Instagram is absolutely huge. The Facebook-owned social network, at the time of writing this, has well over 25 million business profiles registered around the world and has hundreds of millions of active users worldwide. It is, by far, one of the most powerful, most useful, and easiest to use tools for establishing a following and growing a business, whether it be eCommerce or digital services, however, not every business begins as a business.

We are willing to wager money on the assertion that you, as a user of the internet in the world today, are more than familiar with the term “social media influencer”, what it means, and who these people are, but how is this relevant to your business?

The Rise of the “Social Media Influencer”

Social media has been the natural breeding ground for these so-called influencers who leverage the power of platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to develop a following. With this following, these influencers have a great starting base from which they can develop valuable relationships with companies who want to promote their products by their unique following and even start their own business venture. Mostly founding e-commerce businesses, some of the most successful influencers have become very successful.

3 People Who Went from Influencer to Entrepreneur

There are several examples of individuals who went from social media influencer, whether finding their feet on Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube, and turned it into a profitable e-commerce business venture.

1. Neil Patel

Although not successful in eCommerce, Neil Patel is by far the most famous and best-known marketer in the U.S., if not the world. He has been recognized as one of digital marketing’s giants and is the person ranking in first, second, and sometimes third place in Google for the search term “online marketing”.

It is easy to think of Neil Patel’s success as being the result of his marketing skills, however, there are several big marketing agencies with endless budgets that don’t even come close to the success Neil Patel has had.

Why is this? Well, Neil Patel’s success has not only come from his marketing skills, but also from his influential personal brand. He as an individual is dedicated to being open, honest, transparent, and strives to provide a quality service that cannot be matched anywhere else. His marketing business is him, his own brand—he is not a faceless agency.

2. Zoe Sugg, AKA Zoella

Zoe Sugg, the sister of Joe Sugg, is an English vlogger that started her business empire on YouTube sharing fashion and beauty tips. Her videos, mostly consisting of beauty hails, fashion brand reviews, “favorites” videos and makeup products, attract millions of viewers each and her spin-off blog MoreZoella contains more personal vlogs about her day-to-day life.

As one of Britain’s most influential Tweeters of 2013, Zoella’s has over 1 billion video viewers on YouTube and over 10 million subscribers.

This online prowess has led to a particularly successful eCommerce business venture that has included book deals, her infamous Christmas calendar, and beauty products.

3. Guy Kawasaki

Former Apple employee Guy Kawasaki may not be a household name or famous amongst the younger generation like Zoella, but he is an influencer worth well over $30 million.

Although he had humble beginnings with Apple, he today manages Canva, a firm that helps promising tech start-ups get off the ground and establish themselves in a crowded and noisy marketplace. He has built up millions of followers on social media and tends to appear most prominent business and tech publications, and he has managed all this without starting up his own company or securing a book deal.

Guy found his success by being one of the earliest social media influencers who used Twitter to build up his brand and attract followers who wanted to hear what he had to say.

For Every Wannabe Influencer, only a Few Make It

Although there may be many influencers, there are many who try and fail. There is no ‘method’ to doing it and most prominent influencers have found success because of how unique they are, not because they are ‘qualified’ or have followed a strategy.

For those who make it, however, the rewards can be huge, especially those who go into eCommerce.

Javi Fondevila
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