Being Influential vs Being an Influencer

social media social media for creatives social media for entrepreneurs social media marketing Sep 07, 2021

What's Happening

The chasm is wide between those who strive to be an influencer on social media and the business owner who aims to have influence.

I was so glad to see MeetEdgar (my favorite social media scheduler) tackle this topic recently. Based on my own community’s reaction when I shared this post of an Influencer sharing how much she charges for sponsored posts, there is a TON of confusion over what an influencer does on social media and the goal of a business: having influence.


Let me clear up this misconception:


The Influencer

An influencer’s goal is to build as large a social media following as possible to then obtain large advertisers and sponsors. Influencers can make seven-figure incomes with a mix of revenue streams including sponsored posts, payouts from platforms like YouTube and TikTok, sales of their own merch, etc.

Content generated by influencers typically is for the purpose of entertainment. Similar to movie stars or professional athletes, they get paid on a scale based upon the size of their popularity, which on social media is measured in the number of followers.


The Influential Business

A business owner’s goal on social media is to influence their followers to take action. They aren’t spending their time, energy and effort to create content for entertainment only, for the sake of the content itself. They need some ROI! The content needs to influence you to act by interacting, clicking on a link, visiting the website, and eventually hitting the “buy” button.

Perhaps where some people get confused is when a business owner or personal brand builds their influential business to amass a huge social media following. Then they could be classified as both an influencer and an influential business.

Regardless, you’ll save yourself tremendous effort if you’re clear on your goal at the onset of your social media efforts. 

Use it for Your Business

Having influence over someone is difficult if you don’t have their trust. Earning their trust is difficult if they don’t like you, and they can’t like you if they don’t know you.

The basis of all sales and marketing comes down to know, like and trust.



Social media is about posting but it’s also about knowing the strategies that introduce your business to potential followers. My favorite growth strategies include collaborating with similar businesses, being active in hashtag feeds and forums such as Facebook Groups, and guesting on blogs or podcasts.



Now that you’ve been introduced, you have an opportunity to help inform a positive opinion of your business. Social media is, well, social. So, similar to being introduced to someone at a party, first impressions are crucial. Each post is an opportunity to make a good first impression. Your business isn’t going to be for everyone but by ensuring that each post is representative of your business's values, tone and style helps make a good first impression each time.



Trust is built and tested over time. I trust you if you do what you say you’re going to do not just once but over and over again. On social media trust in build with consistency. If you post and ghost for weeks on end, I’m not going to trust that someone will be there to help if I have a question. If I test my theory, ask a question on one of your posts, and it goes unanswered, I won’t bother to engage again.

Trust can also come in the form of content that helps me solve my real-life problems. If I can trust you with your free content I’m more willing to pay you for your services. Think of social media content as the ultimate free sample. Judging by the length of my receipts at Costco, it’s an effective strategy!

Relevancy Rating

Just because it's new doesn't mean it's worth your time: Is focusing on being an influential business worth your time?

YES!: I give it 5 out of 5 thumbs up.

Understanding your goal for your content is a foundational element of social media strategy and will save you so much time and, frankly, heartache.


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