advertising study found that the most credible form of advertising came from other people.


Whats a Celebrity Influencer?

While Micro and Celeb Influencer both perform the same essential function (to advertise) the former has access to a large audience across multiple demographic sections!


The reality of the Influencer Culture

I feel the ‘influencer’ term these days is thrown about far too easily because people gain fame too easily, for example, being young, being provocative, for knowing the right people or for no reason at all!

There is a lot of emphasis from lots of influencers whether micro or celebrity in just mass buying of products – which I understand as that’s their job – I just feel that people of influence could really help the community and causes (people do of course but some don’t and can make it dangerous for those vulnerable into achieving an unrealistic lifestyle)

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Why do marketers like ‘Influencers?’

The marketing world seeks out influencers, popular social media moguls, and micro influencers, those with smaller followings and seem more ‘authentic’ to reach their audiences. It’s a sound business plan!

General audiences and millennials are willing to try something recommended by the people they know or admire which makes sense as we all prefer recommended items.

Although micro influencers have a significantly smaller social media following (as in tens of thousands rather than millions) they do have the ability to influence purchases and product promotion. Whereas celebrity influencers may have 2M followers (or even 1000M )and boast high impressions, they may not be able to make the same impact in their geographic market area as a micro influencer could as you should already know from your own social media accounts, followers is not everything!

What truly matters is engagement (likes, shares, comments)

Have fun following whoever you want to but always remember that lifelong fame breaks peoples brains in weird ways and some influencers would happily run you over with their sponsored cars not disclosed if they thought it would gain them more followers than they lost – their insincerity and popular quotes or fake images aren’t reality.


Please remember likes aren’t everything.

When social media is based on pictures and likes instead of person to person conversations, it creates a static interference that makes building these meaningful relationships unnaturally challenging. The more social networks we use, the more likely we are to report depression, so it’s important we are wise in our selection.


Fake fake fake

Being online is great and everything but it can be false.

Dovetail Software revealed “16.4 percent of the followers on Instagram’s top 20 accounts were fraudulent.” Meaning, they use bots to go around and like, comment and share content in order to artificially inflate their numbers and increase their followers.

Facebook admitted previously up to 270 million accounts on that platform were fake, and studies have shown between 8–11.5 of active accounts on IG are automated bots accounts being used to artificially inflate other accounts. Facebook-Instagram might say it’s trying to remove them but bots still can actually help them make money. The more they successfully engage a person, the more data is generated, which creates more advertising opportunities for them.

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Just remember:

  • Because someone is doing something awesome they may actually NOT be.
  • Try to sleep while using social media.

  • Online images can be altered – a study published in 2017 measured the relationship between young women’s body image concerns and their overall Instagram use. It revealed, “Greater overall…use was associated with greater self-objectification, and that relationship was mediatedted both by internalization and by appearance comparisons to celebrities.”
  • If someone has bought something fabulous and expensive they may of just sent it back.
  • Sometimes things are ads or gifted people haven’t disclosed.
  • People endorse silly things just as throwing chairs out of tall buildings into traffic or throwing boiling water.
  • Influencers only provide lifestyle porn not reality.
  • People are really insincere and it’s quite sad.
  • The Instagram economy is built around getting free marketing by somehow working their way into whatever’s trending, no matter how unrelated via hashtags for popularity.
  • People forget that followers could be bots or bought people.


Bargain hunt!

For those who like a bargain but don’t want to buy the brand name, remember, there are always cheaper options!

This Christmas I know there will be lots of people buying brands because of consumerism and I feel that we should all remember families make the memories and it’s saddening to see people putting themselves in debt over holidays.

I feel the companies that understand consumerism and the insecurities that they themselves have planted into cultural zeitgeist to make sales. It’s the same aspirational marketing deeply rooted in the assumption of competition and the assumption of scarce resources (even if those resources are attention, love, beauty, or a caring partner) that brands have been doing for decades but just remember even though you’re feeling the pressure that you don’t need what everyone else has but if you want it you can save up to buy it.

Please don’t hurt yourself financially or emotionally being online – if you’re vulnerable seek help.

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