Have Influencers Run Their Course?
With many influencers on social media displaying the same content as one another and having the same look and feel, I was wondering if influencers were still relevant in social media marketing. There doesn’t seem to be much of a risk or expense for a business to engage an influencer; they are providing them with their product or service (and sometimes paying them) and in return, an influencer helps create brand awareness with their audience.
Photo Source: Pexels.
What is an Influencer and Who Are They?
Basically an influencer is an individual that has the power to persuade and ultimately affect purchasing decisions because of their authority, knowledge, and relationship with their audience. They are actively engaged with their following and usually specialize in a particular niche, for example lifestyle, fashion, or food.
Photo Source: Pexels.
Types of Influencers
The majority of influencers fit into four categories:
- Bloggers/content creators—have a large reach in niche areas.
- Micro influencers—everyday users and regular posters that have a moderate following. They find a niche market and become an expert.
- Industry experts/thought leaders—gain respect and followers because of their qualifications.
- Celebrities—the birth of the celebrity influencer was a result of paid endorsements/product placements. The cost for a company is astronomical and would not feasible or attainable for smaller brands/companies.
Of the above mentioned categories, the focus has shifted from celebrities, to the bloggers and micro influencers. Audiences can relate more to these groups and feel that their connection is more authentic as is their relatability.
Google searches for 2017, saw the term “influencer marketing” increase by 325%. I’ve noticed in my own job hunting an influx of social media marketing and social media & communications type positions as departments are increasing their budgets in this area. Generally speaking, this is money is well spent. For each dollar spent on influencer marketing, marketers see an average of $7.65 in earned media value returned.
The biggest platform for influencer marketing is Instagram. Last year there was over 12 million brand sponsored influencer posts and experts estimate that number to double in 2018. Those are some crazy numbers!
Photo Source: Pexels
Why Are They So Popular?
Everyone has their passions and influencers share theirs—they’re people who aren’t afraid to share their enthusiasm which enables them to influence audiences through the power of social media. They are also authentic and this is probably one of the most important attributes to their success.
What also makes influencers so effective is that people can relate to them on a social level—they are every day people, just like you and me. They use their personalities and shared interests with their audience, and because of this, people buy in through purchasing or sharing of their content.
Bursting the Bubble
There’s been a boom of influencers, and now the bust. The technological landscape is changing and many influencers are feeling that their content is getting lost because of new algorithms. Take Instagram for example, it now shows you what it thinks you will want to see based on past likes as well as images that have received a lot of likes instead of being sequential. Not very “insta”, is it? But these likes may or may not be authentic, they could be purchased or from fake accounts.
One of my favourite influencers, Erin Sousa (Sparkle Media), wrote a fantastic blog post all about Instagram and how it has been affected by the new algorithms. Aside from being super creative, Erin is incredibly knowledgable and real, and believes in the power of community and brand. She has always remained true to herself and is a fantastic example of authenticity. (I messaged her for permission to mention and link her blog—she is delightful!)
Others are finding it hard to stand out in a sea of blogs that all look the same and are promoting the same things. So when they try to change it up, and get sponsored by a new product or service, oftentimes their followers call them out on it because they are no longer being authentic. Is the payoff worth losing followers over?
Who are some of your favourite influencers? Comment below.
Facebook: Are You Under the Influence? A look a social media marketing.
Twitter: Under the influence of influencers? https://tinyurl.com/y8d48ma2