A social media influencer is any person who has a significant following on a social media platform and holds considerable sway or ‘influence’ over his or her followers. Influencers are everywhere today and in every field. Whether it is food, beauty, wellness, health, or politics, everything is being marketed through social media today. Even celebrities use influencers to reach their audience and promote their brands and films.
The influencers are set to spread their influence further in 2024. MNCs, movie stars, politicians—everyone is reaching out to them. This has now also started bypassing mainstream media and traditional marketing avenues. Influencer marketing entails a product, brand, or celebrity endorsed, used, or reviewed by a person with a large social media following, whether it is Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube. However, Instagram and YouTube are the top platforms that help influencers generate a good income. Instagram, a leading social media platform for influencer marketing, has over two billion accounts globally. The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) estimates the social media influencer industry at USD 150 million, or approximately Rs 1,200 crore. Influencers are the next big thing in marketing campaigns.
Top influencers who garnered attention among celebrities and politicians
The most celebrated of them all in 2023 was fitness influencer Ankit Baiyanpuria, propelled to stardom when Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared screen space with him while leading a nationwide cleanliness drive in October. Sharing a four-minute video on his official X account, Modi posted, “Today, as the nation focuses on Swachhata, Ankit Baiyanpuriya and I did the same! Beyond just cleanliness, we blended fitness and well-being also into the mix. It is all about that Swachh and Swasth Bharat vibe!”
The prime minister even said “Ram Ram bhai sara ne”, a phrase popularized by the Haryana wrestler in his exercise videos. The 25-year-old wrestler has over 7.6 million followers on Instagram and a huge following on YouTube where he regularly posts his workout videos.
Congress Leader Rahul Gandhi also gave an interview to the Youtuber Kamiya Jani. Her YouTube channel is called “Curly Tales” and has over 20 lakh subscribers.
Journalist-cum-Instagrammer Arun Singh, who goes by the name Jhumroo on the platform, added that brands have suddenly become interested in influencer marketing because “that’s where people are”.
Why social media is more popular than mainstream media
Manish Solanki, the co-founder of social media marketing agency The Small Big Idea, credits the “genuine, unscripted connection” of influencers with their followers that cuts through “advertising clutter”.
“Influencers allure brands with authentic, word-of-mouth appeal… Trendsetters by nature, influencers navigate cultural currents, guiding brands to the forefront of what’s in vogue. Whether mega or micro, their reach fosters engaged communities, transcending mere numbers. One of their fortes is versatility – creators, storytellers, and brand ambassadors rolled into one,” Solanki told PTI.
Also, brands have realized that most of their audience is on Instagram and very few are reading newspapers or watching television these days. Hence more and more people are now shifting to social media to promote their brands and products or even to promote themselves and their name.
By: Gursharan Kaur