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Influencer: diving into the heart of a fast-changing profession

In this article, we take a deep dive into the profession of influencer, exploring its many facets, its growing impact on brands, society and audience consumption habits, and the challenges and opportunities that this fast-changing profession presents.

Influencer: diving into the heart of a fast-changing profession
Influencer: diving into the heart of a fast-changing profession


- Definition and diversity of the influencer profession: Influencers are distinguished by their variety of skills, from content creation to digital strategy, and their ability to engage in specific niches or promote causes, reflecting the richness and complexity of the profession.
- Significant impact on brands: Influencers play a crucial role as ambassadors and influencers for brands, offering innovative remuneration strategies and successful collaborations.
- Legal framework for influencer activity: The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) establish rules for influencers in the UK. They set clear standards that uphold transparency, ethics and consumer protection in online promotional activities.
- Influencers and social engagement: Through movements such as Jack Harries’s environment advocacy, influencers are demonstrating their potential as driving forces for social change, using their platform to raise awareness and mobilise around important issues.
- Renowned British influencers: The significant presence and power of influencers such as Alicia Breuer, Munya Chawawa, and Sherice Banton on social platforms illustrates the ability of these personalities to captivate millions of followers. Brands can tap into their followers to increase engagement and awareness.


Definition: what is a social media influencer?

Influencers use their visibility and authority on social networks or other online platforms to influence the purchasing decisions, opinions, or behaviour of a targeted audience. To define influence, it is the ability to affect another person's behaviour. With that in mind, influencers are often perceived as opinion leaders in their respective fields, be it fashion, technology, travel, gastronomy, or well-being, to name but a few.

More generally, an influencer is a person who, by virtue of his or her social position, reputation and/or media exposure, has great power to influence public opinion.

Also, according to Ionos, because of their popularity and expertise in a given field, they are capable of influencing the consumption practices of Internet users through the ideas they disseminate on a blog or any other interactive medium (forum, social network, etc.).

Training: how to become an influencer?

There is no standard training path to becoming an influencer. However, skills in communication, marketing, photography, videography and writing are often necessary to create attractive and engaging content. Many influencers are self-taught, although specific influencer marketing courses are beginning to emerge in some business schools and universities.

Data analysis skills can also be invaluable in optimising engagement and evaluating campaign performance. It is essential to know how to handle digital tools, particularly social networks, and to have a basic understanding of marketing strategy.

That said, there are training courses that can help you acquire these skills and understand the inner workings of the influencer profession. For example, training in digital marketing and communications can be beneficial. What's more, specialised schools offer courses linked to digital communication, such as a Bachelor in Digital Media and Creation or an MBA in Digital Marketing.

Specific social networking courses can also be useful for influencers. For example, the Southeast Technical University in Carlow offers a Bachelor of Arts in Content Creation and Social Media. This course teaches you all the keys to gaining followers, promoting your business, and creating quality content.

In short, although there is no set path to becoming an influencer, training in digital communications, marketing, or social network management can be an asset for those aspiring to work in the profession. However, it's important to note that success as an influencer also largely depends on personality, creativity, and the ability to engage and understand your community.

Do influencers make money?

An influencer's salary depends on a number of factors, including the number of followers, the rate of engagement, the platform used and the niche.

Number of followers: The number of followers is a key factor in determining an influencer's salary. The more followers an influencer has, the more they can charge for a publication. For example, micro-influencers earn an average of £1,021 monthly, while mega-influencers earn £11,050, according to data from the Hype Auditor report,

Rate of engagement: The rate of engagement is another important factor. This is the percentage of followers who interact with an influencer's content. A high engagement rate indicates that the influencer has a strong connection with their community, which can increase the value of their publications,

Platform used: The platform used by the influencer can also affect their earnings. For example, Instagram is one of the most popular platforms for influencers, with over 34 million unique monthly visitors in the UK. Influencers on this platform can earn a very attractive salary,

Niche: An influencer's niche can also affect their salary. Influencers who specialise in specific niches can often charge more for their publications because they have a highly targeted audience.

