Are you tired of seeing advertisements? If so, you are not alone. It is annoying to be interrupted by ads when we watch a video on YouTube or play a game on the phone. While we can escape the droning ads on free-to-air television by paying for subscriptions like Netflix, it is virtually impossible to avoid all the ads that lurk on every corner of the Internet. Hence, it is no surprise that people are becoming disinterested in corporate marketing. These days only 33 percent of consumers say that they trust traditional ads, with 30 percent of consumers actively seeking to prevent ads by installing ad blockers. Consumers are becoming increasingly media-savvy and cautious of their social space being co-opted by big brands. The desire to attract the attention of modern consumers has allowed a new form of marketing to grow: the social media influencer.

Be Prepared for Influencer Season

When you meet with your friends and one of them is sporting a fancy new accessory, you will naturally be curious and consider getting a similar one for yourself. It is no secret that word of mouth and the recommendations of friends and family hold more sway than impersonal advertisements from businesses. This is because we know that businesses have something to gain from selling their products and services, whereas our peers generally only promote something that they believe is beneficial. A social group often has similar beliefs, life goals, and struggles, hence a product or service that appeals to one of them will usually sell to the others as well. FOMO (fear of missing out) is real. From indoor plants to air fryers, people want the cool things that other people in their network have. Influencer marketing leverages this need with particularly persuasive individuals becoming the voice of brands on social media platforms. In fact, 49 percent of consumers indicate that they rely on influencer recommendations, and 40 percent admit to purchasing something after seeing it on social media.

Influencers are ‘real people’ like you and me, who have amassed an audience due to their knowledge and expertise on a particular topic. This could be anything from fashion or cooking to alternative lifestyles. Some influencers even specialize in unboxing, where they unpack and react to items that have been sent to them. Influencers bank on their authenticity and relatability, creating original content and sharing snippets of their everyday life to entertain and inspire their followers. Engagement is a key activity for successful influencers, where they connect and communicate with the audience just as a friend would. Through sharing information, having conversations, and driving engagement, influencers position themselves as a voice of authority within their circle. This allows them to partner with brands and seamlessly integrate sponsored products or services into their content, leading their followers by example. The beauty of influencer marketing is that while the audience is aware that a post may be an ad in disguise, they do not treat it with the disdain of a traditional ad because they trust the opinions of the influencer.

This Means Business

While being a social media influencer may sound like an incredible occupation, only a small percentage of influencers can actually live off their influencer earnings. Influencers come in many tiers. Social media users with 10,000 or fewer followers are referred to as nano-influencers and the ranks continue to rise until you hit mega-influencers with a million followers and celebrity influencers who boast over five million followers. That said, nano-influencers need not despair. Each influencer tier comes with its own advantages and nano-influencers can be essential in helping brands reach a fringe or niche audience. Nano-influencers can expect to get paid between $10-$100 per post on Instagram and get a bunch of free stuff, which is nothing to scoff at in this economy. Meanwhile, when celebrities like Kylie Jenner and Cristiano Ronaldo get involved with influencer marketing, they command outrageous costs like a whopping $1 million per sponsored post. In addition, certain celebrities have taken influencing to a whole other level. Snoop Dogg is a prime example, with clever product placement in his YouTube series and a collaboration with G-Star Raw to produce short clips perfect for sharing on IG Stories and TikTok.

Social media has changed the way we interact with businesses and each other forever. As digital media becomes increasingly integrated with our lives, consumers are going to be more demanding and less patient with marketing content. Social media influencers who create relevant and engaging content for their target audience can be ideal marketing avenues for brands who want to stay competitive. For consumers, influencer marketing means access to research and reviews from authentic users whose experiences can help you to make a more informed decision. Although we cannot totally avoid advertisements, we should be thankful that influencer marketing has made them more palatable, and—in some cases—even enjoyable.