Are influencers the new celebrities?

The power of a celebrity is a well-known marketing tactic which has been utilised for decades. From athletes endorsing cigarettes in the 1930s to Hollywood names promoting shampoo in the 1970s, famous faces seem to have always been connected to brands. However, there is a new breed of influencers who are causing a power shift in the realm of consumer marketing.
Bloggers, vloggers and social media stars. Rewind 10 years and these phrases didn’t even exist. But today they’ve become a staple in marketing strategies for a vast range of brands.
Take big hitter in the beauty industry, L’Oreal. Rather than relying on famous celebrities in one of their latest campaigns, the brand has teamed up with eight of the UK’s most influential and inspiring beauty YouTubers. The result? A campaign which is fun and engaging, reaches new audiences whilst allowing the brand “to engage with consumers easily and timely in today’s lightning-paced digital environment”.
In fact, as a result of its first influencer campaign, L’Oréal Paris had actually seen one of its products (True Match) becoming the best-setting foundation in the UK. Consequently, the brand’s UK General Manager revealed that it would be shifting more of its budget away from traditional media to social influencers after seeing an uplift in sales.
So, what is a digital influencer?
Rather than growing their following based on specific talents (such as music or TV presenting), these influencers build their popularity based of a specific content niches (such as cooking, beauty or parenting). This popularity is usually built via social media, vlogging or blogs.
They share content about their specific niches which creates engagement with a core audience across multiple online channels.  Whether they’re uploading beautiful images of their interior style on Instagram, or sharing a review about the latest book release, audiences with an interest in these particular niches are naturally going to gravitate towards influencers who share their passion or interests. As a result, they have a captive audience which is always tuned in to what they say and share.
Often these digital influencers have thousands of followers (if not millions). Followers who trust every word they write. Followers who wouldn’t think twice about buying the latest product they’ve raved about.
From beauty to parenting and gardening to vegan living, there is a digital influencer who covers just about anything. It’s no surprise that brands are falling over themselves to work with some of these individuals.
They’ve ticked the box when it comes to a captive audience. So what does this mean for your marketing?
Within the virtual world of social media and online blogs, influencers tend to attract more engagement than celebrities. They provide instant content, rather than carefully managed status updates. They are perceived as more real and approachable.
This combination of specific niches, captive audiences and approachability is a winning formula in the world of marketing. So much so, digital influencers are actually changing and enhancing the way that people shop. Research suggests[1] that “31 percent of consumers across the U.S. and Europe said they have purchased a product or service based on a social influencer post.”
No longer do consumers just invest in an expensive handbag because their favourite celebrity owns own, or buy a kitchen gadget because a famous face supposedly uses it. In 2018, digital influencers play a huge role in their purchasing decision – consumers know that celebrities are brought for their brand endorsement, whilst digital influencers’ appear to be more transparent… even if they have been paid. People look for as many credible opinions from trustworthy sources before they buy… digital influencers hold the power.
So, when you’re pulling together your next strategy, think about how influencers could play a role in your marketing…