What is an Influencer?

An influencer is someone that has a high level of reputation, authority or expertise in a certain niche. Because of their position they have the power to affect purchasing decisions among those that follow them on social media or other platforms.

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Freepik.com images adapted by Market Business News.

Cambridge Business English Dictionary defines ‘influencer’ as:

“A person or group that has the ability to influence the behaviour or opinions of others”

When you buy something in a shop, do you ever take into consideration a recommendation by an expert? Most of us do. Say you want to buy a new shampoo and your hairdresser just recommended one that she said is “perfect for you”. Would that sway your purchasing decision at all? For a lot of people, it would.

In essence, this is what influencers are: people with credibility on a particular topic and the position to sway purchasing decisions.

A basketball player for the NBA with a significant social media presence would be considered an influencer as they have the means to easily promote a product to all their followers and encourage a specific demographic audience to purchase the product. Because of the NBA player’s unique position and authority in basketball, products they choose to promote or endorse related to the sport will be of interest to their followers.

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Entrepreneurs who liaise with social medial influencers to promote their products or services are involved in social media marketing, which is one of the components of digital marketing.

Influencers by follower number

According to influencermarketinghub, you can separate different types of influencers by follower numbers, by types of content, by the level of influence, as well as the niche in which they operate.

Micro-Influencers – ordinary people with knowledge about a certain niche. They typically have between 1,000 and 40,000 followers on a single social platform.

Macro-Influencers – a step up from micro influencers, macro influencers are those with between 40,000 and 1 million followers on a social network. Macro influencers may be successful online experts or B-grade celebrities.

Mega-Influencers – people with a very high number of followers on their social networks. Mega influencers have more than 1 million followers on at least one social platform. This category includes famous movie stars, sportspeople, musicians and artists.