Have influencers always existed?

Today, the term "influencer" is on everyone's lips, with some arguing that this phenomenon is growing strongly and others thinking it's a fictitious job.

Today, the term “influencer” is on everyone’s lips, with some arguing that this phenomenon is growing strongly and others thinking it’s a fictitious job. But is the figure of the influencer really a novelty of the new millennium? If by “influencer” we mean a person who, thanks to their notoriety, has the power to influence the purchasing power of others, the answer is no.

Testimonials, endorsers, influencers. The name changes but the result remains the same, as in famous mathematical formulas. Indeed, in advertising, the engagement of celebrities or people who have a strong influence on the public has always been used, with the sole purpose of ensuring guarantee and security to potential buyers and thus having a high probability of conversion.

“Testimonial” would be the correct term to use in reference to ordinary people who can represent the perfect image of an ideal, for example, a typical consumer of that particular product or service, but it is often used even when it comes to famous personalities.

The endorser, on the other hand, is almost always a celebrity, especially in the music or sports fields, and their main characteristic that sets them apart from the testimonial is that they often have an active role in the design and/or use of the product they are promoting.

We could say that the influencer is a fusion of both in many aspects. They are, in fact, by definition, ordinary people who speak as consumers, like we could be, giving a personal review and opinion on certain services or products that they themselves use or of which they already have constant use.

Why aren’t we all influencers?

What is the difference between an ordinary person and an influencer? And above all, can it be considered a real job? The substantial difference lies in the following that these figures have, where thanks to the simple creation of a social channel, they manage to attract a large number of people, creating a sort of personal brand that deals with a specific sector, and this is precisely the work of the influencer. It is no coincidence that, although it is a highly sought-after position lately, few really succeed in the enterprise.

Contrary to what one might think, being authentic and empathetic through a screen by regularly providing quality original content that satisfies people without boring them is very difficult, especially lately, where the attention span decreases year by year.

Many think that it is often improvisation, from the way of communicating to the posted materials; in reality, the work of these content creators is very complex. To function at best, a strategy must be studied, a publication plan must be chosen, always selecting new topics and exploiting the latest trends, choosing the type that a specific content must have, creating a recognizable graphic line, and then evaluating the best day and time to post. Lastly, there is data analysis, a very important part to understand if you are heading in the right direction.

We talked about this more specifically in the this article.

Collaborations with companies, therefore, from where the highest earnings derive, can be said to be just the tip of the iceberg.

Influence Marketing: Why Integrate an Influencer into Your Strategy and How to Choose Them

We could define this form of marketing as a sort of word-of-mouth. Obviously, influence marketing takes into account more complex studies and strategies. Indeed, it is a communication that focuses on key individuals who can influence potential buyers belonging to our target instead of directly on the market.

The advantages that a company can derive from collaborating with an influencer are certainly increased visibility and credibility, as well as more interactive and empathetic involvement with potential customers and targeted communication to a very specific target.

It is a choice based on the logic of complicity, where the person to collaborate with is chosen for their credibility and empathy with their audience, thus sharing a way of being that potential consumers can identify with, recommending the product or service as if they were a trusted friend.

Not surprisingly, one of the current trends is micro-influencers, people with a reduced number of followers, who create content that conveys authenticity, genuineness, and credibility to a very narrow niche. Often, micro-influencers know their community and the topics they deal with perfectly, which is why they know perfectly the needs of those who are part of it and therefore how to communicate best with them, creating a high level of interaction and conversion.

To enjoy all these advantages, the company that decides to entrust the advertising of its products or services to an influencer must take into account some parameters, therefore, study a real strategy like any other advertising campaign.

We specify immediately that the choice is not based on the number of followers, of course, it must be taken into consideration, but there are more important aspects to evaluate, also because these numbers do not always reflect reality.

First of all, we must establish from the outset the objectives we want to achieve, know exactly what our target audience is, and therefore look for the influencer with an audience that is as close as possible to our market segment, study competitors, and choose the social networks with which we intend to communicate.

After this initial analysis, the person we will engage must be in line with company policies, and we must evaluate their ability to influence, empathy, and communication that most closely resembles our reality. This also includes evaluating the influencer’s numbers, i.e., followers, visibility, and their real engagement.


Based on the objectives we had set for ourselves, to measure our ROI (Return on Investment), let’s see the most used methods we can adopt.

It is possible to evaluate it through direct sales, by giving the classic unique discount code of the influencer, or through impressions, distinguishable between real and potential.

Potential impressions are calculated based on the Vanity Metric of followers but can be falsifiable, so it is always better to rely more on real impressions, which indicate the actual number of users who have seen a post, thus verifying the real involvement of the single post also in terms of shares.

Did you know that Andy Warhol was also an influencer?

Amiga 1000, this is the product that Andy Warhol agreed to advertise. A personal computer with remarkable graphic capabilities for the time.

During a promotional event in 1985, Warhol “painted” Debbie Harry, lead singer of Blondie, a work that was part of the artist’s collection for many years. Having then received the computer as a gift, Andy experimented with digital, recreating some of his famous works such as the famous Campbell Soup can and the banana from the first Velvet Underground album, but he didn’t stop there, in fact, he also made a pixelated re-elaboration of Botticelli’s Venus and eight other works contained on a floppy disk.

After almost thirty years, thanks to the artist Cory Angel and a team of experts, we can appreciate these digital works at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh and see how digital art, often underestimated, was already present in the past.

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