Influencer Academy

What is an Influencer in Social Media? Guide & Definition

Jun 09, 2023
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Social media influencers are everywhere. Whether you realize it or not, you’re constantly consuming content from influencers on the internet. But what exactly is an influencer? These are people who have a following online and they hold the ability to affect the purchasing decisions of their audiences. By using the right mix of content, creatives, audio, visuals and social media, influencers build a community of loyal followers who regularly engage with their content.

If you’re interested in learning about what an influencer is (or looking to become one yourself) – you are in the right place! In this article, we’ll define an influencer and help you understand their role on social media. Finally, we’ll also discuss social networks and how successful influencers have built communities on these platforms. Let’s get started!

Understanding the Influencer Market

Influencers could be content creators, experts, artists, musicians, opinion leaders, coaches or even doctors. According to research, the influencer market is expected to grow to $92.24 billion in 2030 (as compared to $10.54 billion in 2022) at an annual growth rate of 31.50%.

In this market, influencers make money by offering promotional services to brands and companies. They use their influence to sell products or promote brands in exchange for money or other benefits. The competition in the market has become extremely fierce. Social media platforms are becoming crowded with influencer content creators and the competition is expected to grow exponentially.

From a brand’s perspective, influencer marketing is one of the best ways to promote your services. It’s the cheapest, sure-fire way to get instant attention online. No matter what the niche, consumers on the internet are more likely to purchase from a familiar face of an influencer than from a traditional ad.

Definition of An Influencer

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An influencer can be described as someone who:

  • Has the authority to “influence” their audience to buy something because of their credibility in that particular niche.
  • Has followers in a specific niche.
  • The number of followers varies from niche to niche.

The power to influence is not restricted to just famous celebrities or video content creators. Social media platforms are flooding with influencers. They can be anyone from the authors of viral Twitter threads to LinkedIn content publishers or an active blogger.

You can identify them by monitoring their engagement levels within their community. Their audience respects their opinion because they have put a lot of time and effort into establishing their reputation by frequently producing content.

This is why in most cases, influencers with a high engagement rate don’t make content just because they want to “win sponsors''. Their aim is to educate their audience in a specific niche.

What is an Influencer and How Do They Differ from Celebrities?

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A modern influencer is not the same as a viral celebrity. Viral celebrities don’t have specific niches but they do have a large number of followers. Celebrities are not required to specialize in or be an opinion leader in any niche because brands usually pay them to endorse their products. Although they are a good option to increase brand awareness, they are certainly not the best option to build yourself as a commanding authority in your niche. On the other hand, modern influencers are not someone who will only say “good things about you” because you paid them.

Instead, they are experts in their niche who have built trust and credibility among the audience you are targeting. They might not be “famous” in everyday life. However, their opinion is taken extremely seriously by their audiences in a niche. They might not have a big fan base but their content draws considerable engagement. For example, nano-influencers have less than 10,000 followers but they can still easily make $100 to $500 for a social media post. It all boils down to the level of their audience engagement.

Тraditional celebrities are untouchable when their fans want to interact with them. However, social media influencers foster a sense of community with their fans, thanks to platforms like Paysenger and Instagram.

How Influencers Changed Social Media Marketing

Influencers changed the social media landscape forever. They built a new method for brands to reach customers and for people to monetize their content. Brands use influencers to reach new customers and promote their products. People now prefer products endorsed by influencers rather than brands. Many influencers become entrepreneurs, selling their products or services to their followers.

With social media platforms and the number of influencers bound to rise in the future, influencers will find new and creative ways to promote products and services.

Becoming an Influencer is Hard: Try this Instead

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Many people dream of becoming successful influencers. However, this is becoming more and more difficult because of intense competition on social media platforms. The biggest challenge is to stand out from other content creators. It is extremely difficult to gain followers and build a community without the right tools.

Even if you have great content, social media platforms constantly keep changing their algorithms and in most cases, these changes affect small-to-medium size content creators the most.

A tool like Paysenger, however, makes the process more streamlined. Paysenger is a social marketplace where you can:

  • Start your content creator journey
  • Accumulate new followers
  • Find supporters to donate money to you
  • Monetize your content easily without minimum requirements (such as those on YouTube)
  • Sell subscriptions, on-demand content and more

Try Paysenger here.

The Monetization Dilemma

Influencers are known by the public to promote and sell products. Over the years, consumers online have developed a certain level of ‘blindness’ towards influencer endorsements because they’re way too repetitive. Almost every influencer on the internet is promoting something and consumers tend to turn a blind eye to ads that are way too similar to each other. Due to this, influencer marketing is likely to become even more ineffective in the next few years.

Brand endorsements and sponsorships are the biggest sources of revenue for most influencers – and if the audience stops reacting to their ads, influencers will stop receiving brand deals. On Paysenger, on the other hand, influencers can earn money without needing to promote products. The platform monetizes creativity – the only deciding factor on how much you can earn is the quality of your content and your engagement levels in the community.

