What is an Influencer?

An influencer is an individual who has the power to affect the purchase decisions of others because of his/her authority, knowledge, position or relationship with his/her audience. An individual who has a following in a particular niche, which they actively engage with. The size of the following depends on the size of the targeted audience

Types of Influencers

Celebrities

Influencer marketing grew out of celebrity endorsement. Businesses have found for many years that their sales usually rise when a celebrity promotes or endorses their product due to the number of people following their posts across multiple social media platforms. There are still many cases of businesses, particularly high-end brands, using celebrities as influencers.

For example: Justin Bieber’s Instagram post with Calvin Klein

Industry Experts

Industry leaders and thought leaders gain respect because of their qualifications, position, or experience about their topic of expertise.

  • Academics
  • Industry experts
  • Professional Advisors

Bloggers and Content Creators

There are many highly influential blogs on the internet. If a popular blogger positively mentions a business’s product or services in a post, it can lead to the blogger’s supporters wanting to try out/buy the product or service.

For instance, there are highly influential blogs about personal development, health, music, and many other topics as well as this blog for uni work.

Micro Influencers

Micro influencers are normal everyday people who have become known for their knowledge about some specialist niche. As such, they have usually gained a sizeable social media following amongst devotees of that niche. Of course, it is not just the number of followers that indicates a level of influence, it is the relationship and interaction that a micro influencer has with his/her followers.

An example of this is Micky Parker who posts content relating to the niche of working out and lifestyle with a strong interaction from her followers through her Instagram stories and comments on her photos.  

What Are Influencers in Social Media?

According to the 2019 Global Digital Statshot from We Are Social, Worldwide social media user numbers have grown to almost 3.5 billion people at the start of 2019, that’s 45% of the world’s population are now social media users, resulting to the dramatical increase companies using online influencers in their online marketing campaign to change the way people look at their product or service and to guide the consumer.

Social media influencers are a new type of independent, third part endorsers who shape a particular audience’s attitudes, opinions and beliefs through verbal, written and videos on social media channels such as Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. Social Media Influencers create content to promote certain brand’s products or services and are usually compensated with free products or monetary gains depending on the size of their audience.

“The success of social media influencers is vitally important to brands; therefore, technology has been developed to identify and track influencers relevance to a brand or organisation. This technology tracks the number of hits on a blog, times a blog is shared, likes and comments, and followers. All of these points are pivotal aspects of a social media influencer’s success”.

Fredberg

Influencer’s Impact on Brands

Brands have always had a focus on targeting their consumers’ wants and needs. Thus it is integral for the brand to choose the right influencer to promote the correct image of the brand in order for that brand to grow their social influence and build direct relationships with its key consumers and encourages brand loyalty. While a brand will never have direct control over their online reviews and conversation, The use of an influencer provides a direct voice to the consumer via social media outlets.

Social Media Influencers Ethical Concerns

Fake Followers

“There’s a one in 10 chance the Instagram personality you follow is an ‘InstaLiar’, with research showing many popular accounts have thousands of fake and inactive followers.”

Jennifer Duke

According to Hypetap found during a sample of 3500 Australian influencers on Instagram, found 13.3 as per cent have not got many fans as they claim. Compared to a Global scale 15.5 per cent of a sample of 10,000 influencer profiles have a fake or disengaged following totalling more than a fifth of their audience, arising ethical issues towards both the brands who pay for their services in order to build online presence, brand awareness as well as conversion for either a purchase of goods or service. On the other hand, the end consumer of these influencer’s content is being deceived on the amount of influence and genuine nature of their account.

Fake Life/Iying Influencers

Fake Social Media Influencer and blogger Belle Gibson was ordered to pay a fine of $410,000 after being found guilty of misleading and deceptive to her following on social media. The act that was brought to The Federal Court of Melbourne. Belle mislead her readers into believing that she had brain cancer and was cured through alternative therapies and nutrition.

“In that way, some good might still come for the vulnerable people, and the organisations supporting them, which were indirectly drawn into this unconscionable sequence of events,”

Justice Mortimer

Ms Gibson made $420,000 after building a social media empire and claiming all profits to go to specific causes. Justice Mortimer said despite significant publicity surrounding Ms Gibson’s charitable pledges, she made only three donations totalling $10,800.

So what do you think?

Do you trust Social Media Influencers? 🤔

Leave your thoughts in the comments below!