Businesses are enlisting the help of online celebrities to expand their audience and attract prospective customers. They play a major part in influencing skeptic Millennials, the biggest spenders in the coming years, with an annual purchasing power of $200 billion.
Young, Suspicious Minds
According to a joint survey by Forbes and Elite Daily, only 1% of Millennial respondents saw advertisements as an effective influencer in their buying decisions.
Millennials have more profound skepticism compared to any of the previous generations, according to the survey. This skepticism, which is not exclusive to advertising, also expands to politics and finance.
Millennials came of age during the Great Recession, a phenomenon that shaped a cultural trend in post-Recession generations. They have learned their lessons by staying away from mistakes done by their Boomer and Gen X parents, trusting their own gut to pay their student debt.
Moreover, Millennials and Gen Z are both digitally native. Everything is transparent and social, hence these generations’ high regard for human interaction and authenticity.
Social Media Influencers: Personable Authorities
Before purchasing products, Millennials turn to reviews in the form of blogs or YouTube videos. It happens more often when trending products are released into the market like wildfire.
Millennials are less likely to buy into the hype without consulting their trusted authorities online, and these bloggers are dedicated to reviewing the latest products as soon as they come out (sometimes even ahead of everyone else).
The personalities behind these kinds of content built themselves to become authorities in the long run, gaining the trust of their Millennial viewers. These online celebrities, who have managed to build an empire out of their infectious personalities and fan base, created a business out of their influence – thus, the term “social media influencers.”
Most social media influencers either started out as regular people behind computers and cameras entertaining their audiences the way they know how or sharing a piece of their daily lives through photos, blogs, or vlogs (video blogs).
Social media influencers rely on their authenticity and accessibility. These qualities have made them authorities in their respective expertise, ranging from fashion and video games to food or gadgets.
Influencers endorse or post about things they like, so it is possible that they build an audience who share their preferences. People are said to follow them because they want to, not because they have to.
Today’s most popular social media influencers have upgraded from reviewing products to making their own. Others have even collaborated with established brands to sponsor them or create their own line of products.
The Business of Influence
More businesses today are seeing the powerful influence of social media darlings. However, only big household names have managed to enlist the help of online superstars who solely make a living out of being a social media personality.
The cost of working with social media influencers did not entice companies with the idea of influencer marketing. Moreover, audiences feel that the more popular an online personality is, the less reliable and authentic they become.
Enter micro-influencers – people who do not fully depend on social media presence but have a decent number of followers ranging from a thousand to a million at most.
Apart from catering to millennials who patronize accessibility and transparency, micro-influencers also charge less. According to Influence.co, micro-influencers with 2,000 to 100,000 followers can work with an average of $137 to $258 per Instagram post.
Social media influencers make it possible to speak for other brands and connect to an audience a business might not even know they can attract. Their credibility is something businesses can learn from by engaging prospective customers, not begging for them.