New Career Choice: Social Influencer

New Career Choice: Social Influencer

  • Do you ever click “Like” on Facebook, or add a comment on Amazon about a product you’ve bought?
  • Do you ever post a link or tweet about a restaurant you like or a business you’ve visited?
  • Do you create Instragram photos of products, places, businesses or things you love?

Then you are well on your way to becoming a social influencer.

(Wolf drawing source:  stilg4r, 2013:

The Superstars

Everyone is familiar with the Kardashians, or sportstars like Lebron James, John Cena and Cristiano Ronaldo. These folks promote all kinds of products from sportswear, to cars, to food via Instagram, Twitter and other social media. But do you know the following people?

These people are all promoting their ideas or products, making a living or enhancing their finances using their social influence.

What is a social influencer?

According to Megan Willet (2016), “An ‘influencer’ is the umbrella term to describe creatives, typically those with large social media followings on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. These influencers work with brands on ad campaigns specifically aimed at their followers”.

According to 2012 data from Nielsen, 90% of customers trust peer recommendations and 70% trust consumer reviews. Only 33% trust ads.

According to Global Yodel (2016), “Influencer marketing is simply the action of promoting and selling products or services through people (influencers) who have the capacity to have an effect on the character of a brand.”

New twist on an old idea

This kind of word-of-mouth marketing has been used by companies for decades. There’s always been the “cool kid” or “early adopter” who breaks out those new trends. (Remember parachute pants, neon clothing, leg warmers, and feathered bangs?) But now anyone and everyone can share their opinions, ideas and experiences on the internet.

Global Yodel (2016) points out that “The most intriguing people will rise above the rest.” You don’t even have to be a famous celebrity or sports star to get involved: you just have to be different, interesting or appealing. Many companies are hiring marketing agencies to add “Influencer Marketing” into their mix, and some newer companies are using it exclusively.

How it works

According to Eric Dahan (2015), the “The social economy is driven by its own markers of social currency, like recognition, status and attention from others, but its main commodity is content.” For many companies, the bits of “organic content” come from its customers, clients and allies.

Dahan points out that “It all starts with content — blogs, videos, images, editorial content, for example — through which you provide valuable information. Indeed, quality content can become a crucial part of your online presence, enabling you to establish yourself as an expert on a particular topic.”

However, the landscape of social media is based on “relationship-building”: its foundations are trust, expertise and authenticity. So you have to believable, credible, and truthful.

Marketing companies (or departments) hire individuals who have experienced a particular product or service to post on their websites, or they may even collect “comments” from customers via Facebook or Twitter to include in their marketing campaigns. Check out Global Yodel Media’s samples:

According to Sujan Patel (2017), Entrepreneur, companies like Staples, Denny’s, NASA, Old Spice, and Newcastle Brown Ale are using social media influencers to promote their services and products, and to engage customers.   Check it out at Social-Media Marketing Is Not Dead

Get paid to be a social influencer

If you’re an expert on a particular topic (i.e. cooking or gardening, car repairs, wine, etc.) or you have a lot of experience, your comments are gold in social marketing.

Individuals can get paid to write reviews, make comments and fill in surveys on various products. Check out the list at MoneyPantry

Getting starting: the basics

To build your social media influence for your own business or brand, Dahan (2015) recommends the following steps:

  • 1. Start with what you know – that’s what will make your comments stand out

2. Be consistent and focus on quality over quantity – good content and ideas will draw the audience

3. Pay attention to the demand and what people are talking about

(Best of climbing photo, created by GB, 2009, Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0), Flickr.)

Content is King

If you’re creating your own blog, Instagram, FB or youtube channel, Morad (2016) points out that having high-quality content, both visually and in writing are important excellent content-creation skills is important if you’re going to pull in thousands or millions of followers: “instagrammable photos…solid writing skills…fantastic videos” are expected online.

Aligning brands with your personal brand – finding a good match – is important so that the audience sees products/services that they want. If you’re really connecting with your audience, the brands will come to you so they will reach your audience.

(Paper photo by Dale Simonson, 2012, P5232650, Flickr, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0) 

For example, Mr. Money Mustache, a financial frugalist blogger, has a combination of his faves plus other companies that offer sponsorships to his website: Betterment, Capital One, YNAB, SoFi, Chase Ink plus Republic Wireless. Check it out at

Making money online

Now some social influencers make a lot of money, according to Clare O’Connor (2017) and Ivana Stoshevski (2016):

  • Lyzabeth Lopez – fitness guru — $3000-5000 per post
  • Rachel Brathen – yogi — $25,000 per post
  • Liz Eswein – New York City photo blogger — $15,000 per shot
  • Amy Song – charges $50,000 per big-brand collaboration for her fashion and interior design blog Song of Style
  • Nash Grier – Vine superstar — $25000-100,000 contracts with various companies, including Virgin Mobile

Beware the dark side: fake influencers!!

There is a shady side to all of these postings: recently some businesses have been slammed for “paying” people to create testimonials: CBC Marketplace (2017) investigated the use of fake video testimonials whereby one person was paid via Fiverr to create customer reviews for various companies. One woman appeared as a licensed dietician, promoted private intelligence firms and maid services (CBC, 2017).

I recently travelled to Toronto and used Airbnb to find a place where they “treat you like you’re at home”, complete with dog, patio and gluten-free brekky. You bet I read all of the reviews before I booked. Now I have to go write my reviews for “Peaceful Oasis in the City” on Airbnb …social influencers never rest!

Are you a “social influencer”?  Do you ever write reviews or recommendations on Facebook, Instagram, or your favourite websites?


Facebook: Want to make more or influence people online?  Learn about social influencers by reading my blog:

Twitter:  Learn how to flex your social influencing muscles #socialinfluencers


Airbnb. (2017). How do reviews work? Retrieved from

Bradley, D. (2017, May 18).  Instagram star David Lopez warns influencers to watch their step.  PR Week.  Retrieved from

Dahan, E. (2015, December 4). How to build up your influence on social media. Entrepreneur. Retrieved from

Edelstein, M. (2015, May 26). 9 tips for becoming a social media influencer. Social Media Examiner. Retrieved from

Global Yodel. (2016, May 7). What is Influencer Marketing? Huffpost.

Patel, S. (2016, January 12). Social Media is not dead. Entrepreneur. Retrieved from

Szeto, E. (2017, January 27). Prolific video testimonial creator says there’s ‘nothing wrong’ with selling reviews. CBC Marketplace. Retrieved from

MoneyPantry. (2017, February 12). Get paid to write reviews: 20 sites that pay you. Retrieved from

Mr. Money Mustache Blog. Retrieved from

Morad, R. (2016, Nov. 7). How to travel the world as a social media influencer. Retrieved from

O’Connor, C. (2017, April 10). Earning power. Forbes. Retrieved from

Stoshevski, I. (2016, January 8). Top 10 instagram celebritrities and how much they get paid. Retrieved from

Willett, M. (2016, May 18). A war is brewing between brands and the social media ‘influencers’ they pay. Retrieved from



One thought on “New Career Choice: Social Influencer

  1. I love this article!

    I think it is very important that social media users understand this aspect to the online world. I find that many people have a blurred understand of how celebrities use certain platforms, and do not understand some people are paid to post products. This is one example of how the internet can be very deceiving to consumers.

    Great work!

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