The Rise of the Micro-Influencer as a new Form of Marketing in Neoliberal Times
In late modern times, a social media ‘influencer’ is considered an individual who has a large follower count with the ability to convince their followers that they should purchase the products that they received for free. Marketers state, according to Dean Hund (2019: 80), that ‘the minimum number of followers across their combined social networks is 50,000 before we consider them’. This implies that social media profiles are only of any value to brands when they have a large follower count. But what if this is no longer the case? Brands have now evolved so that even online presences with small followings, or nano-influencers, are being utilised with the purpose of influencing others to buy into their personal and cultural interests. Berne-Manero and Marzo-Navarro (2020: 14) found that nano-influencers ‘tend to have between 1,000 and 10,000 followers on each platform’ and ‘often have a small audience but high engagement in relativity’. This essay will explore the rise of the nano-influencer using both sociological theories and concepts to explain how the commodification of relationships is being utilised by brands to maximise profits.