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How the Social Media Influencing Landscape has Evolved

by Roveen Anyango
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The social media landscape has changed over time, though whether for the better or worse depends on who you are asking.

Nonetheless, the infiltration of social media into our everyday lives cannot be understated. It now determines where we shop, where we go on holiday, what car to buy, and many other things.

All this is due to social media influencing, with people who have large followings shaping public opinions. But it influence has evolved over the years.

Transparency

Previously, influencers often tried to hide the fact that they were using sponsored products. This meant that they tried to sell a product to the consumer which they had no belief in.

However, over the past few years, there has been a rise in influencers who only sponsor products that they use, or at least, are honest when they make content with a product that is sponsored. This transparency has allowed them to gain much more influence as shapers of the consumer market demands.

Engagements over large followers

In the early days of social media, followers were the be-all and end-all of its’ influence. It went without saying that the more followers one had, the more ‘influence’ they wielded.

However, that has changed over the past few years. With reports of influencers buying followers, many social media site algorithms now prioritize engagements over following when pushing social media pages.

So, influencers with a smaller following but a high follower-to-engagement ratio are more likely to get more influencing jobs and for longer than those with a large following but a low follower-engagement ratio.

Growth of regular influencers

During the early days of media, many of the most prominent people online were mostly celebrities, people who already had well-established names and brands from traditional media. Thus, they were the ones corporates sought to for influencing jobs.

However, over the past few years, we have witnessed a new phenomenon where everyday folks manage to build a big community online through being themselves. These content creators, as they are known, become very effective social media influencers as they are more connected to their followers, meaning they wield significant influence over most of them. Thus, even their sponsored content becomes more authentic and relatable.

Social media marketing has indeed shifted from a primary focus on popularity; it now puts more emphasis on authenticity and transparency. Many companies now know that the market is fragmented. Thus, they are trying to reach a niche but potentially loyal consumer base. And thus, they do this through the macro, micro, and nano social media influencers.

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