The Influencer Economy

In the realm of digital marketing, it is almost impossible not to stumble upon a unique and quirky bunch of people who call themselves as social media influencers. Social media influencers are a hot topic these days with the ever increasing usage of social media apps such as Instagram and Youtube. So, who are these people, really? Influencers are ordinary people like you and me. What sets them apart is that they usually have quite a large number of audiences following them, and they leverage this to influence or persuade their audience to buy certain products or services. Often, these influencers have established some form of credibility in specific fields relating to the products they endorse, so their recommendations seem genuine and authentic.

Influencers are different from celebrities, in the sense that they do not use their fame or their celebrity status to promote the product. As it was mentioned earlier, they are ordinary people who are just exceptionally good at social media and who can use this aspect of theirs to endorse brands. Perhaps, the most interesting aspect of being a social media influencer is that it pushes common people into becoming social media personalities. The social media influencers are mini celebrities who underplay their popularity to project themselves as unassumingly relatable and likeable neighbours.

As there are always two sides to a story, similarly, there are advantages and disadvantages to being an influencer. The positives include a variety of factors such as gaining recognition, the monetary gains from endorsing a product, and a supply of free products and services from different brands that are vying for you and your followers’ attention. It is indeed a fun little hobby to have. Some influencers do get overboard with the sudden popularity and the riches that are flowing in and tend to overly advertise products that they personally do not believe in. This would often lead to a lot of followers complaining about finding the promoter not-so-relatable anymore. Lack of viewer interest leads to decline in the sudden fame and riches. In this case, it very important to find the right amount of balance that would sustain one’s present and future followers, so that one can keep going on with their little hobby and for some others, it might be their careers.

The concept of social media influencing further branches into micro influencers and nano-influencers. Micro influencers have a relatively smaller amount of following but they are still internet-famous. In the past couple of years, companies have started using the term nanos to describe people who have a very small audience, ranging from a thousand to five thousand. Their lack of fame is what makes them interesting and easy for companies to approach. This is because influencers with a large amount of following, who keep endorsing products, start sounding insincere and their followers often complain that they are doing it for the sake of money and often, even the company loses its brand value with such insincere endorsements.

Hence, companies have now started approaching people with a very minimal amount of following to endorse products because in that way, it seems genuine and similar to a friend giving you trustworthy advice. Companies also find them easier to handle because nanos usually accept whatever the company asks them to do, due to their relatively small social media status. Companies are seeking out such nano influencers because they feel that the influencers on the top tier have heavily saturated content and the homespun quality that once distinguished them and helped them attract millions of followers has been long gone and instead replaced by modern, commercial vibes which more often than not, tends to put off people very easily.

The influencer economy is rife with questionable strategies but it is still a booming sphere because it undoubtedly attracts big money. However, many analysts have commented on this concept saying it is like a castle built on sand waiting for the next tide to wash it away. In this heavily digitised world, the influencer economy is a rather unpredictable one, filled with several ups and downs. However, it is garnering a lot of attention and curiosity due to its comparatively simple ways of attaining recognition and making money.

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