Influence: How Social Media Influencers Are Shaping Our Digital Future

The must-read analysis explaining the influencer industry

If you’re new to influencer marketing and the creator economy, this is the most sensible place to start. Influence: How Social Media Influencers Are Shaping Our Digital Future is the award-winning business book by CORQ CEO and founder Sara McCorquodale. It breaks down the industry’s origins, explains how it was monetised and explores how creators and social media became so central to brands’ success. Published globally by Bloomsbury and translated into ten languages, this fascinating read – available in two editions – is a fast-track to understanding the influencer phenomenon.

Based on interviews with over 100 influencers and packed with original bitesize case studies, McCorquodale tells the story of influencers in our culture and economy from blogging, to MySpace, to Instagram. She provides expert actionable insights on how to utilise influencer marketing to grow your business and advises on how to mitigate the associated risks. To quote the Sunday Times, “It’s the wild west out there. This book is your sheriff.”

Keep scrolling to learn more or click here to get your copy.

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Inside Influence

influence by sara mccorquodale

Independent content producers go by many titles – influencer, blogger, YouTuber and creator to name a few. In truth, they are entrepreneurs who have built thriving publishing businesses. The only difference between them and their more traditional counterparts is everything they publish revolves around them as individuals.

McCorquodale defines the role of the influencer in business and contemporary culture, offering a clear perspective which allows brands to understand where fit into their marketing and communications strategies.

Influencers are the true masters of audience development. Not only do they understand how to continually grow their followings, but they are experts in keeping these consumers engaged.

McCorquodale outlines six guiding principles every successful influencer has followed to ensure their profile has a strong trajectory and their audiences remain continually invested in their content and story.

Mass monetisation of influencer content is an area of endless fascination. McCorquodale breaks down what turned a relatively small group of people creating digital content into an industry, tracking the initial business deals between brands and influencers.

She also outlines the various ways they drive revenue through their social platforms and analyses why the initial monetisation of their content has created a problematic dynamic between creators and brands.

Arguably no industry has been disrupted by influencers quite as much as the media, and it started with Twitter where journalists, broadcasters and celebrities realised they could build audiences and speak to people directly. They also realised that perhaps they didn’t need the traditional media quite so much.

McCorquodale analyses how Twitter fragmented the media, creating millions of influencers sharing their version of the news and presenting it as the definitive truth.

The rise of Instagram and later, TikTok, are directly linked to a rejection of corporate culture by millennials and Generation Z. This, in turn, created two generations of influencers who grew audiences and businesses through documenting their lives and lifestyles in more granular detail than their blogger and YouTuber predecessors.

Instagram made everyone feel like they could be a creator and the industry boomed, forging new paths for brands to connect with consumers and revealing fresh approaches to digital media.

Influencer promotion can transform businesses but the complex dynamic between them and their followers means marketing through their channels is not without risk. Common problems include the emergence of influencer controversies and severe trolling resulting in audiences turning against creators.

Mitigating these risks is a difficult task – McCorquodale give clear direction on how to utilise influencer marketing while protecting your brand.

All evidence suggests influencers are a permanent part of marketing and communications, not to mention the wider media landscape. The big shift in the future will be how the influencer model is adopted by people across every vertical, having understood that social media is without limits and this form of entrepreneurialism can be applied to every industry.

McCorquodale argues what she believes to be the industry’s inevitable future and how businesses should react.

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