What is an influencer? Surprisingly, while the word “influencer” may appear to be a relatively new concept, it was first used back in the 1660s.

However, its utilization in social media is relatively new. The “first” commercial influencer may have been lost somewhere in the historical records.

Still, the packaging of products and magazine advertisements of the past gives a hierarchical link that traces the primitive development of influencer marketing.

Be it Santa Claus, Aunt Jemima, or the Marlboro Man, and fictitious characters have always offered ways to develop a connection between products and customers.

These convincing spokespeople gave birth to today’s social media influencers with time. That’s because both fictional characters and social media influencers have a sizable following and can influence their followers.

To put it in a nutshell, social media influencers create and post content on various social media platforms and have a generous amount of followers.

They usually share good quality content that entertains, inspires, or informs their audience and connects with them daily via Posts, Stories, or Live Streams.

Unlike traditional celebrities who only share and discuss their work periodically, online influencers regularly create, post, and interact with their fanbase.

They set trends, drive interest with their audiences, start conversations, and sometimes work with various brands and businesses to promote their products or services.

In addition, the difference in reach, size, content formats, channels, and categories also shape the definition of influencers in various degrees.

Talking about the evolution of social media, its number of channels keeps changing depending on the user’s behavior and expectations over the years.

Whether the platform is Instagram, Twitch, Facebook, or YouTube, each social media platform offers its influencers different ways of creating, publishing, and consuming content.

The ways of engaging with different social media channels also vary.

Thus, the definition of “influencer” is likely to change depending on how social media scenes are constantly changing.

That’s why all the variables must be considered while defining the concept of social media influencers and asking the question ‘what is an influencer?’

What is an Influencer?

Social Media Influencer

When thinking about what is an influencer, most well-known influencers have a primary social media platform where they, in general, have the most number of followers and have started their careers.

However, they sometimes distribute their content on other social media platforms. An influence usually doesn’t have equal command over each social media channel.

Moreover, some channels are more conducive to specific industries, content formats, and sponsorships than others.

Generally, social media influencers can be defined by social platforms in the following six ways:

  • Instagram Influencers;
  • Facebook Influencers;
  • YouTube Influencers;
  • Snapchat Influencers;
  • Blog Influencers;
  • Twitch Influencers.

What is an Influencer: Instagram Influencers

Instagram Influencers

Instagram is an eye-catching social media platform, and thus visually appealing content performs well.

When considering what is an influencer, Instagram is one of the first platforms that come to mind. Influencers on Instagram, also known as Instagrammers, are the creators who share their content on Instagram and build communities across different niches and topics.

Influencers covering photography, beauty, fashion, travel, food, fitness, and more become more successful on the platform.

Simultaneously, lifestyle influencers and traditional celebrities who share their personal lives on Instagram also tend to gain immense success.

Instagram influencers have an audience base ranging from 1,000 or fewer followers to even millions of followers, stretching from top celebrity sports stars like Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar to well-known celebrity actors like Ariana Grande and Selena Gomez Dwayne Johnson.

Moreover, micro-influencers with followers ranging from 1,000 to 100,000 followers have a limited reach than macro-influencers with an audience base of 100,000 or more.

However, although micro-influencers lack reaches, they tend to have a higher engagement rate than macro-influencers.

Authenticity and Personality are the critical elements to the success of Instagram influencers.

Although Instagram is originally an ambitious platform for sharing perfect, beautiful, and aspiring moments, audiences look to influencers who share authentic pieces of themselves on the platform and those who use the platform to speak about everything from fitness routines to beauty products with utmost honesty.

Advantages of Instagram

  • Instagram is popular among Millennials and Gen Z;
  • It’s one of the perfect platforms for affiliate marketing;
  • The platform is best for visual branding purposes;
  • Instagram as a social media platform is superb targeting.
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Disadvantages of Instagram

  • Instagram influencers or Instagrammers need to create regular visual content for relevancy;
  • It’s quite difficult to create organic traffic on the platform on your own.

