What are social media influencers?

The concept of using influential and well-known personalities, also known as influencers, to endorse or help sell a product is not new, but, relatively, the term “influencer” is. Because of this, there’s still some debate around what qualifies a person to be considered an influencer, and the definition might continue to change a little over time. What is widely agreed is that an influencer is someone who is perceived to have the ability to influence the purchasing behaviour of a particular audience.

And what about influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing has grown in popularity over recent years and evolves along with the popularity of various channels: while bloggers are considered by some to be the original influencers, the term is now more commonly applied to those who are active on social media like Instagram, Twitter, and increasingly video-driven platforms like YouTube and TikTok. Influencer marketing itself takes many forms, from simple paid product placements and endorsements to more complex and carefully coordinated campaigns in which influencers engage with a product, service or event by interacting with it more organically in content aligned to their own style of engagement with their audiences.

Are they determined by the size of their following?

Within the definition of “influencer” are a number of more precise definitions that attempt to narrow down the broader concept. “Micro influencers” and “nano influencers” are among these, with a micro influencer generally defined as having 1000 to 100 000 followers or audience members, and a nano-influencer having between 1000 and 10 000. These sub-groups are sometimes seen to have a more potent influence over their smaller audiences because they are perceived by their audiences to have a strong, genuine interest in a topic with which they’re linked. For example, a micro influencer in the wine industry may reach a smaller audience than a better-known media personality would, but be better-equipped to speak with authority on the topic of wine and influence purchases among those who buy wine according to its specific merits rather than following more surface-level brand associations.

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