From number of followers to sense of community, the key factors that make a social media influencer

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Amid the government planning to issue guidelines requiring influencers to post information while endorsing brands and products, CNBC-TV18.com spoke with a few content creators to understand who exactly a media influencer is. social media and how many followers/followers do they have. need to have to call themselves as one.

There is no written rule so far that describes exactly who qualifies to be called an influencer, how many followers/subscribers they must have to call themselves as such.

As the government plans to issue guidelines requiring influencers to disclose while endorsing brands and products, CNBC-TV18.com spoke to a few content creators to figure out who exactly is a social media influencer and how many followers/subscribers they need to have to call themselves one.

Nidhi Khare, the chairman of the Central Consumer Protection Authority, had recently told CNBC-TV18 that when the new guidelines are released, influencers would have to provide information and would be treated as endorsers. Any violation would result in penalties starting from Rs 10 lakh and could go up to Rs 50 lakh.

Content creators who CNBC-TV18.com spoke said that there are various factors that contribute to being an influencer, other than just how many followers and/or followers they have.

“I think the term social media influencer is very strong and comes with a lot of responsibility. If you have real influence in your community, that’s when you qualify as a social media influencer,” said content creator and model Sakshi Sindwani (Instagram username: @stylemeupwithsakshi ).

Sindwani said that it doesn’t matter if one has 5,000 followers or 50,000, 1 lakh or a million followers, unless one does not have a positive influence on his community, one cannot call a social media influencer.

Reiterating the same, fashion, beauty and lifestyle content creator Ishita Mangal (Instagram ID: @ishitamangal) said that being an influencer is not correlated to the number of followers one has. has. “Influencers are creators with a sense of community and impact. You can have 1 million followers and not feel connected to the person or have 10,000 followers with a deep impact on your audience. It’s important to express opinions, interact with your audience, help your audience and give a personal touch to be able to ‘influence’,” she said.

Praachi Kapse, the founder of talent management company Peoplekind, said it doesn’t matter if one has 40,000 followers or one million, but their work should be such that people are actually pushed to buy the products. “If you post something on social media, people should want to go buy it, whether it’s lipstick, appliances, fashion brands, people should want to go consume that content, buy that product, follow this brand because you said so,” she said.

Travel content creator Aakanksha Monga (Instagram ID: aakanksha.monga) gave a rough breakdown of the type of influencers based on their number of followers/subscribers.

She said brands look at influencers in three categories – micro-influencers, mid-level influencers and macro-influencers. “Someone who is a micro-influencer is someone who has followers ranging from 5,000 to 25,000. So those who have 5,000 followers are also considered influencers because at the end of the day, 5,000 people, that’s a big number,” she said.

Meanwhile, Aanam Chashmawala (Instagram username: @aanamc), creator and founder of beauty cosmetics brand Wearified, said she believes that when content creation becomes a full-time job, it’s is when it comes to thinking of themselves as content creators, adding that the use of the term ‘influencer’ is debated according to her.

On the other hand, creator Prableen Kaur Bhomrah (Instagram username: @prableenkaurbhomrah) gave a ballpark figure of when a person reaches the level where they can influence their audience. “One can call himself a content creator after amassing a massive number of subscribers and a good following. To give a ballpark figure, it would be around 50,000 subscribers,” she said.

“It is very important to establish these guidelines”

Content creators have welcomed the government’s plan to issue new guidelines.

They believe the industry is growing at a rapid pace and it is important to have some form of regulation in place to build transparency and trust with their audience.

“I think it’s a step in the right direction. We definitely need some sort of organized way to sort of control this very fast growing industry,” Sindwani said, adding that once the guidelines of published ASCI, she and many other creators have been very proactive in disclosing every advertising partnership that has come their way so that the public can make informed decisions.

The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) launched guidelines on influencer marketing last year.

Kapse said the disclosures are important because consumers somehow look to influencers for authenticity. “This authenticity cannot be built without trust, advocacy and authority,” she said.

Bhomrah said creators who might be starting their journey might find the guidelines a little scary, but it would only make them more cautious down the line.

Meanwhile, Chashmawala said the penalty, which she says should exist for sure, definitely seemed steep and would make more sense if it was in a ratio/percentage of the deal value instead of a number. overall.

“The penalties the government is considering imposing might be too heavy for some, or too tiny for mega-creators,” she said.

Monga also said the publication of the guidelines is very important. She thinks that ultimately it would make a difference for brands.

“I think brands also need to come up with very clear and distinct guidelines on how their product is marketed. So often they try to blur the lines by telling influencers that their products can be promoted more organically (by telling them not to mention it’s a sponsored post), if the new guidelines come out, that kind of request is out of the picture because the creators also know they can say no because they don’t don’t want to be fined,” she said.

However, she said it shouldn’t just be up to influencers to be fined, but also brands. “I think the responsibility also lies with the brand. It should be a two-way street, because the brief comes from the brand, not the influencers,” she said.

Mangal also said the penalty was much needed. “Influencers build a loyal following based on their honest recommendations and advice. When paid, they must post information so that the consumer can make an informed decision about their purchase,” she said.

She added that there must also be a mechanism in place to determine who can post recommendations, as it can be difficult for consumers to distinguish between genuine influencers and those who buy engagements such as followers, tastes and views. “Purchasing engagement should also lead to penalties, for the greater good of brands and consumers,” she said.

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