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Let’s Talk About Influencers

When you hear the word “influencer,” what is the first thing that comes to mind? A celebrity you know and admire? Or maybe it’s a fitness instructor whose programs you’ve tried and loved. In this article, we will dive deep into what an influencer is. 

A Brief History of Influencers

Let’s start with a definition of what an influencer is. One definition is an individual or object that affects others, both living and inanimate. In the marketing world, an influencer is a person who, through social media, raises the interest of potential consumers of a product or service by promoting and endorsing said service with the end goal being a successful sale.

  The power of influence has grown exponentially with the birth of social media and the Internet. Still, the truth is, it began long before the days of having information at your fingertips. Before we tapped an icon on our smartphones and tablets or typed some keywords into a search bar, information and inspiration travelled by word of mouth and newspapers. An example of an early influencer is the world-renowned French fashion designer Coco Chanel. Later on, we will delve into the social media influencer world, but first, let’s jump into the different categories of influencers found on social media. 

Four Different Categories of Influencers By Size 

Now that we’ve covered the definition and history of an influencer, let’s take a look at the different categories of influencers by size, and by size, we mean the different stages of influencers defined by their social media following. There are four categories:

  1. Mega Influencer: Starting at the top, a mega influencer is an individual with a strong social media presence and a following of over 1 million.
  2.     Macro Influencer: Following behind the mega influencer category is the macro influencer, who has 100,000 to one million followers. These two categories, mega and macro, are the two leaders of the driving force which is the promotion and marketing of oneself and their brand on social media.
  3.     Micro Influencer: Micro-influencers are the second to last category of influencers. They have a following of 1,000 to 100,000 followers.
  4.     Nano Influencer: The final category is the nano influencer category. Nano influencers have less than 1,000 followers and are at the beginning of their influencer journey, while micro-influencers are somewhere in the middle of the categories of nano and macro.

The latter two categories of influencers, micro and nano, are at the beginning of their influencer journey, but they both have the chance and the potential of becoming a macro or mega influencer. It’s like the old saying says, “You have to start somewhere.” All of these influencers have put in the time and effort to grow their brand and online presence. 

Influencers vs. Creators vs. Celebrities: Are They All The Same Thing? 

The short answer is no, but also yes. Creators craft content for the dual purposes of creation and then sharing their craft online. Where influencers are concerned, their objective is to grow their respective trademarks while also drawing attention to their lives. Influencers will pick a forte that they specialize in, and present the information that makes them stand out from competitors in the same niche. Distinguishing a unique online presence, the social influencers will then see an increase in their followers. If you prove yourself to be an expert in your chosen field, people will keep coming back because they have an interest in what you’re doing and want to learn more. Some examples of content are fashion, an aptitude for cooking, and workout regimens.

   We’ve covered creators and influencers, now let’s flip our attention over to celebrities and how they are an influence online.

    In terms of celebrities’ following on social media, they gain followers because these individuals enjoy their art forms of music, film, television shows, or a mix of the three. However, celebrities don’t just promote their current projects on their social media, they also use their online presence to call attention to social issues and current events happening in the world, often explicitly stating support and solidarity for those being affected.

  Are these three groups the same thing? They’re alike in the way that they share their passions online, and creators and influencers are celebrities in their own right because they have come onto the social media scene with something to say about the passions that are so important to them. We all have a story and we all have something to say. By using social media platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, Tumblr and YouTube, to name a few, we can reach a broader audience and connect with others who are like-minded in the way that they share the same interests, but we also have the chance to connect with those who are unfamiliar with our respective specialties but are open-minded to learning new things. 

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How Do Influencers Make Money?

Before we dig into how influencers generate income, it should be noted that everyone is different. Just as what works for one person in a fitness setting, it is not guaranteed that it will work in the same way for others. For example, one person might see their desired results in resistance training with weights, while another achieves the same results with the bodyweight training regimen of calisthenics.

   To continue with our fitness example, an influencer who is a dancer may post videos of a choreographed routine with an invitation to their followers to learn the choreography and share the videos with them. The dancer could also be a brand ambassador for a company that designs clothing for dancers and will promote the clothing and the brand by sharing photos or videos of themselves wearing the garments as they dance. This is where social media is powerful because, in addition to sharing stories and forming a connection with their audience, the followers will see their idols (influencers) wearing these pieces and will want to invest in them as well.

Who Are Some Big Ones? 

When it comes to the different pools of influencers, many have been deemed as an inspiration, both for their careers and the knowledge they have about their respective fields. 

Fitness: 

  1. Lucy Lismore: 376K subscribers on YouTube and 107K followers on Instagram. 
  2. Sofie Barnova: 98.1K subscribers on YouTube and 24.8K followers on Instagram.
  3. Tara Meyer: 707 subscribers on YouTube and 20.3K followers on Instagram.

Music: 

  1. Neoni: 408K subscribers on YouTube and 286K followers on Instagram
  2. SZA: 4.3M subscribers on YouTube and 17.6M followers on Instagram
  3. Piper Landon: 624 subscribers on YouTube and 1M followers on Instagram

Beauty: 

  1. Olivia Jade: 1.78M subscribers on YouTube and 1.2M followers on Instagram
  2. Safiya Nygaard: 9.85M subscribers on YouTube and 2M followers on Instagram
  3. Huda Kattan: 4.13M subscribers on YouTube and 2.8M followers on Instagram

Popular Influencer Platforms

Thus far, we have covered a history of what influencers are, the four different categories of influencers by size, the differences and similarities between creators, influencers, and celebrities, how influencers make money, and who are some big social influencers. Lastly, we are going to take a look at where the biggest influencers can be found. 

Platform #1: YouTube

YouTube first came on the scene in 2005. Eighteen years after its launch, the video-streaming giant is still going strong, and one can find every topic known to man in terms of influencers. In addition to the categories mentioned earlier, viewers can find clips from favourite films, TV shows, or news stories about current events. 

Platform #2: LinkedIn

LinkedIn was opened in 2003, and a good way to describe our second platform is to think of it as a dating website for jobs and employment opportunities. Members of this platform can include education, work experience, as well as skills, for example, SEO, to help narrow their job search. Another course of action influencers can take is to promote written pieces of content such as blogs to gain more followers and thus increase their presence on LinkedIn. 

Platform #3: Instagram

Released in 2010, Instagram is used by influencers, creators, and celebrities alike, and is a great way to share and build business ventures, such as podcasts. Instagram influencers use their accounts to draw attention to their podcasts through posts on their pages or by sharing a link to the podcast in their stories. 

Platform #4: Twitter 

Like YouTube and LinkedIn, Twitter made its debut as a social media platform in the early 2000s, and in July 2023, underwent a rebranding and is now known as the platform X. This is another platform used by influencers to promote their brands and increase their online presence. On this platform, written posts, videos, and photos can be shared and reshared to draw more attention to an influencer and their products or companies. 

Call to Action: Know Your Passion 

The goal of this article was to give a deeper understanding of what an influencer is. If you’re an influencer who is just starting, know your passion and share it with the world, because that is what will make the world a better place.

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