What Even is an Influencer?

If you were lucky enough to be born in the pre-digital era when a “computer room” in your house was still a thing AND had a creative spark to make a webpage, blog or digital journal then you just might be one of the OG influencers like Rumi Neely or Lauryn Evarts Bosstick. Vogue was (and probably still is) where you got your trend forecasts and the glossy pages raved of exclusivity. Now we have social media, I’m looking at you Instagram and Tik Tok. Influencers are the new trend forecast and almost anyone can become one with a little blood, sweat, and wifi.

In 2005 there were about 1.5 billion individuals using the internet which has increased to 53.6 billion in 2019. That’s a lot of potential eyes viewing your GRWM video. While the influencer industry can still be considered fairly new, high-end brands from Louis Vuitton, Dior, and Sephora to local boutiques are taking notice. 

How it Works: An influencer produces content in the form of pictures or videos that are posted to social media that a big group of people (their “followers”) like. These brands take notice of their influence and collaborate and gift these individuals with items from their collections that can be posted and seen. The more views/impressions = the more sales. Not only do they need to gift to the right individual, but their content must also align with the brand. The influencers must have a good engagement rate and in theory, they also know what their audience likes and dislikes based on their engagement rates and comments. It is not always enough to post a picture of themselves. It must be aesthetically pleasing, and trendy, and if its really good it enhances their image and their own brand as an influencer. 

Why it Works: As much as many of us would like to be original, we are heavily influenced by the people around us, even if they don’t have a million followers. We like our best friend’s hairstyle or our cousin’s band tee from that concert you weren’t able to go to, or we hate that midi skirt our mom loves just because she is our mom. Regardless, your thoughts are being guided by another person. Influencing is just that.

As much as this sounds like a huge marketing ploy, which is kinda is, influencers really just want to be your big sister who has the coolest jeans that she lets you borrow. But instead of going into her closet while she’s not home, you buy your own pair at the store. These recommendations turn into sales and this is why brands partner with these content creators because it truly does work. 

Now there are even panels that discuss being an influencer and what this new industry looks like (tips hat towards Create and Cultivate and The Daily Front Row). There are even influencer trips to destinations around the world so that content creation can be easy for the influencers. The brand gets major exposure for the trip and long after as the pictures are continuously posted.

Moral of the story, hop on the bandwagon, it’s kind of fun up here. 

And if you ever want a good laugh, check out Influencers in the Wild on Instagram.. you won’t be disappointed.




*Disclaimer: opinions are my own, photos of Rumi Neely, Lauryn Bosstick and Influencers in the Wild are not my own

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