What is an Influencer and Influencer Marketing?


If you have been keeping up with trends, especially on the internet, you would have heard or read about influencers and influencer marketing. This may prompt you to ask the question who or what are influencers?

In this article, we will be taking you on a journey through the history of influencer marketing and giving you first-hand information on who influencers are and what they do.

Who or what is an influencer?

An influencer is any person who can influence the purchase decisions of other people, usually because of their knowledge, authority, relationship, or position.

You can also consider an individual with a massive following in a specific niche that people engage with acting as an influencer. Usually, the size of an influencer following is determined by their focus niche.

However, it is vital to bear in mind that influencers are not marketing tools, but they serve as social relationship assets that brands can collaborate with to achieve their marketing goals.

What are social media influencers?

Over the last 10 to 15 years, we have watched social media grow at a very rapid rate.

According to the Global Digital statshots for August 2019 from We Are Social and Hootsuite, 40% of the Earth’s population, are on social media, which are an alarming 3.028 billion individuals.

Amongst these people are those, who have become celebrities on various social media platforms and can influence the decision-making process of many people.

Social media influencers are people who have built a reputation for their expertise and knowledge on specific topics.

People like this make regular posts on their preferred topic on channels and different social media platforms where people who are enthusiastic about the same topic can engage.

These influences can gather large followings because people can view their content and also leave their questions, suggestions, and opinions as well as interact with other followers.

It is not surprising that brands are great lovers of social media influencers because it is easy for them to create trends and get their followers to either buy or promote any product.

Different Types of Influencers


There are different kinds of influencers, but a majority of them fit into the categories below. With the last one on the list becoming the most essential in recent times:

  • Celebrities
  • Industry experts and thought leaders
  • Bloggers and content creators
  • Micro-influencers

Celebrity influencers

Influencer marketing developed as a result of celebrity endorsements. Over the years, several businesses have discovered that they recorded most sales whenever their products were endorsed or promoted by celebrities.

Today there is almost no high-end brand or business in the world that doesn’t have a celebrity influencer.

The challenge most brands face is difficulty in getting traditional celebrities to participate in influencer campaigns, and even when you find them, they usually come at a high price. The only way a product can quickly get free services from a celebrity influencer is if the celebrity has used the product and likes it, but this really occurs.

One issue people and businesses may have with celebrities as influences are if these celebrities have no credibility with a specific product’s target audiences.

Take, for example, a personality like Selena Gomez will do well recommending a particular cream of acne; however, if she was to serve as an influencer four products that target old people, then she definitely will not appeal to the target audience.

Celebrities indeed have millions of pounds, and extensive social media following is. Nevertheless, it is not sure how much influence they hold over the decision-making of their followers when it comes to certain products.

Industry experts and thought leaders

For industry experts and thought leaders, the reason why they have massive followings on social media is their position, qualification, or experience about the specific topic of their expertise.

The respect that these people gain is because of the reputation of the places where they work. Journalists, for example, who write for major magazines or newspapers, are most likely not experts on the subjects they write a report on.

However, they gain massive following or respect because of the Prestigious publication they work for.

The industry experts who are influencers include:

  • academics
  • journalists
  • professional advisors
  • industry experts

If a business owner can get the attention of a journalist in a major newspaper, who can talk positively about the services rendered by the Business in an article, such a journalist has become an influencer to that business.

The same way bloggers and social media influencers can influence businesses by talking positively about them on their blogs or social media accounts. An extra advantage of getting a journalist to service an influencer to a business is that the article or report that will be written will most likely be free.

Content creators and bloggers also work hand-in-hand with thought leaders and industry experts; that is why it is not uncommon to see such people quoting blog posts. The line between social media and traditional Media is fast blurring.

Bloggers and content creators

For some time now, blogging and influencer marketing has had a secure connection. On the internet today, many influential blogs have massive traffic daily.

Thus, if a famous blogger positively mentions a product, thousands of supporters would want to try out the products. The good thing about bloggers is that they have specific niches which the focus on, thus they have the right audience for products related to those niches.

For example, if you sell supplements or vitamins, it will be easy for you to get the right audience when you have a health blog influence your product.

Similarly, for people who sell children items, it would be easy to get the right audience when you get promoted on a blog that has to do with family and parenting.

One of the ways to influence your product on a blog is either by writing guest posts or by getting them to make a sponsored post for you. The great thing about big blogs and Youtube channels is that they have dedicated followers who are always waiting for them to create new content.

This means you have a high chance of getting the right audience immediately; your product is influence. Also, YouTube is, and bloggers make sure to carry out massive publicity about new posts on various social media platforms, which means that their promotion would not only bring people to view their content but to also see what you have put up on these platforms.


Micro-influencers are the most exciting sets of influences right now. These are everyday people who have become popular on different platforms for their knowledge of a specific topic.

Because of how active they are on social media platforms, they have been able to gather a massive following, and their followers are more devoted than those of celebrities.

A good thing about this set of people is that they not only have a huge following, but they have excellent relationships with the followers as they usually have healthy interactions with them their social media accounts.

Sometimes micro-influencers may decide to influence your products for free, and other times they may require some form of payment. But they often come at a more affordable price than celebrity influencers, bloggers, or thought-leaders.

Choosing the right influencer for your brand depends on what results you seek to achieve.

We hope that you have found this article helpful. Please, do not hesitate to leave a comment below if you have suggestions, opinions, or question, you would like to ask.
We look forward to interacting with you.

Emmanuella Ekokotu
Ella Romena is a content writer, sociologist and Anthropologist who lives in Benin-city.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Trending Now.