What Even Is An "Influencer?"

It seems that nowadays, anyone and everyone has being labeled a social media "influencer." But what even is a social media "influencer?" And what do they do?


A social media "influencer" can be anyone. A blogger, youtuber, celebrity, expert, activist, or enthusiast in any niche.

Let's say you are a woodworking fein and are interested in purchasing new equipment. You want the best equipment, for the lowest prices. You do quick google search and end up on a blog written by a woodworking expert. He steers you in the right direction and offers product recommendations. He is a social media "influencer."

Simply put, the social media influencer's job is to recommend products for consumers, work alongside brands to increase brand awareness, promote a product, and drive up sales. In recent years, these "influencers" have become a huge part of mainstream marketing. With over 3 billion social media users worldwide, "influencers" often have large followings and great outreach.

Every year, more and more companies begin using social media as their sole marketing strategy. Many experts claim that traditional advertising and marketing will die out, with time.

But, you may be wondering, how do "influencers" make money? The answer is simple, social media "influencers" are able to make a substantial income month in a variety of ways. The first being monetization. When a social media "influencer" uploads content to a social media platform and chooses to monetize the post, they earn percentage of the ad revenue.

Social media "influencers" can also earn money through paid sponsorships. If a brand seeks promotion for a new product launch, they often will pay "influencers" to promote the product via Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, etc. In 2016, a whopping 57 percent of beauty/fashion companies surveyed use influencers to market products. An additional 21 percent also stated they planned to add this strategy to their marketing campaigns in 2017.

However, there are critics of the social media "influencer" wave, who state that social media "influencing" will eventually fizzle out. Personally, I doubt this, as influencer marketing and content marketing are projected to be the fastest growing brand activation channels through 2020.

In this day in age, the world is ever-changing. Who knows what will be the next big thing tomorrow? All I can say is that I can't see social media "influencers" going anywhere for a few more years.

Emma Mannal