Brand Collaborations: In addition to the salary they receive for their posts, influencers can also earn money through long-term collaborations, brand ambassador contracts and exclusive partnerships. These types of contracts can significantly increase an influencer's income.

It's important to note that an influencer's salary can vary considerably and depends on many factors. On average, influencers spend 24 hours a week maintaining their account. This includes content creation, communication with followers, team management, marketing strategy and communication with partners.

How many followers to be an influencer?

Generally, a content creator can be considered an influencer once they have over 1,000 followers.

Nano, micro, macro-influencer... What are the different categories of influencers?

Influencers play a pivotal role in today's digital landscape, their influence varying according to their audience, their area of expertise, and their geographical reach. The type of reach they have will affect which campaigns they suit for collaborations.

By audience:

  • Nano-influencers (followers in the range of 1,000 to 10,000): These influencers, characterized by deep engagement and closeness to their community, offer valuable authenticity for specific niches.
  • Micro-influencers (followers in the range of 10,000 to 100,000): Micro-influencers are recognised for their expertise and credibility in a specific sector, attracting a dedicated and engaged audience.
  • Macro-influencers (followers in the range of 100,000 to 1 million): These influencers have a vast reach, ideal for large-scale campaigns targeting a wide audience.
  • Celebrity influencers (followers over 1 million): Celebrity influencers, also known as mega-influencers, have major influence that can be exploited in global marketing campaigns.

By geographical area:

Local influencers: Rooted in a specific region or community, they are effective vehicles for local initiatives, thanks to their resonance at the community level,
National and international influencers: These influencer's extensive reach makes them the best fit for large-scale campaigns aimed at reaching a vast and diverse audience.

By key subject:

Influencers are also distinguished by their area of expertise, which determines their ability to engage specific audiences and influence trends in particular sectors:

  • Fashion influencers: Specialists in the latest clothing trends, they frequently work with fashion brands to highlight specific collections or pieces,
  • Beauty influencers: Experts in cosmetics and skincare routines, these influencers are privileged partners of beauty brands, helping to promote products via tutorials or reviews, much to the delight of Internet users in search of new products,
  • Gastronomy influencers: Passionate about food and the culinary arts, they share gastronomic experiences, recipes or food discoveries, often in collaboration with restaurants or food brands,
  • Travel influencers: Adventurers and explorers, they document their journeys and experiences, becoming ambassadors for destinations or tourist services,
  • Gaming influencers: Immersed in the world of video games, these influencers share their gaming experiences, advice and reviews, often in collaboration with game developers and hardware brands.

The diversity of topics covered by influencers, ranging from fashion and beauty to gaming, home improvement, ASMR and wellness, offers a glimpse into their ability to reach a wide range of audiences and adapt to changing interests and trends. It is essential to recognise that the boundaries between these categories are fluid; an influencer can easily navigate between several areas of expertise or see their area of influence evolve over time.

This versatility enriches their profile and allows brands to work with them on a variety of campaigns tailored to different target audiences, reflecting the dynamic and rich landscape of content creators.

What skills do I need to become an influencer on Instagram and/or other social networks?

To become a recognised and effective influencer, a combination of technical skills, specialist knowledge and personal qualities is essential. Here's a more detailed and developed approach to these key elements, the commonalities possessed by the influencers we love to follow:

- Mastery of social media: The ability to navigate various social platforms (Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, TikTok, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, Twitch) with ease is fundamental. An influencer must not only understand the particularities of each platform but also know how to optimise their content to maximise engagement and reach, adapting their strategy to the specific algorithms and formats of each network,

- Expertise in a specific field: Possessing in-depth knowledge of and a passion for a specific subject (such as fashion, beauty, cooking, fitness, or travel) allows the influencer to position themselves as a credible source of information. This expertise is crucial to creating content that adds value, educates and engages the community on relevant topics,

