Following counts and likes have turned into a new form of gauge on people’s worth which translates to actual monetary values. Influencers are now being paid in amounts depending on their follower count, something not even showbiz firmly quantified before. With the advent of digital age, through various technological advances like smartphones, also came the inception of social media presence. Social media is computer-based technology that facilitates the sharing of ideas, thoughts, and information through the building of virtual networks and communities. Users engage with social media via computers, tablets, or smartphones with web-based software or web applications, often utilizing it for messaging.

Nowadays, it is almost impossible to meet someone who does not own any social media account—be it Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. In fact, it has permeated our lives so much, that using social media is already a part of our daily routine. People spend a number of hours in a day just to share mundane matters to their deepest thoughts. The ideas they then share generate likes and boost their follower counts.

Along with the interjection of social media in our lives was the obsession of people on their following counts and likes. To some, the numbers and figures that make up one’s likes and following count is tantamount to their worth as a person. People scramble to get the most likes and followers. We have become a culture that is fixated with updating Facebook statuses, uploading Instagram stories, or sending tweets.

Ironically, social media has made us anti-social beings. Despite those negative bits, this culture also breeds a positive repercussion to society. One’s standing in likes and follower counts can actually be commensurate to a monetary value that can be a source of one’s income. The 21st century has brought both opportunities and challenges in our global, boundless world. As such, companies need to continually stay up to date on technology, customers, and social media. For instance, marketers must truly engage with customers, embrace technology, and be informed about the opportunities of social media.

Marketing with the use of social media essentially consists of taking advantage of follower counts in order to gain more publicity and customer reach. In this sense, the brands get to advertise their products to a much more active audience measured through the online reactions such as likes. Normally, these corporations get an already existing social media account with a large following to do the posting for them. These social media accounts, maybe those of the celebrities or those of people who has a lot of followers, are called “influencers.”

An influencer is an individual who has the power to affect purchase decisions of others because of his/her authority, knowledge, position, or relationship with his/her audience. This individual has a following on a particular niche, which involves active engagement; and the size of the following depends on the size of the niche.

Influencers on social media are people who have built a reputation for their knowledge and expertise on a particular topic. They make regular posts about topics on their preferred social media channels and generate large followings of enthusiastic engaged people who pay close attention to their content.

Brands love social media influencers because they can create trends and encourage their followers to buy products they promote which translate sales, then profit for them. In return, these social media creators get paid in proportion to the amount of likes or exposure they were able to get for the product. An influencer shares, “Basically, we do our thing, brands approach us to take a photo or talk about their product/service/campaign, and post about it on our social media and we leave it all to our audience (who is the brand’s target consumer).

Instagram is the main platform because this is where these personalities-turned-influencers, and consumers are mostly at. This is where brands can purely direct people’s attention to their product through photos or videos, and hopefully get them to consume with the aid of the influencer’s personality, content, and/or creativity.

The proliferation of influencers begs to answer these questions: Are influencers positive or negative inclusions to society? Could their standing in life being broadcast all over social media be detrimental to how people think their lives should be?

An influencer posits, “As far as I’m concerned, I don’t think we are a negative inclusion. We help entrepreneurs big or small. We make things, ideas, goals, whether it’s personal or marketing-related, happen. No matter how much some people complain about how better life is without social media, it’s already there. We just have to learn how to utilize it. It creates many opportunities. At the end of the day, where there is people and their attention is, business, advertising even politics will be there.”

Accordingly, he added that influencers are also more than what we see them, “It’s way more than that. Personally, I don’t want my creativity and authenticity being limited by campaign briefs and I don’t work with brands that I will not actually use or believe in because I will eventually feel guilty posting about it. I just hope people will know the difference. Being an influencer is not the “dream,” it’s just part of the process of becoming your own brand for your own business.”