What are Social Media Influencers?
Have you ever asked yourself, “what is an influencer?”
You may have a few people come to mind, maybe it’s one of the Kardashian’s, your favorite YouTuber, or an over-night TikTok star on your For You Page. But let’s face it, today, influencers are dominating across all social media platforms. With metrics showing that 9 out of 10 internet users operate across at least one social media channel. The importance of social media use goes hand-in-hand with how influencers have changed the world we live in today.
Maybe you’ve thought to yourself, “being an influencer isn’t hard”, “it’s not a real job”, “it’s just based off luck”. But with over 4.62 billion social media users as of January 2022, it is increasingly more difficult to get noticed. These influencers have been able to master the tips and tricks to establish their reputation of authenticity to “influence” their following.
Below is TikTok star, Charli Damelio showcasing a promoted post
Most used platforms used by Influencers
Influencers use their knowledge and expertise to promote a multi-verse spectrum of subject matters. Anywhere from trends to products being promoted on their platforms to show followers what is worth their while.
There is NO easy “how to” guide that will turn you into an influencer with the snap of your fingers. However, many influencers follow these tips and tricks to start engaging and creating niche content for their audience, in hopes to grow a stronger following
Defining the 6 Tip
- Establish your Niche: Start small by brainstorming what you are passionate about and interested in (i.e., Health, Fitness, Clothing, Beauty, Gaming, etc.)
- Optimize Social Media Profiles: Clarify your “brand”, update your bio to your niche, use hashtags, and links to your websites
- Determine Target Audience: Analyze account engagement via social media software tools, Research demographic interested based off niche
- Create Content: Upload high quality content of interest to target market, create eye-catching content with clear and concise wordage
- Post Consistent Content: Publish specific niche content via schedule during high traffic social media usage times according to target market
- Be Authentic: Show your true self by promoting subject matters you believe in/would benefit your followers (personal & brands)
Influencers by Numbers
With social media networks having such a large user-rate, influencers are typically placed into categories based on follower count. Like me, you may have thought that when it comes to being an influencer, follower count is the most important ingredient in the recipe for great success. Although, this may not always be the case. A large deal of influencer categories is dependent on influencer to follower relationships. We will take a dive into which provide stronger vs. weaker connections.
Typically, have 10,000 followers or less. Although they have less of a following, these types of influencers are able to bring a strong influence into their local communities. Smaller nano-influencers can be trusted more to promote products, trends, brands, and more that hold authentic value over themselves. Having a smaller following allows these influencers to be better connected with their following. This helps establish a stronger, friend-like relationship between influencer and follower.
A great example of a nano-influencer page is @collegetowncoastal on Instagram. This page is a residential community page that has student representative influencers promoting living at College Town Communities at Coastal. This account has a following of 2k and has a closer relationship with their followers. From posting feed and story posts, to promoting events and giveaways for residents, their Instagram provides an easy way of communication.
One step up from nano-influencers are, micro-influencers. These influencers range from about 10,000 to 100,000 followers on social media platforms. With a little more following, these influencers are able to provide impact to local communities while starting to broaden their engagement to larger audiences. While still being able to make connections with their following, content is now more focused towards a specific niche. Influencers are not yet viewed as a holding a celebrity status but have the impression of being known.
Eloise Mummé – @eloisesfanpage has 38k followers on TikTok, she showcases trendy outfits and promotes fashion-brand PR (public relation) packages on her account.
As the influencer to follower ratio progresses, macro-influencer’s are classified as having anywhere from 100,000 to 1 million followers. A lot more focus is directed towards identified niches and topics that have given success in the past. As follower base increase, and the influencer becomes more well-known, it may be difficult for a single influencer to keep up with communication and follower engagement. As this happened, influencers start to hire marketing managers/teams to assist influencers develop and promote consistent high-quality content.
A clothing brand on Instagram, @lonelyghost (created and founded by Indy Blue (IG: @indyblue_)) has 374k followers, all influenced by its founder. This macro-influencer has reached the engagement required to start her own online Shopping & Retail business.
Before learning about influencers, this is what the typical person believes an influencer is someone who has 1 million+ followers. This level of influencer primarily engages with a decent portion of social media users. With the large amount of follower engagement, it is extremely difficult and almost impossible to communicate with followers. These influencers are viewed more as celebrities than an influential figure. Influencer vs. follower relationship is not as valued. These influencers can be both personal and brand manager influencers, which receive the most attention on social media platforms.
