Dorothy Cooper in Lifestyle, Digital Marketing, Digital Marketing & Sales Educational Psychologist and Coach • Iltis Consulting Aug 24, 2017 · 5 min read · +900


What is a social media influencer?

 According to HootSuite, an influencer is quite simply someone who carries influence over others.  A social media influencer is someone who wields that influence through social media. The form of influence can vary and no two influencers are the same. Celebrity endorsements were the original form of influencer marketing, but in the digital age of online connection, regular people have become online “celebrities” with powerfully engaged social media followings, especially in certain market segments. 

A recent survey revealed 84% of marketers plan on executing at least one influencer marketing campaign during the next 12 months.

But what exactly is “influencer marketing?” Well, it’s the gray territory between an official testimonial and a subtle product mention, which is done almost in passing.

The above example is a perfect case-in-point of what brands are now willing to pay big bucks for. It’s not exposure they want. Pure numbers and big promises of “impressions” are only half the value.

The other, more important, half comes from association. It’s happening everywhere, from A-list celebrities all the way down to tiny niche thought leaders. Even small businesses and boutiques will spend a bit of money for a social media influencer with a few thousand followers in their market.

Because what they’ll get in return is targeted exposure to the right kind of consumer, one who is already interested and will likely pay attention.

The only difference is that now, as you scroll through your Instagram feed, you are still seeing advertisements. You just can’t tell right away. Your favorite influencers, who you already follow, are repping products and promoting brands, all the while still staying true to their unique voice and story.

Social media influencers exist on all the primary social platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. 

These are the child stars of the modern day, and they are becoming more and more savvy about how to properly collaborate with brands for their own creative campaigns.

Another interesting stat is that 47% of online consumers use ad blockers, giving brands and businesses, even more, the reason to put their dollars behind influencers instead. Influencers are the ones holding everyone’s attention.

They are the ones people actually spend time watching. And as long as all eyes are on them, more and more brands are going to see value in paying these people to represent their products.

This trend is not limited to mainstream and popular markets such as fashion, athletics, or entertainment. There are influencers in markets centered around everything from bass fishing to hot yoga to mindfulness and spirituality.

Before becoming an "influencer you need to build trust through consistency, engagement, and validity. Too many fail to understand no matter who or what one must research the who they and where they came from and what their social media posts represent. Can we all agree that to say it and doesn't mean much these days? Do your homework before selecting an influencer and do you need a leader or influencer?

And that, in itself, is highly valuable, not just to brands but to other thought leaders as well. Having a personal brand opens doors of opportunity. Now more than ever we see a rising amount of influencers who are starting to understand their value.

Five years ago, it would have been thought ludicrous for a teenager to have a million followers on Instagram. Now? Those same teenagers are negotiating with big brands and calling the shots, always careful to ensure that they don’t “sell out” and just become a product pusher.

The best influencers work to integrate their branded campaigns into their unique stories without skipping a beat. They know their audiences are fickle and can quickly leave, so they treat each and every post with care.

In 2017, these sorts of collaborations between big brands and influencers are only to increase. So much so, that if influencer marketing is the beginning, then what’s next is the shift from social media to social marketing.

NEW! Midnight Oil's Influencer Campaign For Lenovo

Marketing agency Midnight Oil has launched a new influencer marketing campaign for Lenovo. The agency has produced a series of original content videos starring prominent social media personalities.

Leveraging the group’s combined 400,000 social media followers, the talent featured in the campaign includes Nerdist News’ Kyle Hill, fashion designer/scrapbooker Amy Tangerine, and woman’s self-empowerment blogger, Jenna Rammell.

In a series of “how to” videos designed for the influencers' audiences, they showcase their talents while using the Lenovo Yoga 720 and its Windows 10 features, such as intuitive optional pen input with Windows Ink.

The influencers debuted the original content on their social media channels, which Lenovo amplified with paid media buys.

Influencers and Leaders - Stellar

Thought Leadership - 

One of the best ways to establish authority on your topic is to produce deep research on the subject. You have to present a depth of knowledge that no one else has.

You also have to define all of your customers' challenges and define the best ways to overcome them. Many brands think this is an opportunity to talk about their products and how they are better.

I think the focus needs to be on the value of your knowledge rather than just personal and keep your eye on the audience and that ball will never bang you in the head. 



