What Does It Mean to be an IG Influencer?
October 4, 2021

The first two decades of the 21st century have introduced the world to a previously impossible occupation: the Instagram influencer.


While style icons and influential people have always existed in some form or another, the IG influencer is a whole new beast. Their range is global, their audiences loyal, and their influence financially lucrative.


But what does it mean to be an Instagram influencer? Are there any qualifications? How does engaging with them help a business?


Let’s find out.


What Is an Influencer?


Simply put, an influencer is an Instagram user with a sizeable audience who is able to influence that audience’s purchasing decisions.


They aren’t necessarily experts or qualified in anything but are usually considered credible and trustworthy.


Their audience isn’t just large, it’s also active and engaged —they respond, they react, and when the influencer recommends, they buy. Or, at the very least, seriously consider it.


It’s its own category of “being famous” and people think it's more accessible, or more easily achieved, due to the nature of social media. IG influencers are often considered to be famous simply for being famous (like, people think they don’t have any talents), but the reality is they’ve often put a lot of time and effort into curating their Instagram accounts into something marketable.


What Is Influencer Marketing?


The concept is simple:


•  Find an influencer who speaks to your desired audience. If you sell fitness clothing, find a fitness influencer. If you sell watches, find fashion or lifestyle influencers. You don’t want to team up with Marie Kondo, renowned interior design influencer, to market an energy drink for pro skateboarders.

•  Ask them to talk about your products or services. You typically don’t want the influencer to simply talk about your brand —people don’t really do that. Instead, give them specific products that are relevant to their niche so they can use them and then talk about them with their audience. Send a fitness influencer some activewear to model, for example.

•  Profit. Your influencer’s audience will see them talking about your product and be influenced to either buy it specifically or check out your brand for more.


It’s an evolution of traditional brand sponsorships – think movie stars and athletes selling energy drinks or skin care products in paid advertisements.


The only real difference is the marketing is much more targeted— the influencer’s audience is typically following them for one particular niche. When movie stars talk about a product, the message is broadcast to everyone. When an influencer talks about a product, it’s directly to people who might already be interested, and nobody else.


This presents a very cost-effective way to market to a specific audience — both in terms of financial costs and time costs. You can get your product in front of just the people you want it to be without wasting time and money split-testing Facebook or Google ads. The influencer has done the work for you.



IG Influencer Examples


These aren’t the three top Instagram influencers, but they should give you an idea of the kind of requirements for an influencer to be, well, influential.


Addison Rae (@addisonraee)


Addison Rae is an IG influencer who went mainstream. She fits well into the beauty and lifestyle niche, combining modelling, beauty tips, and on-trend social media videos to keep her audience engaged. She has almost 40million followers on Instagram who have followed her to her Netflix show and burgeoning music career.


Khaby Lame (@khaby00)


Khaby burst onto the scene in 2020, starting on TikTok but quickly moving on to Instagram. He’s best known for his videos mocking insane DIY tips and tricks, amassing a following of over 35 million people.


Kayla Itsines (@kayla_itsines)


Kayla is an Australian fitness influencer. She has the lowest follower count on this list — “just” 13 million — but those 13 million followers have helped her launch her own brands while also advocating for others. Fitness followers on Instagram are some of the most active and dedicated; fitness influencers can easily sell anything from fitness clothes to home gyms to even diet plans.


How Effective is Influencer Marketing?


It’s common for people to dismiss the concept of influencer marketing. It’s new, and the concept of regular people being enormous brand ambassadors is just weird, right?


Then you look at the stats, and it’s a whole other story.


•  Almost half of consumers depend on influencer recommendations.

•  93% of markets will use influencer marketing at some point.

•  90% of marketers believe influencer marketing is an effective marketing strategy.

•  89% of marketers believe Instagram is the most important influencer platform.

•  70% of teens trust influencers more than celebrities.

•  40% of millennials believe their favorite influencer understands them better than their friends.


It’s not hard to see how Instagram influencers have started to wield such power. IG usage has grown 10 times in five years. The visual-based platform is ideally suited to marketing things like luxury brands, sports clothes, and beauty products.


Any business looking to reach a targeted market needs to seriously consider influencer marketing as part of their marketing approach right now!