Digital influencers are basically the celebrities of the Internet. While some may consider this title to be quite grand and lofty for people who share their work space with memes of cats and dogs, the phenomenon that is the sweeping might of the Internet shouldn’t be underestimated, and respectively, neither should those famous Internet personalities’ influence.
This is why brands are increasingly looking away from traditional advertising mediums and tactics and toward digital influencers, the modern brand ambassadors if you will, the same way digital influencers look toward SocialProof to help them gain fraction.
What Digital Influencers Do?
Most simply put, digital influencers put out content, whatever form it may come in – videos, articles, photos, social media posts, etc, on their channels in platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc.
Digital influencers start out by posting content for fun, just like anybody else on the Internet. They usually have a niche, like photography, fitness, mindfulness, travel, lifestyle, or a number of other, mostly lifestyle-related topics.
By posting consistent content on a regular basis, as well as utilizing the idiosyncrasies of the Internet, over time, some of them manage to grow a loyal following.
Because influence is something that’s hard to measure, and certain “influencers” buy fake bot followers to mimic a fan base, some people still dismiss digital influencing as an ostensible form of work or even a showy hobby.
However, this “hobby” can turn out to be quite lucrative – a monetized YouTube video with 1,000 views earns you about $100. For reference, PewDiePie, the most influential YouTuber, has 57 million subscribers.
Where Their Influence Come From?
Humble and Authentic Beginnings
As mentioned above, digital influencers start out as just regular people who post content on the Internet for fun, and it’s precisely these humble and authentic beginnings that are at the core of their authority and differentiate them from regular advertisers and celebrities with an agenda. No matter how successful they go on to become, their reputation and image will always be deeply rooted in their original purpose, which was to share quality content just for the sake of it rather than for money and fame. It’s something like a lasting first impression.
In that sense, digital influencers are somewhat reminiscent of gangsta rappers who really did grow up on the streets and truly lived in the world they’re singing about. Even after they make it big and put this life behind, their music will (almost) always be accompanied by this aura of authenticity.
Because of the perceived transparency of their motifs, digital influencers are inherently viewed by their followers as “one of their own,” people who just like to share tips and moments of their life and spread positive vibes.
On top of that, the very nature of their posts is usually more spontaneous and straightforward and come across as nothing but undisguised, friendly advice, as opposed to the stealthy tactics of a cunning advertiser.
As a result, digital influencers’ followers are precisely that – true followers, sometimes even borderline worshipers, looking up to them for advice, direction, recommendations, and even just their presence.
Digital influencers are usually experts in a niche category they have a genuine interest in, and it couldn’t be any other way – otherwise, they would not only spread themselves too thin, but also their advice would weigh less and just seem like a generalist’s opinion.
As a result, their followers respectively constitute a very niche category as well, and we all know that reaching and engaging target audiences is advertisers’ bread and butter.
Why Brands Collaborate with Digital Influencers?
For the aforementioned reasons, digital influencers become the perfect conveyors of brand messages and stories.
Their promotional tactics don’t appear as tactics at all, but merely as friendly, but expert advice. Their authority is unwavering, rooted in their genuine interest in the subject which their regular past can attest to. Through digital influencers, brands can advertise their products in a far more seamless and personal way, even when posts have specifically been labeled as #sponsored.
Skepticism toward Regular Ads
The value of such a hard-to-build image cannot be understated in today’s day and age. A famous survey by Nielsen, an authority on consumer behavior, finds that 90% of customers follow other people’s recommendations about a product, while only 33% are willing to trust an ad. In line with these findings, another study by SocialChorus reveals that the participation of influencers in advertising campaigns can increase engagement up to a staggering 16 times.
Fiercer Competition for Consumers’ Attention
Unlike the pre-digital age, when all eyes were on the television sets, nowadays, we have an unprecedented amount of information and mediums, competing for our attention. This poses a problem for advertisers, as their target audiences are always on the move, jumping from content to content, platform to platform, like an elusive fish that swims in all kinds of streams.
Digital influencers are like a net which captures the attention of a highly segmented, but potentially huge audience that take in their every word hungrily, and naturally, advertisers are willing to pay top dollar for their services.