Influencer Advantages

  • Influencers promote thoughts, business tips, and content with strategic marketing which may or may not include podcasts to white papers. Others will try to sell you their products and services, we all need to make a living, right?
  • To me, influence does not alone make someone worth considering as an "Influencer."  I have been lucky to find some great influencers who turn into my best customers. How do I find them?📲
  • Honestly, it's like social listening you need be prepared to cultivate great content and if you do you will want to know more. C'mon if you love a gadget your bestie is showing off, you will grab it in a hot 10 seconds. ✅
  • After I research, watch various media threads and read tweets and articles, I want to take it to the next level. Okay, it's like dating or job hunting. This is where we marketers complicate things. We do not need to be perfect to start vlogging. 🎉
  •  My thoughts go to I must get a facelift, drop 30 lbs, and do a video in some chic studio. 
  •  Ok secret agents, you do not need to be an expert, this is America, we fake it till we make it.
  •  No, forget about being the professional sycophant. I read several tweets today about Chat Snap, inquiring what's the secret to "success."
  •  Okay, lots of stuff is out there so read it or yes sift through it like great fish with some bones. First,  read and research, and then seek an influencer. Research what they're about on and off social media. How they speak, who they hang out with and what kind of person or company profile turns up on social and print media. If I wouldn't hang out with them or allow my kids, then I am not sure I can"t be earnest and authentic about what I love about them. 
  • Someone wearing designer sneakers may not be a qualified applicant for the job. If they love poodles and you're selling cat food, find a cat-lover. Please feel free to search Twitter for "Caturday Saturday." Tell them a dog person sent you. 🤷🏽
  • Common - sense, please I recommend my team thinks of it like getting an estimate for your car, researching a physician and read what they publish. 
  •  If Grammarly picks out errors in a published piece you probably don't need them as a copywriter or editor. 
  • I recently had this experience with someone who offered great advice however when I read their written copy it was inadequate for a guest blog post. 📝
  • One must question what kind of influence occurs as well as does it offer value that will allow influential growth for both collaborators. 
  • Online, social influencers build credibility through transparency. They build trust with their audiences by telling their truth, keeping promises, and demonstrating as much authenticity as possible.  🎭
  • Influencers can establish credibility in numerous ways. For instance, some are established authorities in a specific industry. A physician could turn into a social media influencer because of his or her established medical knowledge.


  • Still, others create credibility simply by showing up for their followers. They post on a regular schedule, provide content their audience likes, and otherwise remain truthful. 🤔
  • It’s true that some social media influencers have small but devoted audiences. These influencers typically post or blog around a very targeted niche, so they don’t need a big audience to make a difference. 🥗
  • Depending on your industry, however, you might want to work with a social influencer who has a larger following. You’ll reach more people and gain enhanced brand visibility. Keep in mind that an influencer’s reach doesn’t stop with the people who follow her on Twitter or Facebook. 
  • "My communities are my followers and my followers with whom I engage and those must be my biggest influencers because they become my customers."💙
  • Even though a social influencer might not have a company, he or she still has a brand. In fact, the brand matters more than anything else.
  • If you can recognize a person’s content from a single glance, you’re probably seeing a brand. Some influencers, for instance, edit their photos using specific filters for posting on Instagram. 
  • They might add text overlays in certain fonts or use specific hashtags. All of these qualities make up the influencer’s brand. #LiveBoldly 💪🏼
  • Influencers know how to convince their audiences to take action.
  • It doesn’t matter how many followers a person has on Instagram if nobody listens to what she says. Social influencers not only mass audiences, but they also prove skillful at convincing their followers to take specific actions — for example, to buy products.
  • Back in 2015, clothing brand Lord & Taylor proved the power of social media influencer marketing. The company got 50 influencers to put on the same dress, to photograph themselves in the dress, and to post the photos to social media.
  • In just three days, Lord & Taylor sold out of the dress. More importantly, they got eyes on the brand’s new collection, which resulted in further sales spikes. 👗🌹
  • If you notice that people follow a person’s advice on social media or in the blogosphere, you’ve probably spotted an influencer.
  • Most social influencers don’t maintain their clout long if they fail to respond to their followers’ comments or otherwise give their audience attention.
  • When you think you’ve spotted a social influencer, pay attention to his or her social media activity. Do you see replies on Twitter?
  •  Do Instagram or Facebook comments receive responses?
  •  Can you find long threads of back-and-forth on the influencer’s blog or timeline? I like to comment on the website and tweet to confirm that I visited the post and I gladly will write a tweet recommending reading the information. 👁🗨


There’s also power in the words themselves, says Ward Farnsworth, dean of the University of Texas School of Law and author of Farnsworth’s Classical English Rhetoric. Farnsworth says that people have an “appetite for well-expressed wisdom, motivational or otherwise.”

Some of their appeals may even be rooted in biology, says media psychology expert and communications consultant Scott Sobel, founder of Media & Communications Strategies, Inc. in Washington, D.C.

“Humans are aspirational. We want to look up to role models and leaders and follow what they ask,” he says. “Leaders and their words–inspirational quotes–affect us on a primal level.”

