What is an influencer and how do they work?

What is the definition of an influencer? Well, an influencer is a person who affects the purchase decisions of other people. That’s why they are called influencers. They get this influencing power from their level of authority, knowledge, relationship with their followers or their position. From micro influencers to world-famous pop stars, influencers come in all shapes and sizes.

Different types of influencers

The majority of influencers are either celebrities, experts in a particular industry, bloggers and content creators, and micro-influencers (‘normal’ people with a relatively small following).

Popularity and power of influencers

About 84% of marketers use social media influencer marketing. In 2018, advertisers spent 266 billion dollars on influencer advertising. According to eMarketer, this is going to increase to 375 billion dollars in 2021.

Social media is almost more important than traditional marketing channels

Social media is used by almost half of the world’s population. This too is going to increase. Influencers are extremely important for businesses to reach the desired target group.

More and more companies are reaching out to influencers to promote their hotel rooms, dog treats, bikinis or jeans. Sometimes, an Instagram post or YouTube video gets more results than traditional advertising.

Influencers are insanely credible

Influencers are considered as credible authorities by their followers. As a result, people buy something that is recommended by them more quickly than when they are bombarded with advertisements.

In order to get good results, companies don’t always need to work with a big influencer. Sometimes, a small number of followers can be even more effective if you can reach the extreme followers. Also, it’s cheaper to work with micro influencers.

Differences in the niches of influencers

Influencers are active in various niches. This niche determines, among other things, how big an influencer can become. The most common influencer niches are:

  • Fashion / Beauty
  • Travel / Lifestyle
  • Entertainment
  • Sports
  • Games
  • Health / Fitness
  • Parenting / Family
  • Technology

Within these niches, there are several sub-niches. For example, an influencer may be involved in home decoration, yoga, children or pets. In order to reach the right target group, companies (and also influencers) need to find a good match.

How do influencers work

Influencers spend a lot of time building their brand and increasing their number of followers. Most influencers won’t just promote a product they don’t support, even if they get paid for it. Maybe they’ll get away with it one time but if they would do that too often, they risk losing their followers. And that’s the worst thing that can happen to an influencer.


Influencers are a crucial part of an optimal marketing mix. In order to run a well-performing marketing campaign, it’s best for companies to work together with the right influencers.

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