“If we're going on numbers...then I'm already a Nanoinfluencer,” that’s what a colleague said after the New York Times published their recent story Are You Ready for the Nanoinfluencers?  While he said it as a joke, thousands of people make this claim – loudly – on social media every day. But here’s the bad news for all those people: if you have to say you’re an influencer, you probably aren’t.

Seeing someone write that they’re an #Influencer on [insert industry here] has gotten more and more common over the last two years. This isn’t surprising given how much some influencers can make ($500,000 per post) and that brands keep falling for this strategy. However just because you say you’re an influencer doesn’t actually mean you have any influence. Influence on social doesn’t mean that you’ve bought huge numbers of followers, but rather that you can actually change someone’s perception of a product and that your audience will take your recommendations.

When trying to determine if someone is actually an influencer - in other words if you should actually put stock in what they say - look at these key indicators:

  • Do they have an advanced degree in the topic they’re discussing?
  • Have they worked for leaders in the field (In-House or as a consultant)?
  • Have they written extensively on the topic?
  • Are they a practitioner of the industry, or is their profession being an influencer?
  • Do they engage with their community?
  • Does their community actually take their recommendations?

If you start asking these questions you’ll find that 90% of individuals claiming to be influencers won’t pass this quick gut check. Once you know that you can move on to engaging with induvial who will actually help you achieve your goals.