A social media influencer is a person who uses social media, has effective persuasive powers and convincing skills, and has a large following. From having influence on his/her social media followers’ decisions on products/brands he/she works with, to having bearing on their mindsets on issues and gaining their support across areas of interests - they are usually those who are quite the (online) celebrity; who are popular with the crowd; have built good relations with friends, family and followers; commands authority; are looked up to; and have great knowledge and highly competent about a specific product/service/brand,/campaign, etc.
In today’s world of marketing, a social media influencer can affect purchase decisions of his/her audience by just engaging and interacting through posts across social media platforms. Some are said to have earned themselves big bucks (see DanDTM paid US$16.5M a year) through collaborations with brands, helping achieve these marques’ marketing objectives. There are some Malaysians said to be raking in five digit incomes a month and paid RM5,000 per post.
Social media influencers are also said to comprise the “go-getters” and celebrities - those who start trends, the movers and shakers, thought leaders and industry experts, mostly the “beautiful” people who have credible views and opinions. There are also they who are born with an acute business sense.
How and when did the social media influencer come about? There is no exact date but the appellation came about from celebrity endorsements, a form of collaboration, which comes under the “influencer marketing” banner. In this age, as almost everyone has some form of social media presence and social media users have their own dedicated and engaged groups of audiences/friends/followers - this is said to have given rise to the term “social media influencer”.
A globally renowned “specimen” of a social media influencer would be Ariana Grande, Kylie and Kendall Jenner, Christiano Ronaldo and many other famous celebrities who have grown a following of over 100 million. Others recognised as some of the most followed in 2019 include James Charles (self proclaimed teen makeup artist) with over 15M followers; travel influencer Murad Osman who has acquired over 4M followers; health coach and online fitness guru Massy Arias with over 2.5M followers; and many others.
Closer to home, we have Malaysian celebs and famous faces in the “Most Followed” list - Siti Nurhaliza and Neelofa (over 6M followers); Nora Danish and Zizan Razak (over 5M followers); and others with a couple of million followers. Blogs recording the highest traffic include those of Paul Tan, Hong Kiat, Goody25, Noodou, Vkeong, Tommyooi, Bangsarbabe, Jane Chuck, etc. Fashionistas to follow for 2019 include Tiffany Young, Agnez Mo, Aurelie Hermansyah, Jessica Jung, Scha Alyahya, Angelababy, among others. Over on LinkedIn, we have icons and influencers like Koh Mui Han, Vishen Lakhiani, Jonathan Low, Dr. Wendy Liew, Jazz Tan, Hanie Razaif-Bohlender, Dr. Mazlan Abbas, Khushboo Nangalia, Badrie Bob Abdullah, and others.