Instagram, Influencers And Brands: Inside The Booming Influencer Economy Social media influencers have changed the marketing industry. Brands now pour billions of dollars into partnering with people who can reach audiences on platforms like Instagram and YouTube — whether they're advertising a handbag, a video game or a meal at a local restaurant. But what does it take to become an influencer, and what happens when your livelihood is tied to a platform that's not your own? Sam talks with an influencer, a reporter who covers the industry and an executive who helps influencers achieve stardom.
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'The New Celebrity': The Rise Of Influencers — And How They Changed Advertising

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'The New Celebrity': The Rise Of Influencers — And How They Changed Advertising

'The New Celebrity': The Rise Of Influencers — And How They Changed Advertising

'The New Celebrity': The Rise Of Influencers — And How They Changed Advertising

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/759127302/759198711" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

By most estimates, the influencer marketing industry is worth billions. But what does it take to be an influencer, and what happens when a person's livelihood is tied to a social media platform? Carl Court/Getty Images hide caption

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Carl Court/Getty Images

By most estimates, the influencer marketing industry is worth billions. But what does it take to be an influencer, and what happens when a person's livelihood is tied to a social media platform?

Carl Court/Getty Images

Open Instagram, scroll through your feed and it likely won't take you long to find an influencer posting about anything — a handbag, a pair of shoes, a new moisturizer or a nice meal at that restaurant down the block. Influencers and sponsored posts are everywhere you look on social media, and most reports estimate brands are pouring billions of their marketing dollars into partnering with these users who can reach consumers on social media.

But as the lines between what's an ad and what isn't seem to blur, is a marketing strategy based on the algorithm and reach of social media platforms creating a bubble?

For a glance at what it takes to make it as an influencer and what this style of marketing means for consumers, Sam talks with Instagram influencer Janea Brown, who creates content and partners with brands for a living, Business of Fashion reporter Chavie Lieber, who covers influencers and technology, and Joe Gagliese, an industry executive whose agency, Viral Nation, helps influencers achieve star status.

This episode was produced by Anjuli Sastry and edited by Jordana Hochman and Alexander McCall.