We live in a media saturated world where consumers are constantly targeted and marketed to. As early as the 1920’s, brands have utilized public figures to promote their product through celebrity endorsements. More recently, the growth of social media has given rise to a whole new group of public figures coined “influencers.” As consumers, most of the time we are fully aware of when a brand is trying to get us to buy their product — having grown up with social media, millennials are especially conscious of the online advertising efforts employed by marketers. Not only are millennials the biggest generation in United States history, they also constitute $1.3 trillion in buying power annually, 85% of which own smartphones. However this demographic still presents marketers with challenges because they are social media savvy, use ad blockers, and value genuine content.
One advantage that influencers have over celebrities is that they are incredibly more real than celebrities. Influencers are typically more involved with their followers on social media platforms. Responding to messages, providing insight into their personal lives, giving their opinions of products that they use, and their accessibility are just some of the characteristics that set them apart from their celebrity counterparts. These actions, while small, foster influencer-follower relationships and generate trust.
Influencers have large followings because of the content they share, their distinct style, and personality. This makes it much more likely that the consumers viewing the influencer’s subject matter will actually be interested in the products they share. Influencers provide brands the unique opportunity to access specific, niche audiences that have the potential to be more receptive to products presented to them. This type of marketing allows brands a more organic means of getting in front of buyers who will be interested their products.
Celebrity endorsements are not taken as seriously as they once were because they lack the authenticity and relatability found in the accounts of social media influencers. Furthermore, influencers often have photographic backgrounds and have learned to use social media platforms as a means of promotion using visually aesthetic content. This background shines through in influencer-brand collaborations, creating collections of subtle yet compelling publicity for the brands they work with. As a result, followers are less likely to feel bombarded by advertisements and more likely to take an interest in what is being promoted.