However, with a such high traffic of attention, mistakes and errors never go unnoticed. As a mega-influencer, must thought is required to be put into what is posted. Followers can be your biggest fan or worst enemy.
Kendall Jenner is one of the first mega-influencers that pop into my head. On Instagram @kendalljenner, I find that this influencer/celebrity promotes many different brands. Anywhere from workout wear to hygiene products. Jenner is promoting these brands to her followers and selling out their product lines. She holds a great influence over her targeted demographics and has great success of marketing towards many niches.
Influencers by Classification
Along with influencer categories, influencer classifications go hand-in-hand. As we previously determined, influencer categories primarily represent the relationship between influencer and followers alongside with follower count. While, influencer classifications represent the overall theme of what the influencer is providing on social. In a sense this could be viewed as a very broad niche.
These classifications/programs can be divided into 2, that provide different influencer tactics.
- Personal Influencers
- Brand Manager Influencers
Introducing Personal Influencers
So what is a personal influencer?
A Personal Influencer can be anyone with a passion or niche that holds influence over others. The personal part comes into play when said influencer(s) decide what they wish to promote, along with where and when to promote it. This type of influencer has a broader choice, there is no limit to what you can post, it is all up to you! As long as you don’t sign any binding contracts with companies for competitor deviation.
Per se you are interested in both fashion and health products, you are not obligated to stick to any one brand unless communicated with or written in a contract. You have free rein to market products that companies send, or that you purchase and try on your own. As a personal influencer, it is up to you and your schedule as to what social media platforms you wish to use and when to promote them.
Many personal influencers can develop as much or as little of a promotion schedule as they wish. They are not required each time to post on specific platforms, times, or product/services, unless discussed prior with brands.
Brands reach out to these influencers for their genuine authenticity, their desire for influencers to give their true opinion of their products/services. is greater than lies just because it was sent to them for free or for a discounted charge. With that being said, many brands do NOT require influencers to post their products/service if they do not love it.
Advantages of Personal Influencing
- Flexible job schedule
- Receive free PR products
- Make money from your passions/niche
- Many different channels to produce specific content
Disadvantages of Personal Influencing
- No guaranteed job
- Uncertain income (popularity determinant)
- Minimal mistakes can be made or failure will pursue
- Must consistently produce interesting content to make money
Get started with Georgie Stevenson’s guide of tips and tricks on how to become an influencer!
Introducing Brand Manager Influencers
So now that we have covered a personal influencer, what is the difference between a personal influencer and brand manager influencer?
A Brand Manager Influencer is a creator directly hired to produce content for a company or brand. This influencer does not have a wide span as to what they can choose to promote. Content that is scheduled to be produced is determined by the specific industry and company/brand is a part of. The role of a Brand Manager Influencer is to grasp the idea of what the company/brand wants being promoted. It is their responsibility to capture the content of what they specifically want and coming up with ideas for future content.
Specific to company or brand policy, there are select options as to what can be posted. With less control of content being produced, there is more control of when a Brand Manager Influencer is scheduled to post. Per company desires, posts can be scheduled from 2-3 times a week to everyday. Posts must be uniquely developed and ready to produced ahead of schedule. Many Brand Manager Influencers follow a “Marketing Plan” which consists of an outline of what is to be posted on a scheduled day. This can be anywhere from a weekly, monthly, or yearly plan. This helps assist these influencers on what to prepare for social accounts.
Advantages of Brand Manager Influencing
- Fast interaction
- Opportunity for creativity
- Guaranteed job (always have work to do)
- Communication with awesome communities, consumers, and fans
Disadvantages of Brand Manager Influencing
- Time consuming
- Ever changing content needing to be produced (creativity)
- Activity “Social media never stops” – Consistency with managing across ALL platforms
Learn how Dominic made his mark as an Influencer Marketing Manager at CrowdMedia!
Social Media Influencer Research Overview
As I have researched the spectrum of features that involve different influencers with my own experience, I hope you were able to get a better understanding of what social media influencers must do to remain relevant and successful. When putting in the work, it can be a very difficult job. If you have ever told yourself you want to become and influencer, start now. Find your niche and post what you are passionate about.
Influencer Market Research Sources