A visual journey through the evolution of the influencer

Image: Sabelskaya/shutterstock

Influencer marketing has changed everything. Influencer marketing hasnt changed a thing.

Thats the tension todays social media celebrities have created. And its not just marketers, brands, and stars who feel confused. Its everyday customers as well. Especially when it comes to who to trust.

In a sense, theres nothing new about influencer marketing.

Humans have always been swayed by the endorsements of the people they look up to. Were pack animals, after all, and social proof is one of the strongest forms of persuasion. Online, 88% of consumers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations.

On the other hand, the internet has democratized what it means to be influential.

For the first time in history, anybody can command control not to mention, huge paychecks by creating content and promoting products. In fact, the business of influence is growing so rapidly, the FTC has recently begun enforcing transparency laws to clarify paid versus unpaid content.

To sort through the confusion, I dug into the data and connected with a host of behind-the-scenes voices in influencer marketing like Connor Blakley, Joel Contartese, Travis Hawley, Troy Osinoff, and Mari Smith.

Heres a detailed look courtesy of help from NoGRE and Nowsourcing at the past, present, and future of what it means to be an influencer.

Image: Nowsourcing

Aaron Orendorff is the founder of iconiContent and a regular contributor at Entrepreneur, Lifehacker, Fast Company, Business Insider and more. Connect with him about content marketing (and bunnies) on Facebook or Twitter.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/07/21/evolution-of-the-influencer/