If there’s a word that took the attention of the world in 2022, it is Wordle. The addictive word based game has taken the world by storm with people posting their achievements all over social media. If we talk about the word of the decade – from 2010 to 2020 – it has to be ‘Influencer’. As per Merriam-Webster, the world Influencer was first used around the 1600s, however, it wasn’t until the late 2010s it gained popularity.
Today it’s close to $16Bn industry and from India’s standpoint, we’ve seen a meteoric rise of influencers in India. So this post ‘Main Bhi Influencer’ (I’m an Influencer too in Hindi), I’ll shed some light on the rise of influencers in India, and the factors that have contributed to it.
Rise of Influencers in India
Over the last few years, there has been a massive rise of influencers in India. A decade ago, the rather unfamed term influencing was related to Bollywood and Cricket. We all thought that only a Shah Rukh Khan or Sachin Tendulkar could influence people to use a product/service. And that was majorly because of the access of brands to people like you and me and vice versa. However, today we have seen a meteoric rise in micro-influencers with a very specific niche.
I however feel at times that as the number of influencers has been increasing, the quality is going down. You don’t find a genuine & quality influencer who has mastered the art. Today, anyone and everyone with a smartphone plays the tune ‘Main bhi influencer‘ without even having any experience or authority about a particular niche.
Nonetheless, it’s good to see that brands and people understand and appreciate the power of good influencers. Influencer marketing has become an important part of the digital marketing landscape. While each of us has different opinions and views about influencer marketing, I’ll share my honest views on the rise of influencers in India and things that have contributed to it.
Main Bhi Influencer
As they say that you need two hands to clap, nothing happens on its own. The same has been the case of the rise of influencers in India, a lot of factors have contributed towards it. Below are a few of them that I feel have contributed to the rise of influencers.
Access to cheap Internet
There were days when we used to pay Rs 98 for 2 GB worth of 2G mobile data that used to last for a month. Those days, the internet was expensive and not only everyone had access to the internet. Many didn’t have a phone with internet-enabled and cyber cafes were a thriving business back in the day.
Fast forward to the last decade, India has one of the cheapest mobile internets in the world. We now get a GB of 4G for less than Rs 5! People not only in the metro cities but tier-2 and tier-3 cities have access to cheap internet. And I think that’s a major factor for the rise in influencers in India.
Variety of Influencing Mediums
A decade ago internet didn’t have a lot of options. Yahoo dominated cyberspace when I first logged on to the internet. Google came in much later but engulfed the entire web. Over the last decade, we have seen a variety of influencing mediums come up. And by mediums, I mean ‘ways to communicate‘ rather than focusing on the apps.
TV and newspaper were the only ways to talk about product and service offerings. However, today there is a variety on offer. From long format readable content on blogs, longer videos on YouTube, images on Instagram and further short-form content on Twitter. There has also been an increase in podcasting as a medium too.
So if you have experience and are an authority figure, you can choose a medium that suits you. From blogging to vlogging to Instagramming, tweeting and podcasting, there’s everything for everyone.
Reach – customized and highly specific
Due to the penetration of the internet in India, the reach that one gets today is massive. From being known only in your apartment complex to getting recognition across India, the reach has skyrocketed. Moreover, people have crafted highly specific niches which are extremely useful.
For example, you may find a tech influencer who’s based out of a remote village in West Bengal. He speaks Bengali and connects with a lot of localities. Influencers like him are a gold mine for many brands that wish to reach to very specific, regional audience in a country like India.
I strongly feel language and location are not barriers today rather they are leverage points that people can take advantage of.
Source of Income
Lastly one of the major reasons for the rise of influencers in India is that it’s a source of income. For some, it’s daily bread while for others it’s a source of passive income. While there are a lot of people who feel that quitting their jobs, picking up an iPhone, posting photos on Instagram will make them rich. Sadly that’s not how it works!
Influencing comes with authority and you cannot get that in a day, it takes time. Many influencers you see today have taken decades to reach the stay they have. Hence it should be seen as a way to make quick money.
Nonetheless, in a country like India where unemployment is a concern and not all jobs pay well, these give people an opportunity to build a steady source of income over time.
I’ve been blogging for a decade now and people close to me have seen that it hasn’t been an easy ride. I’ve been creating content when Facebook and Instagram weren’t there and the internet wasn’t as cheap as it is today. People today have access to a lot of things that make it much easier for them to join platforms that help them create their personal brand.
However, I’ll conclude by saying that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Hence don’t call yourself an influencer if you don’t have the expertise and authority in a field. What are your thoughts on the rise of influencers in India? Drop in the comments below, tweet to me at @Atulmaharaj, DM on Instagram or Get In Touch.