It’s time to recognize the evolution from “blogger” to “influencer” and adjust the way we are speaking about this aspect of a digital strategy. Bloggers can be influencers, but influencers are not necessarily bloggers.

This person may or may not have their own website, but they definitely have one or more of these popular social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and/or Snapchat. They use these pages to leverage their popularity to influence their followers to buy a product, introduce them to a brand, or encourage them to try, taste, use something or go somewhere they haven’t before.

Why is this important?

From a public relations standpoint, it’s essential to realize that not all digital influencers have a webpage – many of them simply focus on their image-driven Instagram accounts that inspire, motivate and entertain their followers or their keen sense of humor and good eye for Snapchat.

The rise of social media and the “influencer”

If someone at a mall kiosk tries to sell me a product by forcefully asking me to sample it, I’m typically not interested. If an influencer on social media, who I feel that I know personally and has credibility with me, shows how they are using the product in their real lives – now you have my interest. Remember, authenticity is key to marketing and establishing credibility.

Are these people really important in a PR strategy?

In 2016, Yahoo Tech estimated that an Instagrammer with 100,000 or more followers can fetch up to $900 for a sponsored post. Half a million followers? They could bring in up to $3,000. Forbes wrote about the top four YouTubers of 2015 and disclosed that the lowest-paid YouTube star earned $2.5 million, while the highest-paid pulled in $12 million in just one year. These are people to pay attention to, because your target audience is probably paying attention to them!

MP&F + influencers

We partner with influencers, and at times negotiate contracts, for a wide range of clients. To name a few, for Opry Mills, we coordinate fashion influencers to do Instagram takeovers; for Renaissance Nashville Hotel, we invite food and lifestyle bloggers to come to our events and taste our food to post to their channels and encourage their followers to eat at the Renaissance. For events like Marine Week Nashville, we invited influencers to Snapchat or Instagram Story their experience to encourage their followers to come participate. There are countless ways we can incorporate them into our strategies, and we will continue to as their influence grows and evolves.

Digital influencers are impacting where people shop and eat, whom they follow, and what they pay attention to, so it’s important that PR pros pay attention to them.