How many “influencers do you follow collectively on all platforms? Most of you probably follow people who you do not really know on Instagram (celebrities, sports person, or other personalities that align with your interests). Other ways you may be getting your daily dose of influencers in Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, and Tik Tok. In this Blog I want to explore the topic of influencer marketing which has boomed with the growth of digital platforms. 93% of marketers practice influencer Marketing and ~67% plan to increase their influencer marketing budget in 2021. Nowadays we have ad blockers installed in our computers, so Influencers is a great way for companies to reach target markets. Digital influencers are mor powerful in their niche communities than traditional celebrities even.
A little History
Influencer marketing has evolved through the decades; before there were digital platforms there were print ads, radios and tv ads. Do you remember those channels that would go on and on demonstrating a certain product with a well-known person?
Phase 1: A British Potter who got the approval of the Queen in 1765, named his pottery after the influential Queen – “Queensware”
Phase 2: Fictional characters were used as influencers. Coca Cola used Santa Clause and his jolly persona during the height of the Great depression to drive sales.
Phase 3: Celebrity Endorsements were a way to show real people with preferences. Nike and Pepsi formed contracts with celebrities to promote their products.
Phase 4: Reality TV like the Bachelor and Keeping up with the Kardashians had a broad reach and were great for companies to pair up with.
Phase 5: Digital Influencer Marketing came into play with Facebook, twitter, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. Existing celebrities gained followings instantly but now even “regular” people could have large followings with engaging content. These regular people are now known as “influencers.” There can be Mega-influencers with 1M+ followers like Savannah LaBrant on Tik Tok or nano-influencers (less than 10k followers) like mom blogger Lindsay Gallimore (8.3K followers).
What do the stats say about influencer marketing?
- 92% trust the recommendations
- 70% of teens trust influencers more than celebrities
- It earns 11x the ROI of standard campaigns
- 74% of people use social media to explore products
You can see here that Tik Tok saw a boot from 2019 to 2021 (not surprising).
Let’s talk Pricing
The Global influencer market is roughly $13.8 billion – but how does one determine their cut?
“Allegedly, a post from model Emily Ratajkowski would cost $80,700. Rumours are that Demi Lovato charges at least $668,000, while Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson takes home a cool $1.5 million for crafting a post for his 187 million followers.”
The most common pricing formula is:
$100 per 10,000 followers + extras for type of post (x # of posts) + additional factors(cost of shoot/setup) = total rate.
So what about ethics?
Influencers have the moral and ethical obligation to do right by the followers who they influence. However, there is much room for interpretation here. There are a lot of reputational issues when it comes to influencer marketing:
- Influencer behaving inappropriately
- Influencer manipulating an image
- Influencer failing to disclose this is an Ad
- Influence taking advantage of young people
- Influencer promoting tobacco firm to young
- Inequity in how teenagers are paid for being influencers vs. adults
A lot of you may have seen the FYRE festival documentary on Netflix. This showed the liability of something influencers promoted is limited. Influencers may not have the full picture od a product quality and yet convince the general population otherwise.
Another example is Dior. Models around the world simultaneously posted Dior products without disclosing that it was a paid sponsorship. This is deceptive marketing. Instagram has a “paid sponsorship” button for public figures but many fail to use it.
There are no set guideline and rules set for influencers and this leads to no consequences to their actions. Their influence can change society for the worse – especially with the trust that people put into these digital influencers. There are agreements that take place between the influencer such as non-disclosure agreements, brand services agreement, data protection agreements etc. However, there is not a official legal accountability to the users/followers of the digital platforms Users need to think more critically about what is being posted and the authenticity of it.
In conclusion, I want to leave you with the top 3 influencers (non-celebrity) in the world:
- Lele Pons – singer, model, and actress
- Jay Alvarrez – travels and adventures
- Alex Chung – professional and beauty and fashion photography