Influencer Culture: A New Social Media
Written by Samantha Sussman, Account Executive
What does it mean to be an influencer? The word “influence” itself is pretty vague. It means having an impact on somebody else, so somebody with one follower could be an influencer by posting what they are wearing and where they got it from. However, I think being a social media influencer requires more – such as having a large following, brand deals, and a consistent posting schedule. If you can make a living posting on social media, you are considered an influencer.
The content influencers produce ranges from lifestyle, food, gaming, and beyond. They often collaborate with other influencers on their platform or brands and may provide people with discount codes for products encouraging them to buy them.
The landscape of social media has changed drastically for younger generations shifting from Facebook to Instagram and Tik Tok. In an article from Axios, Sarah Fischer says Gen Z uses a lot of different social media apps for different functions. This includes Tik Tok, BeReal, Twitch, and more. Since there are so many social media platforms competing for Gen Z’s attention now, many of them are shifting in purpose and trying to incorporate newer ideas. They are all competing for our attention with different functions, which increases overall social media usage because people want to be on all of the apps.
It seems like anyone can become an influencer in today’s world by having one video blow up. A lot of influencers on Tik Tok got started this way. Arguably the most famous influencer on the platform is Charli D’Amelio. She has created her own personal brand with her family and posts videos dancing to popular songs or following current trends.
Influencers have a niche topic, or a few, that they post about, and D’amelio’s are dancing, her family, and other influencer friends. D’amelio randomly got popular on Tik Tok because of the algorithm making her videos pop up on people's “For You” pages more often, which only increased as she gained traction. After seeing her instant fame, many members of Gen Z want to become influencers and gain popularity on social media.
In an article by Influencer Marketing Hub, they provide seven steps to becoming an influencer. It is possible for anyone to become an influencer, and different steps to take to become one. The article says to first pick a niche, then optimize platforms, understand your audience, create content, post consistently, engage with followers, and collaborate with brands. By following these steps, people can gain followers and potentially become popular influencers.
Influencer culture has made social media less casual. Instead of just following friends, people now follow influencers and look for outfit inspiration, recipe ideas, and more that they may have just used Google for in the past. Influencers have had both positive and negative impacts on social media. They have changed the reason some people use social media and can have a negative impact on mental health and body image because they portray only the best parts of their life. But, they can provide tips and recommendations for people as well as just entertainment.
Influencers have had a great impact on social media and the way people portray it. Instead of using it to connect with friends or stay in contact with family, people can use it to make a career. It also has changed advertising because influencers can promote different products and seem more genuine than an ad. Social media has completely changed and influencers are the reason behind it.