What is an Influencer: Facebook Influencers

Facebook, the “king of social media,” is one of the most popular social media platforms and is considerably gaining more and more popularity day by day.

And that’s why wanting to build an influencer status on Facebook sounds like a good marketing move.

Talking about the numbers, around 69% of American adults and 51% of the teens of the United States use Facebook, as per various research conducted in 2018 and 2019.

Moreover, 74% of adults logged in to the platform at least once a day to view news and posts from various Facebook influencers.

Facebook influencers are people with a more extensive audience base on the platform. They can engage with their audiences in conversations and develop community followers that pay great attention to their content.

Generally, brands and businesses look for influencers to promote their products and services because they can set trends and motivate their audiences to purchase the products they promote.

In most instances, influencers give a discount code for the product or service they’re sponsoring to make the offer more attractive.

Now Facebook is not the first social media platform that pops up in our minds regarding influencers. However, it’ll be wrong to say that influencer marketing on Facebook is not at all popular.

Moreover, Facebook influencers are almost like Instagram influencers in media, brands, and famous people. Typically, these influencers make profiles on different social media platforms to reach a wider audience.

No doubt, the platform type can affect its content type and its way of distribution.

Facebook is a content-oriented platform, and thus the influencers pay more attention to the content material than the person who manages the page.

In addition to this, Facebook encourages the share; that’s why it’s the best platform for memes, shareable and relatable content.

These influencers can acquire followers at a rapid pace.

Advantages of Facebook

  • Facebook has a massive audience and reach;
  • It’s the best platform for both B2B and B2C content;
  • The social media platform pairs well with Google Ads;
  • Facebook is one of the best focusing options available to marketers.

Disadvantages of Facebook

  • It needs a lot of content creation;
  • Facebook is lessening the number of an advertisement on its News Feed;
  • The platform is most popular among the baby boomer generation.

What is an Influencer: YouTube Influencers

YouTube influencers, or as popularly called YouTubers, are people who have established themselves as an expert in a specific niche and have a massive following on the platform.

Since YouTube is one of the biggest social media platforms, its influencers hold power to create trends and influence their audience base.

And that’s why marketers tend to include YouTube influencer marketing in their advertising campaigns.

YouTubers are highly influential because of their ability to make their audiences feel like they know them; viewers consider them like their “friends” or “family.”

YouTube influencers are far more authentic and genuine than other known celebrity actors and actresses.

This authenticity element is essential to sell or recommend a product and service to their audiences. This, in turn, helps increase the audience engagement rate, increasing the viewer’s intent to purchase by over five times.

They aren’t fabricated or unreachable like traditional celebrities, and thus they’re able to gain the trust of their fanbase.

They are now talking about sizes; while big YouTube influencers have a larger audience and high reach, small influencers with limited space can have high engagement and influence.

That’s because small YouTubers personally know their following.

Thus, businesses and brands love to sponsor small YouTube influencers, offering more effective results at cheaper rates.

Advantages of YouTube

  • YouTube is a great targeting option;
  • After Google, YouTube is the second-most largest search engine;
  • The platform offers amazing opportunities for affiliate marketing;
  • It easily integrates with Google Ads.

Disadvantages of YouTube

  • Producing YouTube videos cost both time and money;
  • Many YouTube users rely on AdBlock to avoid pre-video advertisement.

What is an Influencer: Snapchat Influencers

I’ve come across thousands, and by thousands, I mean thousands of influencers, whether on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter, who are constantly asking their followers to follow them on Snapchat.

And this “Follow” culture has come too far.

Okay, the term “Snapchat influencer” basically says it all; however, you don’t know what the terminology means.

Then, Snapchat influencers have a massive Snapchat following and promote other people’s businesses or brands on the same, enabling them to gain thousands of new and potential customers.

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We all know Snapchat is a photo and short video sharing platform where the Snaps (photos or videos) permanently vanish from the profile after 24 hours.

Although in the beginning, the disappearing nature of the content on Snapchat limited some of the marketers from investing in the platform, its rapid growth has attracted big brands to collaborate with various Snapchat influencers.