- Creativity and narrative skills: The ability to create original, captivating and visually appealing content is essential. This includes writing, storytelling and directing skills to create narratives that resonate with the audience, capture their attention, and encourage interaction,

- Marketing and SEO know-how: Understanding digital marketing strategies and SEO principles helps influencers increase their visibility and e-reputation to reach a wider audience. This involves keyword knowledge, SEO on social networks, and the effective use of hashtags and collaborations to improve the ranking of their content,

- Mastery of content creation tools: An essential skill for an influencer is knowledge of video editing, photo editing and other creative applications. These abilities are crucial for producing quality content, optimising production and standing out in a competitive digital environment,

- Data analysis: Influencers need to be able to interpret the metrics and analysis provided by social media platforms to understand their audience's preferences, measure the performance of their content and refine their strategies accordingly,

- Public relations and networking skills: Establishing and maintaining relationships with followers and other influencers, as well as brands and companies, is crucial to building an influential presence. These skills facilitate collaborations, partnerships and the expansion of your professional network,

- Personal qualities: The influencer's personality plays a major role in their success. Authenticity, curiosity, empathy, humour and the ability to inspire trust and respect are assets that help to create a deep connection with the audience.

It's important to note that while some of these skills are innate, most can be acquired and honed with time, practice and ongoing engagement. Many influencers start out with no formal expertise but develop through experience, continuous learning and adapting to the changing digital landscape.


Influencers' impact on the world of digital marketing and communication has evolved considerably in recent years. They now position themselves as a central cog in brands' marketing strategies, helping them to reach their target audience in an authentic and engaging manner.

Their role goes far beyond that of a simple communications vehicle; they act as genuine brand ambassadors, opinion formers, and even campaigners for social or environmental causes.

Here is an expansion on each of the role of influencers in the digital sphere.

The changing role of the influencer

The evolution of Influencer Marketing mirrors the paradigm shift in the world of advertising. Once dominated by generic ads and one-way communication, the advertising landscape has evolved towards a more authentic and personalised interaction between brands and consumers.

Influencers have the ability to create relevant and engaging content, which has transformed the way brand messages are perceived. For example, in 2023, we learned that 71% of respondents (brands, agencies and influencers) admitted to having increased the amount of content they produce and share over the past year. 60% of respondents who devote a budget to influencer marketing also intended to increase their influencer marketing budget in 2024. Finally, 85% felt that influencer marketing is an effective and relevant form of marketing, an increase on previous years.

This has led to a shift in perception, where brand messages are no longer seen as simple advertisements but rather as personal and credible recommendations. This transition underlines the growing importance of influencer marketing in today's media landscape, where trust and authenticity are paramount.

What's more, the impact of influencers on brands is undeniable. According to the Digital Marketing Institute, almost half of consumers (49%) rely on influencers' advice when making purchases, while 82% trust reviews posted on social networks, whether they come from friends, family or the influencers themselves, using these recommendations as a guide in their consumer choices. This clearly demonstrates the importance of influencers in companies' marketing strategies.

The impact of influencers and their role in brands' campaigns continues to evolve. It's a trend shows no signs of slowing down. The brands that successfully navigate this changing landscape will be best prepared to build authentic relationships with their consumers through influencers, creating lasting value for all involved parties.

Creators as ambassadors and influencers

By taking on the roles of ambassadors and influencers, social media creators play a central role in shaping and consolidating a brand's identity. When an influencer endorses a brand or product, it serves as a genuine guarantee of quality, increasing the credibility and desire associated with the product or service they recommend. This promotion is not superficial; it is rooted in the influencer's ability to establish an authentic connection with their audience, making their opinion not just a recommendation but a statement of trust.

The effectiveness of this approach is amplified when influencers share their personal experiences with the products or services in question. These authentic stories create an emotional bond with the audience, making the message not only more credible but also more persuasive. It's a marketing strategy based on the principle of social proof, where consumers are more inclined to follow the actions or recommendations of people they esteem or admire.