Words from recognized leaders in business, politics, and the arts may also hold more gravitas because of the assumption that when people are in public positions, they must be accomplished, wise, or otherwise exceptional to have achieved those positions. Those perceptions can make messages from such leaders more powerful.

For people open to their message, well-structured messages that use strong imagery and appeal to our aspirational nature can be meaningful and powerful in changing our thinking and helping us see something in ourselves that we want to change or overcome, Fader says. That’s one of the main reasons they’re passed on from generation to future generations which now include social media. 🐝🐝

Instagram - Influencer Marketing A Wine Worth Sipping Carefully 🍷

You hear Kylie say in passing, “I love my Fashion Nova jeans.” Instantly you feel as though you know something no one else does. You know what she wears, and what she considers to be cool.

This is exactly what has happened. Kylie Jenner partnered up with affordable clothing brand, Fashion Nova, and in one




this clear point (the photo gathering

a stunning 2.2M likes

): you don’t have to buy designer clothes to look like a superstar. You just need Fashion Nova.

The above example is a perfect case-in-point of what brands are now willing to pay big bucks for. It’s not exposure they want. Pure numbers and big promises of “impressions” are only half the value.

The other, more important, half comes from association. It’s happening everywhere, from


celebrities all the way down to tiny niche thought leaders. Even small businesses and boutiques will spend a bit of money for a social media influencer with a few thousand followers in their market.





chloeandisabelChasin' waterfalls with Merchandiser @chloeandisabelbynicole 👆#Linkinbio to shop before this bestseller sells out! 😱#prefall #jotd



stefani_anne_chloe_and_isabelBeautiful! 💛💙




ncalzoneVisit my boutique

Nicole B is one of our most popular and high - roller merchandiser out of approximatley 20,000. This post uses her beauty, poise, and influence as one of the top earning merchandisers in the country.

chloeandisabelHow gorgeous does @riamichelle look in our Petits Bijoux Station Choker Necklace? #tgif #stylewatch

ncalzone❤️❤️.. visit my boutique for these beautiful pieces...

kdobbins23Hi I would like to connect with another Merchandiser because I would like to start sellinh with Chloe & Isabe. But I have some questions.

lipstickandfringe@kdobbins23 Hi! I messaged you, looks like we have Laura Leavitt in common!!!


kdobbins23@lipstickandfringe Hey thank you so much! ☺

lipstickandfringe@kdobbins23 check your Instagram messages

This ad depicts a model wearing a petite Bijoux necklace which is part of the latest launch. I am surprised this did not draw more likes, however, this picture does not show the necklace directly. The influence aspect is used indirectly with hashtag #Stylewatch for the magazine features fashion and beauty utilizing influencers from many walks of life. The colors are splendid because they depict all the colors of the launch with subtleties which make it very pleasing to the eye, rather too unengaging for our millennial clients. I would not have chosen that piece of jewelry but the photo might do well on another media channel like Facebook or Snapchat. 🐝🐝 

Note - I included NASA because I thought they really all elevated us to the stellar level for the #Eclipse2017⚫Dorothy Iltis Cooper Psy.D.

Dorothy Cooper Sep 1, 2017 · #6

You are correct and thanks for contributing to the information. We are forever adding value and that is why the craft keeps improving. Thanks so much.

Jason Baudendistel Aug 31, 2017 · #5

Great information, just to add it really depends on your brand and the message you are wanting to convey. Having authority built up goes a long way toward allowing more premium pricing and better market positioning.

Dorothy Cooper Aug 25, 2017 · #4

I am blown away by all the feedback, I appreciate it thank you!

Lisa Gallagher Aug 25, 2017 · #3

Excellent aticle @Dorothy Cooper. I love your insight with regards to Influencers. I haven't used instagram for a while but when I do it's just to share my photos. I've connected with some fantastic photographers on IG, Like @Tyler_Mckinnon27 @adamsburgers @california_good_clothing @thepaulgarret and others who have a very large following and kindly return likes and comments. Very talented photographers for those who use IG and want more promotion.

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Lance 🐝 Scoular Aug 25, 2017 · #2

🥚cellent article

👥ed 🐝🐝🐤🐳🔥🚲✴

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David B. Grinberg Aug 25, 2017 · #1

Wow, Dorothy, what a wonderful long-form post. You cover some much important ground in this blogging buzz and really articulate a key part of the social media landscape. Personally, I like to think that we are all influencers -- even if that means influencing only a few people. I would also note that corporations are really paying out the big bucks for celebrity social media influencers. Sometimes I wonder if they are worth it per ROI? I suppose it depends on the personality and product. Again, super awesome read!
cc: @Javier 🐝 beBee @John White, MBA @Lance 🐝 Scoular @stephan metral 🐝 Innovative Brand Ambassador @Franci🐝Eugenia Hoffman, beBee Brand Ambassador

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