Under the Influence

Paula LabrotBy Paula Labrot

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When I was a kid, I do not recall anyone ever saying, “When I grow up, I want to be an Influencer.” That entrepreneurial niche did not yet exist. Not until the World Wide Web (www), did the opportunity exist to make a fortune by having a large number of followers for a podcast, blog, YouTube channel, or social network. So, what is an Influencer? How do they get rich? And…how powerful are they anyway? What is an Influencer? Werner Geyser of influencermarketinghub.com suggests, “Influencers in social media are people who have built a reputation for their knowledge and expertise on a specific topic. They make regular posts about that topic on their preferred social media channels and generate large followings of enthusiastic, engaged people who pay close attention to their views.” According to mightynetworks.com, “An influencer is a person who has a personal brand and reputation online that’s strong enough to sway opinions. Influencers usually leverage social media platforms to build a following of people who are interested in their niche. There are influencers in tons of different niches, from personal development to fashion to fitness. Many influencers aren’t just knowledgeable of their niche, they are also master content creators who can consistently work to build an engaged following. They understand how to use social media platforms to their benefit and how to coax reactions out of people who are scrolling.” For example, an influencer might be a person who loves cooking and, specifically, loves baking with chocolate. The influencer starts a blog—or a YouTube channel or posts on Instagram or TikTok—creating content for those who share an interest in the influencer’s niche subject. The influencer’s content is written or visual, demonstrating good baking techniques, sharing recipes, introducing chocolate histories, differentiating different chocolates from around the world, giving ideas for beautiful presentations, etc. People surfing the web for information about baking with chocolate may discover the influencer. If they like the influencer’s content, they will sign onto the sites becoming followers. Followers are people who regularly visit the social media sites of Influencers. A number of reality TV stars have become influencers. Probably the most famous of this type of influencer is Kim Kardashian, who has over a quarter of a billion followers on her Instagram account. That is mind-boggling, when you think her content reaches sooooo many people, or in more entrepreneurial language, soooo many potential customers. President Trump, Barak Obama, Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi, and Elon Musk all have had millions and millions of followers on their social media accounts, giving them very large platforms of influence. A Mega influencer has a million or more followers. A Macro influencer has 40,000 to a million followers. A Micro influencer has 1000 to 40,000 followers and Nano influencers have fewer than 1000 followers. These numbers are important to the earning power of the influencer. How Does an Influencer Get Rich? An influencer makes money by influencing people’s opinions or purchasing decisions. They offer brands, businesses or political operatives who have really efficient access for reaching targeted audiences. They accomplish this in different ways, according to millennial money coach Erin Gobler. Sponsored Content on an influencer’s media site is created when a company pays an influencer to feature their product or service. Influencers can become Brand Ambassadors for a company, signing a contract to not only push a product on their own social media sites, but to also appear on the social media sites of the organization they are representing. Affiliate Marketing is when Influencers share a link to a product and then get a cut of the sales if the follower buys that item. Bloggers make money when followers click on Advertisments that appear on the screen. Influencers create their own educational materials or their own products lines. These are just a few of the multiple streams of income Influencers can generate. According to influencemarketnews.com, the golden rule of the influencer market is one follower equals one cent. Aside from the numbers of followers an influencer has, the engagement rate on the account is another factor in how much an influencer is paid. The engagement rate is the number of “likes” and comments the influencer gets from followers. Mega influencers generally make from $20,000 to $500,000 a post (celebrities get the big bucks). Micro influencers can make $40,000 to $100,000. Nano influencers can make between $40,000 to $60,000. Strict disclosure from the influencer to the followers about posts they are being paid for is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission. It is a living. It is also an up and coming college degree, already available in Italy and China. There Have Always Been Those Worth Listening To There have always been leaders and followers. The influence of pre-World Wide Web personalities, such as Moses, Jesus, Krishna, Buddha, Mohammed, The Founding Fathers, William Wilberforce, Martin Luther King, Susan B. Anthony, Florence Nightingale, Mother Teresa, and other significant influencers have endured the test of time. It will be interesting to see how long the modern influencers’ influence last, to see who emerges as, not just a leader on the material planes, but a leader who leaves behind an enduring legacy. Dr. Thomas Dooley….this column is for you, my beloved influencer, or, as we used to say, hero. Vamos a ver!
Paula Labrot

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May 27, 2022