On this first topic, I will share my thoughts with you about how ideas can be spread by using influencers.
Are you currently following someone who occasionally gives out a discount code to purchase a product? Have you been recommended by them to try out a new service or experience? Have you ever said to yourself “This is actually great, I want to do the same thing!”, just by looking at their posts of many of the activities that they are a part of?
If so, that person that you follow is doing pretty well with their role as an influencer..
To begin with: Who actually are these influencers, and why are they so popular? Easy. They are just ordinary people (like us!) who are passionate about something, and do not hesitate to share it with the world. They build up their profiles and gain a large number of followers by showing what they love to do in their daily life (singing, cooking, traveling, fashion, filming, gaming, (yes, even STUDYING, literally anything). We all are following at least one or two people, who we either are interested in their posts/blogs/videos, or find relatable. And as these people have their own audience, they actually are able to influence and shape their audience’s opinions and behaviour.
So..the BIG question: What is their role in spreading the ideas? How do they help in promoting brands and companies’ products?
- First of all, they can share information and stories of their own experience with a brand/a product, together with their thoughts of the brand and the company; their personal reviews or recommendations. Using influencers is a great way to create a sense of conformity and witnessing: we sometimes check out what products our influencers use, what places they go to. Have you ever been to any cafes/restaurants in town that were recommended by your influencers? Or do you continue to use the hair shampoo that happens to be the same one that your influencer is using, and even buy more hair products from the same brand? If you follow someone popular for a certain amount of time, you somehow feel like you actually “know” them in some way, and their personal stories and experiences seem to be more authentic and trustworthy to you. Think about it this way, if you are into fitness, you are more likely to trust the products recommended by a person you follow on Instagram – someone who actually was unhappy with their body and how they look at first, and then becomes a positive and active person. Another additional point is when an influencer is actually using a product, their audience is very likely to be interested in the information they share about that product: how it works, how useful it is and the pros and cons of using it.
- Secondly, it is related to the social identity theory – some influencers are now actually giving their audience group a “team name” and promote or encourage the “spirit” and the culture of the group. This actually creates a social currency and bragging rights. Admit it, we all love that sense of belonging, of being an “insider”. And while everyone in the group is currently trying this specific product (recommended by the influencer) and loving it, why wouldn’t you?
The power of word of mouth is strong, isn’t it? Especially when it is reviewed and recommended by someone ordinary, who shares the same thoughts and interests, and belongs to the same age group as you.
However, there are some things that companies should keep in mind when using influencers:
- Be authentic. The influencer that a brand uses should match with the values that they create. They should actually believe in your product and feel genuine about it.
- Be transparent. When it is an ad, do not hide it. Use hashtags or note that it is a sponsorship between the company and the influencer.
- Come up with a proper and useful plan. If many likes and followers do not help you to sell your product, then you might reconsider it.
This is such an interesting topic that I feel like I could talk about it forever (: But I guess we will discuss more later in class, OR you can just comment on here!! (Sounds better for me :P) WHAT DO YOU THINK??
Instagram accounts @kristinjohns @jess @gabrielconte @camperandhoney @krissycela
Social Identity Theory https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_identity_theory
Campo et al., (2003). Are Social Norms Campaigns Really Magic Bullets? Assessing the Effects of Students’ Misperceptions on Drinking Behavior. Health Communication, Volume 15, Issue 4, pages 481-497
Social Currency https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_currency