As the world converges online and more and more target markets unfold on Instagram and Facebook, companies and brand strategists are looking to popular social media account holders to help push their products and services to their target audiences.
From comedy skits to satiric mimicry, there is no stopping this new army of social media influencers who have huge returns-on-investments for brands at their beck and call.
Millennials have been dubbed the ‘entitled generation’ for so many reasons but to be in the process of growing into a young adult in these times is a lot more difficult than it was a few decades ago.
The distractions and pulls are in so diverse directions, it is little wonder that millennials are also a very distracted and short attention-spanned generation.
While studying an online course on celebrity culture and gender, it was interesting to note, via statistical studies, how much of western celebrity culture has shaped much of what pop culture is today and how progressive these changes are in very many areas of life, from health to fashion and even belief systems.
About five years ago or more, as the celebrity culture spread and became popular in societies outside the west, brands turned to them to help spread word about their business and services and to draw customers, usually die hard fans of these celebrities, to make purchases.
From beverage companies to travel service providers, there was a popular face standing in for them interfacing with the public and the more popular the celebrity, the more influence they had on potential customers. But companies weren’t exactly getting money back from the huge amounts spent on signing these endorsements and for very many reasons. A BusinessDay July 2017 article cites the lofty images some celebrities tend to portray as one of the hindrances that stalled the conversion of fans into loyal buyers and clients.
As the world converged online and the community of Nigerians on social media grew, companies turned to social media to look for and try to entice their growing target market – the emerging middle class and millennial markets.
Companies and brands that had previously used celebrities as their front line advertisers began to drop them and adopt advertising on social media platforms by way of banners and the likes. But display ads became an obstructive irritation for social media users so much that they were being ignored or totally disabled on people’s pages.
Individual influencers became the next gold. A huge amount of following and engagement became markers of wealth and potential wealth with millennial social media users and enthusiasts as they took the place of ad agencies.
For more context, this article, quoting data from the Financial Times, says “an influencer with 100,000 followers on Instagram can charge around £2,000 per picture (approximately $2,700), while celebrity influencers with between four million and 20 million followers can charge £5,000-£13,000 ($6,700-$17,500).”
Probably quite ridiculous a sum, the data for the Nigerian influencer marketing space isn’t so bad. Average rates for a post on an influencer’s page could be costing between N70,000 to as much as N100,000 or more. When said influencer is required to create the ad and publish it as well, the prices definitely go higher. The more native and subtle they are, the higher the prices go too. So, this is a gold mine of some sort. One that has fueled the growing desire for social media fame in the recent past.
Are fame and influence mutually exclusive? Can one exist without the other? In an ideal world, yes. Influence as an ideology is simply being able to effect a decision making process, a lifestyle, the pursuing of an ideology and so on. Brands who work with these social media influencers assume that they have the ability to control their followers’ decision making process when it comes to choosing a preferred brand of soap or milk or investment company, for instance.
Do you need to be famous to effect someone else’s decision making process? Most likely not. From little, small-circled relationships like one between a mother and a daughter or a father and a son, there’s a lot of learning and growing that comes merely from being under the authority or influence of an older, more experienced eye and hand.
However, for the average millennial, fame and influence are very much inclusive. The higher the number of followers and the more engaged they are, the higher your chances of holding sway over a group of people, something that attracts the paying brands in growing need of native, subliminal ads that do the job without being too much in-your-face – a tactic that no longer works as much these days.
But social media fame can somewhat become a Trojan Horse. On the surface, the thrills of living an aspirational, almost, type of lifestyle that your followers crave but only accept in doses that you feed them with, is heady. But on the other hand, the factors that ensure that you are building a persona that people want to interact with, like authenticity, or a lack of it even, can become a heavy burden to bear in the long run.
More importantly, how long before a bankable crowd becomes dead weight or a redundant amount of money sitting in a bank and not yielding any profits?
Not too soon, most likely. Advertising analysts believe as desire for more quality video content increases so will the need to develop and create more personal ads that are targeted at micro niches that influencers control. What this means is that there are more spaces to fill, more variants of video production to conceive and create and increasing audiences to capture in the online space as internet penetration deepens in the country.
On the downside, there are predictions that increasing technological advancements may all the more rule out human involvement in areas of advertising as will be obtainable in certain types of work forces in the recent future.
“With the rapid growth in hyper-connected consumers, VR and AI are assuming an increasingly prominent role in marketing and advertising efforts as a means to provide more authentic and personalized engagement opportunities. I only see this growing in the coming years as the technology matures and is increasingly embraced by both brands and consumers,” Jennifer Breithaupt, Global Consumer CMO, Citi tells CMO.com by Adobe.
Maybe it’s time to consider a more intentional pattern towards your social media habits and using the time spent there a little more wisely?
Image Credits: Google