Over the last decade, social media has played a massive role in everyone’s life. Social media services were introduced as simple platforms to stay connected. However, slowly these applications became more than that, where people found a place to voice their ideas, opinions and beliefs. As the phenomenon of social media grew, people began to realize various ways in which they can utilize this platform, and on the forefront were the social media influencers. Some major platforms for these influencers include Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, among which Instagram remains the biggest platform.
Instagram has grown into a social media staple where people have become celebrities in a matter of weeks. These people were later termed “social media influencers”. These influencers are not only a source of inspiration to their followers but have also become critical to businesses and brands on creating a good online repute. “Social media influencers (SMIs) represent a new type of independent third party endorser who shape audience attitudes through blogs, tweets, and the use of other social media”.
Any person can become a famous influencer by building a following around his/her passion. The main characteristic of an influencer is to be an expert in a particular subject or industry. Through the platform, influencers can create a space where their followers can interact with them as well as voice their concerns. An influencer knows how to respond to such concerns through his/her content.
A social media influencer does not exist only to advertise for other companies. Instead, influencers have introduced the concept of self-branding where they work on creating an image that people find relatable. The more an influencer is credible and authentic, the more people will follow him/her.
Every influencer produces different content. From blogging about food and updating people about the latest fashion trends to giving people fitness tips, these influencers have found a way to reach a wider audience and communicate with them. Some of the influencers have become as famous as celebrities, leading them to use their name to create their products and sell them.
For instance, a famous Youtuber Irfan Junejo collaborated with a well-known clothing brand, Zelbury, to launch his line of limited merchandise that sold out soon after its launch because of Junejo’s clout. The image of these influencers depends on their relationship with their audience which they build through the years. Doing so takes time and energy, which is why being an influencer can be turned into a full-time job that can generate a decent amount of money.
Influencers play a huge role in a content marketing strategy. People have started to turn towards online recommendations instead of self-promotions by brands, which has created an opportunity for influencers. Due to their massive reach, influencers have the power to boost brand awareness. Well-known brands, as well as startups, are putting their faith in the famous influencers to advertise their product in a creative way that can grab the interest of the consumer. This can be achieved either by paying these influencers or collaborating with them.
A few years ago influencers were not given due importance, but lately, they have gained the limelight they deserve. People have come to realize the impact they can have on a larger scale. Influencers have begun to act as representatives on multiple forums. Recently in Pakistan, the Prime Minister met with the top social media influencers to relay his message to the Pakistani youth, a large chunk of which follows these celebrities.
The inability to see social media influencers for their potential has quickly changed over the last few years. Influencers have the power to change people’s perceptions through their expertise and the world is ready to make use of their influence.