Social media influencing relates to an individuals ability to affect other peoples thinking, believing in a social community. The more influence a person, brand or company has, the more appeal they can have to another person, brand, or company who wants to promote an idea or to sell a product.

A social media influencer is a person who has the power to affect the purchasing decisions of others because of his or her authority, knowledge, position, or relationship with his or her audience.  Companies hire influencers to help generate brand awareness among viewers, sell inventory and increase customer engagement. 

Over the last decade, we have seen social media grow rapidly in importance. According to the most recent statistics, the projected number of global social media users in 2023 is 4.89 billion, indicating a 6.5% rise from last year.

What started out as a pastime for a few internet enthusiasts especially in Nigeria has spiraled into a huge multi-million dollar industry. Little did the early influencers know the full extent to which the online space would thrust them into the epicenter of todays technology- driven marketing ecosystem.

Even if the social account began as a hobby, an influencer will reach a point where they realize their platform is valuable and seek paid work. Or a brand will beat them to it and reach out to them directly. Social media is an incredibly competitive space. For an influencer to be in a position where brands will actually pay them for collaborations, they will have great content creation skills, whether thats in photography, videography, styling or illustration. They will have also amassed an audience, steadily building a connection over the years, adding value to their followers lives, fastidiously replying to their comments and DMs. It will have taken time, dedication, skill and often a fair amount of kit. Once those brand collaborations come, it doesnt get any easier. 

For many who want to take the leap from being a part-time hobbyist to a full-time creative, brand collaborations give them the financial freedom to follow this passion. It doesnt always come easy though and influencers have to fight for their worth, even within the industry. 

Alternatively, theres also a segment of professionals who have risen to the level of a social media influencer as a byproduct of their expertise in a given subject. There are corporate executives, thought-leaders, scientists, academics, corporate executives, and others who are also influencers. The Internet and platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn, provide these influencers with a social media presence and a stage to communicate their expertise to a wider audience than if they just wrote a book, for instance. 

For these influencers, this social media presence may result in becoming a mini-celebrity and the rewards of receiving increased professional recognition along with additional associated professional benefits. 

Given the facts laid out above, it does seem that social media influencer could be a valid career  but perhaps not an easy one, and certainly not for everyone. More importantly, some influencers could actually find their way into a larger career.