What's more, a number of studies and industry reports highlight the growing importance of influencers in consumers' purchasing decisions. For example, according to the Influencer Marketing Hub's 2023 survey cited above, influencer marketing campaigns continue to generate a significant return on investment, with brands and companies returning an average of $5.78 for every dollar spent on influencer marketing. This figure not only illustrates the effectiveness of influencers as ambassadors and influencers but also highlights their ability to generate real and measurable engagement.

Influencers, thanks to their authenticity and ability to make personal connections with their audience, play an indispensable role in brand strategy. Their support goes beyond simple advertising; it constitutes a personal and credible recommendation that can significantly influence purchasing behaviour and strengthen brand loyalty.

Engaged influencers: the example of Jack Harries

Influencers on social networks have repeatedly demonstrated their ability to be more than just vehicles for promoting products or brands. They are also able to position themselves as committed players, defending causes that are close to their hearts and using their platform to raise awareness among their communities of societal, environmental or humanitarian issues.

This dimension of digital influence takes on its full meaning when content creators, such as Jack Harries on Instagram and YouTube, choose to tackle subjects that go beyond the commercial sphere to touch on issues of general interest. His first YouTube channel, JacksGap, showcased his gap-year travels. Soon after, his twin brother, Finn Harries, joined the channel, and the channel’s popularity soared. At this point, their content was mostly watched by the teenage girl demographic. It currently has over 192.82 million views.

The brothers used their popularity to launch another YouTube channel, Earthrise, that made a significant difference. Their channel Earthrise tackled issues surrounding climate change with an honest and humanising perspective.

Their mission is to engage and inspire audiences to take action through compelling social media content. By delivering emotive and research-heavy campaigns about climate crises, they move audiences to donate and collaborate to force genuine change. Through YouTube originals, Earthrise cemented their power as climate activists, interviewing David Attenborough and Jane Goodall for their YouTube Originals series, “Seat at the Table”.

One notable campaign was designed to fundraise for Brizialism indigenous communities. These communities face severe threats to their human rights, with violent and systemic attacks from land invasion, mining, corruption, cultural genocide, deforestation, and aggressive business.

Using storytelling, Earthrise collaborated with Choose Love, Voo Da Vespa, indigenous creators, and spiritual leaders to battle social and environmental injustice, with the aim of questioning Westerners’ views of indigenous communities and the climate.

The campaign generated significant funds, with £150,000 raided in donations, and reached 40M people through Instagram.

This engagement approach shows that social platforms can act as catalysts for collective awareness and action. By sharing information, perspectives and calls to action linked to specific causes, influencers broaden the scope of their impact far beyond recommending products. They become vectors for change, capable of reaching a wide audience and sparking critical reflection on issues that affect society as a whole.

Jack Harries’s commitment underlines the potential responsibility of influencers as opinion leaders in the public sphere. By choosing to speak out on significant issues, they reinforce their authenticity and their bond of trust with their audience, who value a more conscious and considered approach from the people they follow. This demonstrates an evolution in the role of influencers, who are no longer content to entertain or promote but are also seeking to inspire and mobilise around the causes that are shaping our world.

Influencers like Jack Harries represent a powerful example of how social platforms can be used to champion cherished causes, engaging their communities in important discussions and helping to raise collective awareness. This ability to make a positive impact confirms the significant role that influencers can play as agents of change in contemporary society.

Influencer remuneration strategies

Influencer remuneration models are designed to adapt to the unique dynamics of each collaboration between brands and content creators.

These strategies include, but are not limited to:

- Fixed payments for posts or videos: This is a direct remuneration model where influencers are paid a set amount for the production of specific content, such as product placement. Brands  the amount they are will to pay based on a number of factors, such as the reach of the influencer's audience, the rate of engagement, and the complexity of the content required by the brand. This method ensures transparent and predictable compensation for the influencer's efforts,

- Sales-based commissions: This performance-driven allows influencers earn a commission for each sale made via unique promo codes or tracking links. This model directly aligns the influencer's interests with those of the brand, motivating influencers to create content that converts while providing a measurable way for brands to track campaign ROI,

- Benefits in kind: Non-monetary rewards, such as free products, invitations to exclusive events, or unique experiences, are particularly attractive for collaborations where an authentic and personal connection with the product or brand is essential. This type of remuneration strengthens long-term relationships and promotes authentic and passionate content.

