There is a not-so sneaky marketing tactic on the rise in Social Media Land; something I like to refer to as the ‘Age of the Influencer’. Companies have figured out how to expand their online reach, and it is cleverly disguised as other people’s social media accounts.
For those of you not familiar, the general idea is that companies will give away product to people (influencers) who have a huge following, in exchange for a post(s) featuring that product.
Now, celebrity endorsement is not a new thing, social media has just given companies a channel to connect with their audiences through relationship marketing. The bonus is, that because platforms such as Instagram give users a more ‘intimate’ connection with their favourite celebs, it makes endorsement posts feel a lot less like a sales pitch (even if you know it’s a sponsored post).
This handy little graphic from the Economist, shows where celebrities can capitalize on this trend, based on their followers:
Here’s a hint: stay away from Vine (R.I.P)
While I have been referring to celebrities in the traditional sense (actors/athletes/musicians etc.), there is something even more clever happening:
the birth of social media celebrities.
These are regular people who have reached their celebrity status simply by being good at social media; individuals,who range from personal trainers to stay-at-home moms.
In some cases, this is almost better than traditional celebrity endorsements. Would you rather hear that those cloth baby diapers are the real deal from a celebrity you admire, or another new mom? In our minds, the latter will likely seem more reliable. We may love that celebrity, but we relate to that other new mom, and thus her endorsement becomes much more relatable – genius!
Who are your favourite influencers? Let us know in the comments below!