Blether Digital

Investigating Influence - The Podcast

002: "Influencer" shouldn't be a dirty word

How do you define what makes someone an influencer?

Nowadays, influencer is mostly used as a catch-all term for someone who has a large following on social media – be that a blogger, reality star or that girl who lives down the street and likes to post her outfits on her Instagram.

The growth of dodgy practices on Instagram and the increasing number of *cough* Love Island *cough* reality stars who will push diet pills on their unsuspecting audience for a quick buck have resulted in some negative connotations associated with the word.

That being said, however, it’s undoubtedly the best way to quickly summarise what content creators and social media personalities do – they’re influencing people to buy certain brands or visit certain places through their recommendations.

When it comes to consumer behaviour, anyone can be an influence on your decisions, and it’s not limited to social media. Typically, an influencer can be defined as “a person with the ability to influence potential buyers of a product or service by promoting or recommending the items”. That might be your best friend, the people you work with, or just about anyone you come into contact with. My mum influences me to try new things – but she has a grand total of 46 followers on an Instagram account she hasn’t used since 2016.

It’s hard to define what an influencer really is in modern marketing, and I don’t think it’s possible to draw a line in the sand to create a clear cut definition that ticks all of the boxes. Influencer marketing is not a new thing – at its core, it’s all about word of mouth recommendations. I’ve been making word of mouth recommendations since before I knew the internet was a thing, so why is it suddenly such a big deal?

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"Fearless First" by Kevin MacLeod (
License: CC BY (