Factors Influencing Remuneration Rates

Compensation rates for influencers vary widely, influenced by factors such as the platform used, the type of content produced, the type of influencer and the influencer's niche. For example, video content on YouTube may require higher rates due to the complexity of production and the deeper engagement it generates compared to other forms of content.

What is influencer marketing?

When a company chooses to work with an influencer or influencers to increase awareness, reach, and sales, it is known as influencer marketing.

Influencer remuneration is a fundamental aspect of Influencer Marketing, requiring careful planning and strategic management to align influencers' interests with brands' marketing objectives. By adopting flexible remuneration models and recognising the importance of the ever-changing digital landscape, brands can build successful and sustainable collaborations that benefit all stakeholders.

What is an influencer platform?

Creators can collaborate with influencer platforms or agencies. These companies host influencers details so that brands can research collaborators that fit their campaigns. Whether influencers have a small or large followings, a company may seek to tap into their audience through these tools.

A successful collaboration between a company and a UK influencer

A brand and a UK influencer a strategic alliance that leverages the influencer's credibility and reach to achieve mutual marketing objectives.

Armani x Amelia Breuer

Distinguishing a new product in the high-competition luxury beauty industry requires innovation, creativity, and a top strategy. Armani Beauty sought to captivate and engage consumers for the launch of its fragrance, My Way Floral. The campaign was designed to not only introduce the fragrance but also create a narrative that resonated, connected, and ultimately drove sales.

Armani Beauty's approach to this campaign was multifaceted, integrating many of TikTok's ad features to target a broad audience. To support the campaign and drive authenticity, Armani partnered with a diverse group of creators, producing content that ranged from heartfelt reviews to polished brand advertisements.

One influencer who partnered with Armani for the campaign was Alicia Breuer.

Breuer is a TikTok creater born in Kettering, England. She has over 1.3M followers on TikTok creating beauty- and humor-themed posts, such as lip syncs, and makeup tutorials. She shared an authentic video reviewing the product in nature wearing simple makeup whiloe speaking directly to the camera. This post has over 15,000 likes.

The TikTok campaign was a huge success, evidenced by a remarkable 272% increase in click-through rate, brand awareness rising by 7.4%, and brand favorability by 4.8%, surpassing the outcomes of Armani's 2021 study and showcasing significant year-over-year growth.

@aliciabreuer0 #ad a simple makeup hack with minimal makeup to get a lifted, sculpted makeup look using @Armani beauty luminous silk concealer @LOOKFANTASTIC #makeup #concealerhack ♬ Dance You Outta My Head - Cat Janice

M&S x Munya Chawawa

British retailer Marks & Spencer leveraged influencer marketing through TikTok to promote their Valentine’s Dine In menu which aimed to bring luxury to dining at home. The objective was to highlight their Valentine’s Day offer, featuring indulgent meals coupled with dessert and a drink.

To achieve this, M&S partnered with some of the UK's most prominent TikTok influencers, including Munya Chawawa.

Munya Chawawa is a UK comedian and influencer with 1.6M TikTok and 1.3M Instagram followers. He often creates humorous posts featuring comedy characters such as the posh rapper “Mr P”.

M&S chose these influencers because of their engaging content and strong connection with the UK audience. Together, they created three captivating 18+ videos that were strategically placed in TikTok's TopView and In-Feed Brand Premium Ads, incorporating the influencers' original content.

Running from February 10-14 in the lead-up to Valentine’s Day, the M&S campaign amassed over 18.5 million impressions, with an impressive average watch time exceeding 4 seconds. The campaign’s click-through rate was over 15%, directing thousands of people to the M&S website to explore the Valentine’s Dine In menu.

