What Defines an Influencer?

As social media has progressively grown in popularity over the years, so has the role of social media influencers. Dictionary.com defines an influencer as “a person who has the power to influence many people, as through social or traditional media”. But what exactly separates social media influencers from the every-day social media user?

A defined niche means a defined audience

 The everyday Instagram account will offer an assortment of content. This can range from selfies to candid brunch shots. An influencer’s account is tailored to a specific audience. The influencer will define their areas of interest and create content that aligns with those interests. However, an influencer doesn’t just have to focus on one niche. A variety of subjects can be explored, but it’s important that they are cohesive. For example, Giaro Giarratana (giarogiarratana on Instagram)  is a model and creates Instagram content related to fashion. However, he also uploads travel content. These are two separate niches for influencer content but are unified and work well on his Instagram account.


Constant content

The standard social media user is under no obligation to update their profile every day. An influencer most definitely is. If an influencer is not posting content on a daily basis it will cause a decrease in audience engagement. If posts aren’t regular their audience, and potential brand collaborators, could get the impression that the influencer is no longer interested in building their image. Ideally, influencers post content daily on social media and once or twice a week on YouTube or blogs. This keeps audiences engaged, interested, and loyal.

Quality content

Creating a constant stream of content is good, but if that content is not high-quality audiences are unlikely to respond to it. If a targeted audience is not engaging with content, brands are less likely to want to collaborate with the influencer, and therefore their “influencer” status is inhibited. The key is to produce high-quality content that the targeted audience will find interesting and would willingly engage with. For example, thepointsguy uses his Instagram to share travel images. In his photo descriptions he writes useful travel tips for his audience to take note of. Not only are his photos incredibly well shot and likeable, but he also provides useful information. His content is received by more than 134,000 followers, and a recent image of France’s boutique airline Joon received 1,530 likes and 24 comments. 


Engagement, engagement, engagement!

It is a common misconception that to be an influencer you have to have the most followers on Instagram. Of course, it is impressive to have a big following, however, it is a lot more impressive to have high engagement levels. With there being 500 million active Instagram users on a daily basis, it is becoming increasingly easier to buy followers. Brands do not want to be lured into collaborating with “wannabe” influencers who buy followers. Instead, they measure the quality of an influencer by their engagement rate. If the engagement rate is less than 1% then brands will know that the “influencer” is likely to be using fake followers. While 5% is considered average engagement rate, 8% plus is strong.

At Swayy we only use the very best influencers. To ensure this we run all of our influencer profiles through a fake followers detector that determines whether an account is authentic or not.

Active on more than one platform

 It is common for the average person to have multiple social media accounts, and influencers should be no different. Whether they are an Instagram influencer with a blog on the side or a YouTuber with an active Twitter account, influencers must be creating engaging content on multiple platforms. Jay Alvarrez is a perfect example of this. He is a model and an Instagram influencer; however, he also makes videos on YouTube. His Instagram is loved by 5.9 million followers, and his YouTube 1.2 million. He promotes his YouTube channel via his Instagram. His YouTube link is on his Instagram homepage, and he uses YouTube thumbnails for some of his Instagram pictures.



If you’re a business looking to work with influencers, or an influencer looking to work with a business, click here to see how Swayy can help. Or if you would like to find out a bit more about what we do here at Swayy click here.



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