By: Julia Hofmann @juliahofmann9
So, throughout class a buzzword that has been dropped more than a couple times is, “influencer.” Now, some of you might be wondering what’s an influencer; well an influencer is someone on social media with a large following, or simply someone on social media who has influence over their audience. Some examples would be, the Kardashians, Tyler Oakley, Zoella, DJ Khaled or any number of YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, or Twitter stars. These people have millions of subscribers or followers and when the trend of influencers began they originally created content for own audiences, however within the last couple years that has changed drastically.
Social media influencers have now been sucked into the world of marketing and advertising and whether or not it’s for better or for worse time will tell. As of right now it’s a mix of both, but regardless both sides profit.
Companies have been now been incorporating these influencers into their marketing and advertising strategies. Studies have shown that word-of-mouth from a trusted source are up there with the top marketing strategies to actually reach and sell products to consumers.
We’ve all had the talk in at least one of J-classes about who do consumers trust the most? Well, turns out 49 percent of consumers seek purchase guidance from social media influencers and 40 percent of those consumers stated that they made direct purchasing decisions because of an influencer. So, clearly there is method to that madness that is bringing on social media influencers, but this new (and successful) marketing trend has not come free of consequences.
Recently, there has been some controversy over the Internet about whether or not influencers should alert their audiences to the fact that they are being paid to promote a product. The Kardashian sisters have been slammed for this and YouTube’s stars are constantly being asked and having to state whether or not any products visible or gushed over in their videos are from a sponsor. So, the fix for it was that anytime an influencer posts about a sponsored product they either need to say it or include the hashtag “ad”.
Now, the issue with this is the minute consumers discover it’s an ad they begin to question whether or not the product is actually worth it and begin to ask if the influencer actually loves it or just loves the money. Another issues that has popped up is, that with this influencer trend on the rise, companies are having a harder time connecting with influencers because now they can be picky, influencers can choose who they want to endorse. Because of this companies will move onto people with less and less influence just to follow this trend but they find it to be a much less successful endeavour.
My question for you all is, what do you think and have you ever been influenced by a social media influencer? I know I have and Zoella has convinced me to buy more beauty products then I will ever need in my life.