Brands and sponsors can easily request on-demand content from you to complete marketing goals. People also pay you for your expertise as an influencer. For example, if you’re a great photographer, people can send paid messages to you for advice. You earn money each time you respond to a request.

Start Small Until You’re Big Enough to Compete

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Top social media platforms such as Instagram and YouTube are still super popular for creators who are just starting out. However, you might need to consider other options at least in the beginning where there’s still less competition.

  • Clubhouse is relatively new.  Due to low competition, you’ll find it easier to grow your following because you will not get lost in the noise. It’s an audio-based platform, steadily gaining traction among influencers. Many people who started early have now grown to a huge following.
  • Paysenger is a new platform that uses paid communication and a tokenized economy system. Here, you can monetize your creations, earn money for communication with fans, producing viral content and fulfilling requests from sponsors. Become an early adopter to get more exposure.
  • TikTok is already huge but has a lower barrier of entry as compared to YouTube and Instagram. Its algorithm favors new content creators and many people can easily find fame on TikTok as long as they produce engaging content.

How Influencers Get Paid

Influencers can earn money in a number of ways.

  • Brand Partnerships: The most common way is through brand partnerships or sponsorships. In this method, brands pay influencers to promote their products or services.
  • Affiliate Marketing: Using affiliate marketing, influencers earn a cut for making product sales through affiliate links.
  • Merch Sales: Influencers, after they grow up to a decent size can sell their own clothes, e-books, online courses and other products to add another source of revenue.
  • Guest Appearances: Brands often invite influencers as guest speakers at events, contests and charities. These events are paid and popular among the motivation speaker types.

Micro-influencers Who are Doing Great Without a Huge Following

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Becoming a niche-focused influencer doesn’t require millions of followers. From a brand’s perspective, the most important metric is your community engagement level (likes and comments from audiences).

 Let’s take a look at some micro-influencers who are doing great without millions of followers:

  • @thelittleplantation: Kimberly Espinel is the mind behind thelittleplantation. She has 119,000 followers on Instagram. She is a vegetarian food photographer based in London. She also offers food styling, photography, and content creation tips. Thanks to her highly engaged community, she’s able to sell photography courses and work with brands related to her niche.
  • @SENORGUAPO713: Kalan Laws, a model, actor and athlete has a little over 10K followers. He serves as the brand ambassador of Southern Gents and Hattitude in Texas and also works with other brands that share his style and values.
  • @thebeautyvault: Irina Gabriela runs thebeautyvault. She is a fashion micro-influencer and has just under 20,000 followers on Instagram. She offers tips on skincare, nails and makeup and promotes beauty products.

How to Become an Influencer in 5 Simple Steps

Although becoming an influencer in a crowded market can be an uphill battle in 2023, you can still break into the sea of influencers and make a name for yourself by following these simple 5 steps:

Select a niche

Select a niche that you’re either passionate or knowledgeable about. Don’t just select a niche because everyone is doing it. If you select a niche on a whim, then you’ll find it extremely difficult to gain followers and build a community.

Have a robust content plan

Once you’re done picking a niche, start making content. Make a robust content strategy and a content calendar. Make sure you post regularly and engage with your audience. If your content is high-quality, then your engagement levels will increase quicker.

Don’t forget to engage

While you see your engagement levels rising, make sure you engage with your audience. You can do this through live streaming, which can be a good way to interact with them. You can also hold Q&A sessions with your audience.

Collaborate with other creators

Collaborating with other influencers can give you a much-needed boost at the start of your influencer career. Platforms like Paysenger allow you to collaborate with other creators easily. You can get exposure to new followers who may be looking for the same exact content that you’re creating.

Use the right platforms

Becoming an influencer in 2023 takes a lot of effort. Even if you follow the right strategies, success isn’t guaranteed because there is a lot of competition on current platforms like YouTube and Instagram. Use platforms designed for new creators like TikTok or Paysenger to get the initial exposure.


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A social media influencer is someone who is passionate about a certain niche and has built a community around using knowledge about the niche. Becoming an influencer comes with hardships but it is not entirely impossible. With the right tools and knowledge, you can fulfill your dream by starting with the right strategies. Selecting the right platform is one of the most important parts of the entire process.

There are so many platforms out there and you should select the one with the least competition. It will help you to break into the influencer market with relative ease. Current platforms have too much competition and becoming an influencer on them can be challenging. 

Starting out on Paysenger will give you a head start because it’s a growing platform with less competition than YouTube and TikTok. It offers many monetization tools so you can support your work and also combines Web3 features such as payments through EGO tokens (Paysenger’s default token). 

These tokens can be earned directly on the platform by performing simple tasks or attending events. EGO tokens can be withdrawn and exchanged for real money at any time. What are you waiting for? Join Paysenger today and start your journey as a social media influencer.

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May 17, 2024
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