Comprehensive Planning

The Art of Influencing Responsibly

What are influencers and what role do they play in today’s world?

Today, more than ever before, we hear the word “influencers” a lot, which is usually associated with the younger generation who have a strong presence on social media platforms (e.g., Tumblr, LinkedIn, Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, etc.). But what are influencers and what role do they play in today’s ever-changing world?

An influencer is someone who has a specific knowledge, authority or deep insight into a subject matter. Influencers have a long history in marketing their own brands along with assisting celebrities, athletes and companies to sell their products or services. The rise of social media over the past five years has made influencers extremely popular. One of biggest influencers in the social media game is Kim Kardashian, who, because of her own brand, is worth a reported $1.8 billion in 2022, according to Forbes.

A recent study done by InfluencerMarketingHub.com found that participants ages 13-24 were twice as likely to evaluate an influencer by his or her social media presence and follower count over older audiences. Further, the study found that there’s no denying that influencer marketing is a lucrative business. The market grew from $1.7 billion in 2016 to $9.7 billion in 2020. In 2021, it soared to $13.8 billion, indicating steady growth. In 2022, the market is projected to expand to a whopping $16.4 billion industry.

So, does being a top influencer come with any responsibility? From this writer’s perspective, yes. As the old saying goes, “With great power comes great responsibility,” meaning influencers must share in the responsibility of ensuring they are well educated on any product or topic that they share and must accept the “power” they have to influence others. This should include having a strong moral and ethical compass when introducing a product, brand or service to your audience and followers.

We as followers or audiences of influencers must do our part as well. We must ensure that we do not put our full faith and trust in others before we have done our homework — specifically asking ourselves, “Do I fully trust and believe in this person, product or service?” After all, we give others the power to influence and change us, and with great power comes great responsibility.

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