What is a social influencer? The exact definition for each industry is slightly different, but you can usually spot a social influencer by searching for a few key traits.

Social media influencers are people who have credibility, a large amount of followers, an established brand, the ability to encourage followers to take action, active engagement with their audience, and a unique voice.

Credibility

Credibility is the quality of being trusted and believed in. Social influencers develop credibility through transparency. They keep promises, strive to be honest at all times, and present their authentic self. Credibility can be established in several ways. Some influencers are experts in a specific industry and possess the education and knowledge to give them credibility. Others create credibility by simply showing up and posting on a constant, reliable schedule.

Followers

Some influencers, especially niche bloggers, have a small but devoted audience. However, it’s often beneficial to work with an influencer who has a large following. That way, you’ll reach more people and gain more exposure.

Branding

Every social influencer has a brand. This brand is extremely important. If you can recognize a person’s content from a single glance, that person has an established brand. Some influencers edit their photos using the same two filters on Instagram, which makes their feed easily recognizable. Others might use a specific vocabulary unique to the area they live in.

Persuasion

Influencers can encourage their followers to take action. This action might be to buy a certain product, eat a certain way, or follow someone on social media. If you notice people following a person’s advice on social media, you’ve probably spotted an influencer.

Engagement

If you think you’ve spotted a social influencer, check out their social media activity. Do you see many replies? Do comments receive responses? Can you find long conversation threads on the influencer’s blog? These things will typically let you know if the person actively engages with their audience.

Voice

Social influencers generally possess a unique voice, which leads to transparency and authenticity. These characteristics draw in large audiences. If you’ve been following someone on Instagram for several months, and then you see a post that sounds nothing like them, you’ll know something’s off.

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