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What is a Social Media Influencer?

A short while ago, the phrase social media influencer didn’t exist. Now, it’s a job title and an attractive occupation to young people who want to get a large following on social media and free gifts.

But what actually is a social media influencer, and where did the term come from? Should the title be considered a job position, or is it only a hobby?

What is a social media influencer?

A social media influencer is hard to define, as if you googled the phrase you would be bombarded with all different types of definitions. However, the main meaning of the role is to be a personality on social media, with an engaged audience that they’ve built through great content sharing.

According to Mediakix, an influencer must be ‘a content creator with a social media following’. They ‘develop a following by sharing high quality content that inspires, entertains, informs, and connects them with their followers’. Finally, influencers should ‘start social conversations, drive engagement, and set trends amongst a receptive audience, which positions them to work with brands on sponsored content.’

Good influencers have built their own brand, collated a huge following and are responsible for a lot of people’s trust, as well their own reputation. They have a lot of respect for their followers as they have helped to contribute to their career.

Why would you want to be a social media influencer?

We’ve all dreamt of being in a swimsuit, lazing on a pink, sandy beach, with a revitalising smoothie in one hand and an exotic print fan in the other. But why do people become social media influencers? What do they get from promoting products?

The draw is free stuff. Social media influencers get free visits to restaurants, free clothes from brands to wear, free stays at five-star hotels and even free make-up and skin care products. It’s the dream of every young individual to be paid to travel and experience the best of life, by simply posting pictures to their Facebook and Instagram every day.

Where do social media influencers exist?

Social media influencers can exist on any platform that allows a following, that means Facebook, Youtube, Snapchat, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter are all up for influencing grabs. Each platform offers a different type of following, so each influencer offers a different kind of service.

Going live, posting videos and sharing dreamy images all seem to be the criteria of a social media influencer’s content, so Instagram does seem to be the most popular platform for the influencing service.

What type of social media influencers are there?

There are different types of social media influencers depending on the number of followers an individual has.


Nano is a fairly new category for influencers to be broken down into. Nano-influencers are social media users with 1,000 to 10,000 followers. They have the smallest following out of the different types of influencers.


Micro-influencers have anything between 10,000 to 50,000 followers on their social media platform.


On the other hand, macro-influencers have between 500,000 to 1,000,000 followers!


Mega-influencers have the highest number of followers, without being of celebrity status. They can have a following of anything between 1,000,000 to 5,000,000!

What is Influencer Marketing?

Companies can use influencers for their own promotional benefit – it’s called Influencer Marketing. This type of advertising has been around for a few years, but has recently really taken off with the popularity of Instagram. However, Influencer Marketing can be dated back to the early 20th century because of the type of advertising it is – brands that use personas for an emotional effect to influence people to buy their product or use their service. Think of the use of Santa Claus in the Coca-Cola adverts.

The unique update that Influencer Marketing has brought to marketing is that a brand ambassador or influencer can be anyone, not necessarily a celebrity. The social media floor is open to anyone that can gain a following and have a business back them. Interestingly in 2018, a study found that only 4% of people trusted celebrity endorsements. HubSpot suggest that such a small percentage of trust is because customers and clients ‘prefer to seek product and service recommendation from those who are, above all, knowledgeable and credible’. These are the qualities that social media influencers have or replicate on their profiles. Social media influencers are ordinary people, like you and me, who have worked hard to be where they are. There’s less of a divide between customers and influencers, than there is with celebrities. Having constant access to someone’s life through Instagram Stories, diary entries on Youtube or Snapchat updates makes them seem more real and accessible. You know all about a person’s life, or seemingly what they’d like you to know, through their social media.

Is being a social media influencer successful?

Social media influencers gain popularity as they promote more and more brands to the point that the brands start to promote them. Many social media influencers have gone on to create their own businesses and products and sold them to their massive followings.

For example, Kayla Itsines, a personal trainer became an entrepreneur through social media and now boasts a following of 11.8 million! She shares workout videos, inspirational messages and fitness and diet tips to her followers. To say her career as a social media influencer is successful would be an incredible understatement.

Using a social media influencer is great for companies that want to attract a new or target audience. For example, according to MediaKix, Tiffany and Co. saw an 8%+ engagement rate when they partnered with an influencer who was a popular photographer on Instagram. Jack Morris (@doyoutravel) has 2.7 million followers and rose to fame by posting dreamy photos of his travels. He is renowned for his life as a travel blogger and influencer and only works with brands that he thinks are in line with what he does – travel.

For more information on Influencer Marketing or if you want to discuss and take advantage of the new and popular way to market, please get in contact with us today.