@munyachawawa Guys beginning with ‘J’ on Valentine’s 💘🫣 #comedy #valentines #valentine ♬ original sound - Munya Chawawa

Tampax x Sherice Banton

Tampax collaborated with Sherice Banton to develop an open dialogue with consumers through promotional content that doesn’t directly feel like advertising.

Banton is a UK TikTok creator and expert. Her goal is to craft fresh, innovative content through either organic reach or campaigns. For Tampax, she wanted to create an organic and viral hit video. Her approach was to start with a highly engaging first video and then follow it up with a second video that responds to the first. This tactic boosted views for the second video, allowing it to go viral.

The end result was 2M views on the video, building awareness and authenticity for the Tampax brand.


The influencer profession is now subject to tighter regulations. Governments now recognise the need for specific guidelines and regulations to protect consumers, ensure transparency, promote ethical practices, and establish clear boundaries for influencers and brands.

Regulatory Bodies and Guidelines

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) regulate influencer marketing in the UK. These organizations emphasize the importance of tagging sponsored content to maintain transparency for consumers.

The ASA analyzed 24,000 Instagram stories in 2021 and found that ads were not properly tagged. Now, it requires that any form of paid content, directly or indirectly, be clearly identifiable as such. Influencers must use explicit and unambiguous labels like #ad or #sponsored on their posts and stories to disclose partnerships with brands. These guidelines aim to prevent misleading advertising and ensure that consumers can easily distinguish between organic content and paid promotions.

Influencers must also express truthful opinions about their experiences with the products or services they endorse. This includes reflecting on incentives received for a positive review and not exaggerating the benefits of products. The CMA considers endorsement to be any type of reward, including discounted and gifted products and services.

In addition, influencers operating in niches like gambling must not create content that is likely to appeal to young people.

An influencer or company that ignores these rules may be found to have broken the law and face enforcement action by trading standards authorities, which could lead to criminal prosecution.  

Global Awareness

The international nature of social media means that content created in the UK can be seen worldwide, meaning influencers and brands should be aware of not only UK regulations but also international laws that might apply to their content.

Intellectual Property

In the UK, the protection of intellectual property (IP) is a critical aspect of influencer marketing, safeguarding the rights of creators and promoting an environment of creativity and innovation. Intellectual property rights, encompassing copyright, trademarks, and patents, are integral to the creation and branding of influencer content. The UK's established copyright framework includes provisions for fair use, which permits the limited use of copyrighted material for purposes such as criticism, commentary, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research. This allows influencers to use copyrighted materials within their content in a way that respects the rights of original creators while fostering their own creativity. Influencers should define their IP rights within their contacts with brands.

Future Regulations

As the influencer profession continues to evolve, the legal framework surrounding it is expected to become more nuanced and detailed. This progression will likely involve more specific guidelines on various forms of content and how disclosures should be made in each context. The aim will be to balance the creative freedom of influencers with the need to protect consumers and uphold the integrity of digital marketing.

About Kolsquare

Kolsquare is Europe’s leading Influencer Marketing platform, a data-driven solution that allows brands to scale their KOL Marketing strategies and implement authentic partnerships with KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders). Kolsquare’s technology enables marketing professionals to easily identify the best Content Creators profiles by filtering their content and audience, and to build and manage their campaigns from A to Z, including measuring results and benchmarking performance against competitors. Kolsquare has built the largest community of influencer marketing experts in the world, and offers hundreds of customers (Coca-Cola, Netflix, Sony Music, Publicis, Sézane, Sephora, El Corte Inglés, Lacoste, …) the latest Big Data, AI and Machine Learning technologies to drive inspiring partnerships, tapping into an exhaustive network covering 100% of  KOLs with more than 5,000 followers in 180 countries on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. As a Benefit Company, Kolsquare has been pioneering Responsible Influence by championing transparency, ethical practices, and meaningful collaborations to inspire change.

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