The Rise of Social Media Influencers and Brand Partnerships

According to average influencer costs, brands are getting a bit of a deal when Kim Kardashian charges up to $1 million dollars for a single product post on Instagram. Influencer marketing is steadily climbing, and it’s projected to become a $6.5 billion dollar industry in 2019. With these kinds of staggering income figures, many social media users are seeking out ways to break into the industry. What exactly is an influencer? What are the costs, risks and/or rewards for a brand to partner with one? 

In marketing terms, an influencer is defined as “a person or group that has the ability to influence the behaviour or opinions of others” (link)

There are three main types of influencers, and each type has their own advantages and disadvantages when it comes to brand partnership.

Micro Influencers

  • high engagement rate
  • specific audience/narrow niche

Power-Middle Influencers

  • 10,000 – 250,000 followers
  • likely to have brand partnership experience

Macro Influencers

  • 250,000 – 1 million+ followers
  • High reach/low engagement

Each influencer category aligns with different types of social media goals that a brand might have. For example, if your goal is conversion, a power-middle or micro influencer with a high engagement rate might be more suitable than a macro influencer. 

Kim Kardashian vs. Me

I found the Micro Influencers vs. Celebrities tool provided by the Influencer Marketing Hub to be pretty interesting (and also quite humbling!). When I used my personal Instagram account in comparison to Kim’s, I was actually a little surprised by my cost per post estimate. My engagement rate blew Kim’s out of the water. She eclipsed me though with well over 1 million more followers, so in the end, her reach resulted in a substantially higher earned media value. Would a slow and steady (and authentic) follower count maintain high engagement and win the race? A brand looking to reach a very specific audience might not be as interested in a macro (sorry, Kim!) or even power-middle influencer because their followers are much too random and varied.

A brand can receive many rewards from a successful influencer partnership – content, reach, conversion, etc. There are also potential risks, one of them being influencer fraud. Buying followers and fake comments from bots can make an influencer seem much more appealing than they are. One sign of fraudulent social media activity is a high follower count coupled with a low engagement rate. Some social media sites like Instagram and Twitter have tried massive culls of fake accounts on their platforms, but the problem still remains widespread.

Are you influenced by what you see on social media? What makes someone influential to you?

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Did I just beat Kim Kardashian at something? Is influencer marketing right for your brand? Learn more about the pros and cons here! #influencermarketing #socialmediamarketing


Lincoln, J. E., & Lincoln, J. E. (2018, June 19). How Much Does Social Media Influencer Marketing Cost? Retrieved from

Barna, D. (2019, May 05). Apparently Kim Kardashian Makes THIS Much Per Instagram Post. Retrieved from

The State of Influencer Marketing 2019 : Benchmark Report [ Infographic]. (2019, May 28). Retrieved from

INFLUENCER | meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Johnson, T. (2019, May 23) How Much Do Influencers Charge? | Paying Influencers 2019 Guide. Retrieved from

Katie. (2019, April 11). The Complete Guide to Instagram Influencer Rates in 2019. Retrieved from

Clark, J. (2018, May 14). How Influencer Fraud Can Damage Your Brand’s Reputation. Retrieved from

Content Fatigue and Digital Engagement

In 2014, Huffington Post made a projection that online content would increase 600% by the year 2020. That’s a wild growth rate to comprehend! Considering over 100 million photos and videos are uploaded to Instagram each day, and 293,000 status updates on Facebook every minute, it would seem safe to guess that we are perhaps on track or surpassing that projection.

The concept of “quality over quantity” must be adhered to when it comes to content creation and sharing on social media platforms. Social media users are bombarded with information on a daily basis. In response to this, many platforms have adopted algorithms that play a key role in determining what users are more likely to find engaging, thus tailoring the posts and information that they are subjected to. This means that content creators need to continuously work to obtain both reach and engagement.

The Instagram account @insta_repeat shows a clear visual example of content fatigue. I follow a number of photographers on Instagram who have at times expressed their frustration in content creation. Some feel there is a constant battle between posting what they want to post versus posting what is more likely to get engagement from their viewers (likes, shares, comments). Will these accounts eventually lose a sense of authenticity that seems to be very important to viewer retention and engagement? Is this authenticity important when you choose to consume media? Have algorithms helped or hindered your social media usage?

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Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

Media needs to be both authentic and engaging to keeps users connected. Read more about the risk of content fatigue, and how it can affect both creators and consumers. #contentfatigue #socialmediamarketing #contentcreation


insta_repeat. Medium back person holding this specific type of hat onto their headinsta_repeat. Instagram. January 20, 2019.

Sansevieri, Penny C., and Penny C. Sansevieri. “Content Fatigue: What You Must Do to Stay in Front of Your Customer in a Cluttered Market.” HuffPost, HuffPost, 8 June 2014,

Aslam, Salman. Instagram by the Numbers: Stats, Demographics & Fun Facts. Omnicore, 6 Jan. 2019,

Marr, Bernard. “How Much Data Do We Create Every Day? The Mind-Blowing Stats Everyone Should Read.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 11 Mar. 2019,

Social Media and The Insta-Traveller

Balcony view at Outrigger Reef
Waikiki Beach
Christine Harper / Flickr

Scrolling through Chris Burkard’s awe inspiring instagram feed has me ready to pack my bags in search of a pristine glacial lake, a rolling wave, or a sunrise over the peak of a mountaintop. With over 3 million followers on his Instagram, it’s clear that I’m not alone in my Burkard fandom. Instagram (and other social media sites) are changing the way people travel by being a source of inspiration, information, as well as a creative outlet to share their travelling experiences with others.

The Insta-Influence – Digital Research

The link to mobile use and travel starts well before the booking process even begins. Users are logging into social media sites like Instagram to get inspiration on where to go, and what to do when they get there. 1/3 of US travellers currently look to social media when considering a trip, and 40% of travellers in the UK take into consideration how “instagrammable” a potential getaway is. 80% of all instagram users are outside of the US, which highlights the global reach that the tourism industry has via the social media site.

The Insta-Vacation – Digital Postcards

Some vacations have users logging off of their mobile devices, but many are choosing to stay connected to share their experiences with others. Up to 90% of young travellers share their photos on social media while on vacation! 

The Insta-Recap – Digital Memories

When the vacation ends, the digital memories live on. The photos shared on Instagram are an endless stream of content that helps shape and influence future travel for not only themselves, but for the other 500 million daily instagram users.

How does social media inspire your travels?

When you travel, do you stay connected, or do you prefer to log off? I have definitely used Instagram and other social media sites for trip planning, and I enjoy a healthy balance of being both logged in/logged off. One thing I would never travel without is my camera, so my logged off memories can always be shared at a later time. 

Social Media Blog Promo Example (Facebook/Twitter)


Chris Burkard. Lake Moraine. Instagram, August 19, 2016,

Gigante, Michael Del. “Vacationing the Social Media Way [Infographic].” MDG Advertising, 28 Sept. 2018,

“How Instagram Has Taken Over Tourism Marketing.” The Pixlee Blog, 2 May 2017,;

Salman.aslam.mughal. “• Instagram by the Numbers (2019): Stats, Demographics & Fun Facts.” • Instagram by the Numbers (2019): Stats, Demographics & Fun Facts, 6 Jan. 2019,;