Article presented by Smart Guys

Just a few short years ago, it was extremely simple to go online and find content created by individuals in almost any niche, and those that offered the most value to viewers were considered to be reputable, impactful voices that garnered worthwhile consumer attention. Those with personal brands who promoted and reviewed products and services, shared lifestyle content, and even showcased their skills were given the term ‘influencer’. These individuals often built a significant following and larger brands quickly took notice and began offering deals and collaborations that proved to be lucrative on all sides. In 2023, it seems that sentiment has shifted and the question on everybody’s lips is if the trend of social media influencers is over.

A closer look at influencers

While the sector hit its peak in 2019, iterations of this type of marketing have actually been around since the 18th century. While it started out with endorsements awarded to highly recognizable brands, efforts quickly moved on to fictional characters that focused and improved consumer sentiment. Soon, marketing strategies were developed that prioritized celebrity collaboration to instill trust and generate excitement, but as the needs of the consumer changed and the lifestyles of famous people became more out of touch with the everyday individual, this shifted too. New wave efforts saw companies working with reality TV stars and by around 2016, the rise of social media platforms and sharing content breathed more life into the niche. As people from all demographics and backgrounds were able to establish themselves online with relatable documentation of their daily lives, businesses saw the potential in offering those with high engagement rates rewards for promoting their products and services. The concept spread like wildfire and the influencer was born.

Who was able to earn the title?

The reason why the concept became so popular was that absolutely anyone had the ability to establish an online presence and with the right clout, could monetize their efforts. This could be via affiliate marketing, sponsorship, and even by integrating adverts into their feeds. Of course, content was of huge importance and those who were really able to resonate with audiences saw the most success. Anyone with a large following that had engagement to match was offered brand deals – and niche wasn’t necessarily important (for example, gaming YouTubers were targeted by energy drink brands for promotion).

The top platforms hosting influencers were Instagram and YouTube – and these are still leading the charge today. While things have seemingly died down in the last couple of years, the good news is that brands are still highly interested in collaborating with the right individuals and influencers are still as popular now as they have ever been.


How to get noticed as a potential candidate for brand deals and monetization

With an increase in the use of digital environments, it can be a little more difficult to earn the title. Many personal brands are already well-established and for every niche and medium, there are millions of content creators vying for attention. This means that it will be pivotal to set up a strong online identity, provide nothing short of the most entertaining or relevant content, maximize reach where possible, and post consistently. Interestingly, AI has stepped into the fray with a host of productivity tools, helping individuals to not only streamline processes like post scheduling, but there is also a growing focus on marketing materials and creating high-quality content.

Right now, the top tools in an influencer’s itinerary are photo and video editing software. When choosing a platform like CapCut, users will be able to do everything from subtitling videos with the highly intuitive speech to text software, create engaging GIFs, upscale both photos and videos, and even generate stunning headshots for profile pictures or anything in between with the AI portrait generator (and they won’t even have to use their own face).

It’s no secret that the higher the quality of the content and the more valuable the information provided, the better the chances of it having the reach and impact that content creators are hoping to achieve. As the modern consumer is now looking to interact with stunning visual content that tells a story and gets a message across in as little as a few seconds, not making use of photo and video editing tools is setting social media influencers behind the competition that do.

Is the trend of social media influencers over?

The answer to this is unequivocally no. In fact, while sentiment has changed in the last few years, the right content creators still have the ability to go viral and attract the attention of brands and monetize their content. It can be an extremely lucrative income stream for those that offer great content and post often, and while plenty of niches may seem oversaturated, there is still a wealth of potential to be tapped into.