As a result of the reducing television viewership and increasing unsuccessful digital ads, brands eagerly want to capitalize on Snapchat’s young audiences and effectively message millions of youth across the platform.

Another reason behind the increasing popularity of Snapchat influencers among various brands is its high audience engagement rate.

While some influencers find the disappearing nature of the platform to be its weak point, some Snapchat influencers believe that this feature helps increase engagement because users focus more when they know that the content won’t stay here for a long time.

Advantages of Snapchat

  • In Snapchat, customers can directly communicate with businesses and brands;
  • It allows you to see who is watching your Snaps;
  • Creating a Snapchat account is pretty easy;
  • Snapchat contents are easier to consume.

Disadvantages of Snapchat

  • Snapchat has a limited audience base;
  • It doesn’t offer content analytics;
  • The content on the platform is available for a limited time period;
  • It has a temperamental interface.

What is an Influencer: Blog Influencers

Bloggers or blog influencers make one of the finest influencers because they regularly create written content that massive readers enjoy.

These influencers own a compelling and attractive writing style and make aesthetic use of images and videos to portray their idea.

Blog influencers exist nearly in all industries and maintain online groups of readers’ curiosity about which brands are relevant to their lifestyle and hobbies.

Blogs offer the readers in-depth knowledge about different topics.

Unlike other social media audiences who just like various posts, blogger audiences eagerly await new blogs and take the suggestions and recommendations of blog influencers quite seriously.

Readers often seek guidance from bloggers to live a specific lifestyle with a low budget or take their examples to handle life’s challenges.

Blog followers are loyal and observant of what their beloved bloggers say about different topics.

Moreover, brands or businesses that sponsor blog influencers can achieve more specific marketing goals than what they might get from social media posts.

That’s because there’s a higher number of well-written content on bloggers’ web pages and consumers spend the most time on the same.

Additionally, Product Reviews, Tutorials, Product storytelling, and Guest posts are various ways B2C brands use blog influencers to promote their products.

These techniques help raise brand awareness, improve website SEO, and drive sales.

Advantages of Blogging

  • Blog influencers have a great relationship with their audience;
  • Starting a blog is quite easy;
  • Blog posts have a higher reach.

Disadvantages of Blogging

  • A good blog needs to be updated regularly;
  • Unexpected technical issues of blogs require more time to get solved.

What is an Influencer: Twitch Influencers

Twitch is the most popular live-streaming platform across the world. Twitch’s audience mainly consists of teenage gamers.

Some study conducting the behavior of Twitch users reveals that the most-searched keywords on the platform were “computers,” “games,” and “technology.

From the information, it’s pretty evident that most Twitch users are enthusiastic about the games and technology required to play and live stream.

And most of these young teenagers spend hours on the platform watching live streams of their favorite Twitch influencers.

Twitch influencers are those live streamers who have amassed massive engaging audiences. They’re different from influencers on Instagram or other social media channels.

Unlike other social media influencers who typically share static posts, influencers on Twitch offer live entertainment to their audiences.

While the number of subscribers is one of the primary factors which indicate the level of influence a Twitch influencer has, it’s not the only deciding factor.

Instead, many small Twitch influencers have a more engaging audience base than other big Twitch stars.

Advantages of Twitch

  • The live streaming platform, Twitch has a highly engaging audience;
  • Twitch influencers have greater audience reach.

Disadvantages of Twitch

  • The audience usually watch Twitch live stream once;
  • Twitch has a limited internal analytics.

Conclusion

And with this, we’re here at the end of the write-up where I talked about the most vital question, “What is an influencer?”

From the article, it’s pretty clear that social media influencers can be divided into six specific types when it comes to influencers based on platforms.

The six types of influencers are Instagram influencers, Facebook influencers, YouTube influencers, Snapchat influencers, Blog influencers, and Twitch influencers.

I hope you’ve learned something new today about what is an influencer. If you’ve any queries feel free to ask the same using the comment section below.

Sources

WikipediaDigital MarketingGenyLabs
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