How The Social Media Influencer Replaced The Modern Celebrity
Written by WEIV Contributor, Vinay Umapathy
Anyone who claims that understanding social media in 2017 isn’t necessary is either a senior citizen or sadly mistaken. Today social media is everywhere, from the corporate to personal spaces, and most people hold their platforms near and dear to their hearts because they know that they are being judged by those who follow them, based on what they post. If you’re active in the dating scene, you’ve probably met a cute guy or girl and then checked out their Instagram to see if they really were as cool as they came across at the bar.
For many of us, social media is a tool that we use to interact with people in our circle. However, a pocket of individuals have mastered the social media game and transformed it into something much larger than themselves and their personal networks. These individuals are called influencers. With the click of a button influencers can reach millions. For this reason, understanding what exactly what an influencer is and how they impact our lives is a #majorkey.
Influencers influence. One post from an influencer can sway the opinions of millions, affect corporations and brands, or simply cause someone to buy the latest new shoe.
They are individuals who have HUGE followings and accumulate more likes and comments than many of us could ever dream of. Unlike celebrities, who only have big followings because they are famous, influencers work for their fan base. They are regular people who have gained huge followings because whatever content is in their posts is exceptional and unique. Achieving the status of being labeled an influencer depends on multiple factors. If just one of these aspects is missing, you’re bound to stay in the Average Joe zone. The following outlines the perfect storm of characteristics embodied by all successful influencers.
- MASSIVE FOLLOWING
This one is obvious and can vary per niche. The tricky part is recognizing that it doesn’t stop here.
2. SPECIFIC NICHE
The content in an influencer’s posts is specific to one area, for example, beauty or technology. They bring something NEW to the realm in which they operate. People love getting something they’ve never had before.
3. APPEALING PERSONA
How an influencer presents their personality to the public is arguably the most important. These people are masters at “what you see is what you get”. An influencer’s followers truly believe that they act the same way in real life as they do on social media, which establishes a personal connection that erases the “outsider” feeling one might get when browsing a celebrity’s content.
If an influencer were to start dabbling in a different niche or presenting their personality differently from how they had in the past, followers would quickly lose faith and therefore interest. Think about it, if your friend went from being a serious painter to a clumsy mathematician, it’d probably raise some red flags.
Your picture of an influencer wouldn’t be complete if you didn’t understand their relationship with brands. Brands see influencers as goldmines because they have the ability to influence the purchasing decisions of their loyal followers. If your favorite person loves Jamba Juice, you probably will too. Companies pay influencers to incorporate their products into the content that they produce, which allows them to rake in a whole lot of cash.
Here are some of the top influencers of 2017 according to Forbes.
Danielle Bernstein, fashion blogger, 25
With over 1.7 million Instagram followers, the Long Island native has the kind of influence brands are willing to pay for: up to $20,000 per post, in some cases. What started as a fashion blog, We Wore What, in 2010, now touches upon interior design and menswear, too. Bernstein also launched two of her own brands in 2016, Second Skin Overalls and Archive shoes, and hopes to tackle sunglasses in the near future.
Lilly Singh, YouTuber, 28
With its entertaining mix of comedy sketches, rants, skits, and the occasional activism, like her anti-sexist #GirlLove series, Singh’s channel — under her username, ‘IISuperwomanII’ — now boasts 11.7 million subscribers.
Mari Takahashi, video game streamer, 33
Until early 2017, Takahashi (online name: AtomicMari) was the only female member of the mega-popular YouTube channel Smosh Games, where she stars in Maricraft, a sub-series with a focus on Minecraft gameplay. The former professional ballerina started hosting her Smosh Pit Weekly back in 2010, and now boasts a social audience of over 2 million; in 2016, she competed as a cast member on the 33rd season of CBS hit ‘Survivor.’
Keep your eye on these influencers, because they used-to-be underdogs. Are you next?