Much of today’s youth’s idols aren’t actors or artists, they’re social media stars. Whether it’s YouTube sensations or Instagram celebs, the trend is moving away from TV and movies and towards social media. While it’s clear that this is happening, many don’t fully understand the driving forces behind the shift. The following are 5 reasons why social media influencers are replacing traditional celebrities.
Influencers have full control over their channels
It’s common knowledge that most celebs are highly regulated by their agents when it comes to their social media accounts. This excludes Trump of course. He does whatever the eff he wants. Because authenticity goes hand in hand with trust, consumers often find it difficult to believe what a celebrity is selling knowing how calculated and contrived their posts are. Traditional celebs are at the mercy of those who employ them. Whether it’s their producer, network, agent, or sponsors, celebrities don’t have the freedom to say whatever they want when they want.
Influencers are a different story. They don’t have the self-benefiting gatekeepers telling them what they can and cannot post. Because they fully own their channels, they don’t need anyone’s green light before voicing their thoughts on something. Their opinions are going directly from their mouths to their audiences without the layers of bureaucracy editing and filtering it. This alone makes them a ton more trustworthy than celebs.
Influencers are relatable
If the explosion of influencer marketing had to be narrowed down to one thing it would be this: people trust people. They may not trust a faceless brand or a flashy advertisement but they do trust the opinion of someone they can relate to.
Celebrities are galaxies away from their audiences. They’re above you on a stage or in 2D on your screen. Because of this, while many people admire or idolize them, no one can actually relate to them.
Alternatively, social media influencers couldn’t be closer to their audiences without showing up at their front door. Influencers are much more raw and uncensored. Whether they’re traveling the world, at a family BBQ, or waking up sans-makeup, they’re sharing their lives with you in a very real way. They also have a much more engaged and open relationship with their followers. People who ask influencers questions can typically expect a direct and personal response. This just doesn’t happen with celebrities.
Social media is cannibalizing TV
People are spending more time on social media and less time watching TV. This shift away from television’s one-way channel to social media’s two-way, interactive connection is a big reason why influencer marketing is taking off. It’s no wonder then that influencers are steadily taking the spotlight away from traditional TV and movies stars.
There are low barriers to enter the social media market
Unless you’re that “Cash me ousside” girl from Dr. Phil (what’s her name, again?), most people don’t make it big overnight. Creating people with influence typically took a lot of time, money, and effort. With today’s social media environment, though, reaching large amounts people isn’t reserved for traditional celebrities. All you need is a camera, an internet connection, and something interesting to share.
Because the barriers to enter the social media market are so low, everyone’s doing it. With the competition being so fierce, the most relatable and unique users are rising to the top and becoming influencers. These influencers are winning in the race against stale celebrities that have no place pretending to know what us commoners need or want.
Influencers have more easily-targeted, niche audiences
Regular celebs post content that is distributed to the masses. While there is certainly strength in numbers, a bigger following doesn’t necessarily mean a higher engagement. For example, while Kylie Jenner may have about a zillion followers, only a small percentage of them may be the right audience for your product. If you’re a women’s fashion brand, sure- there are the girls that love her clothing and want to buy what she’s wearing. But you also have the teenage boys who just want her babies and the old men who are thrilled she’s now legal. There’s a lot of fluff in those zillion followers that you just don’t want.
In the case of influencers, however, they target their content to a specific niche. By doing this, they’re maximizing their engagement and getting a higher ratio of followers who love that subject.
For businesses, this is a goldmine. Instead of paying a Kardashian 100k for a post about the slimming FitTea, they can now spend less by paying influencers whose followings are largely passionate about fitness and/or tea. Jackpot.