The rise of influencers on social media platforms and beyond has brought a new wave of innovation when it comes to marketing. Instead of A-list celebrities promoting the latest products or paying for expensive, elaborate advertisements, businesses have turned to influencers of all calibers to connect with current or new consumers. Shifting gears allows the company to have influencers try and “promote” their products to a new audience. These influencers’ reach can range from millions of followers or “micro-influencers” with an audience of around 10 thousand followers. Which one each company uses depends on the strategy or goal of the campaign. But, is it working? Is it creating a new, better relationship between the business and its consumers?
According to the Influencer Marketing Benchmark Report for 2022, The influencer marketing industry is set to grow to approximately $16.4 Billion in 2022. Those numbers seem to be improving every year. This makes sense, as 1 in 4 adults Gen Z-ers plan to become influencers as their career choice (Melillo, 2022). The rise of social media platforms as a service has allowed anyone with a phone to create content, thus flooding the platform with opportunities. Everyday people using apps to connect with everyday people to share knowledge of all sorts.
The benchmark report shows that companies are allocating a decent amount of funds from their budget to influencer marketing, the question posed is is it working? The answer? Depends on who you ask. In a recent article published on Yahoo Finance by PRNewswire – “only 11% of 1,000 people surveyed believe that a social media influencer with millions of followers is a trustworthy source of information.” 82% surveyed had purchased a product or service based on an influencer’s recommendation that they had a negative experience with. Of that 82%, 41% claimed it did not match their expectations (The Desire Company, 2022). Having had this experience happen myself, I can tell you it is quite a disappointing moment. There’s something that feels personal about taking recommendations from an influencer, so the cut is twice as deep as if I were to see the product or service in an ad. On the other end, the majority of Gen Z consumers won’t try a product unless it has been reviewed by their favorite influencers (Muhammad, 2022).
With new privacy laws enacted and more coming to fruition, influencers are having to be more transparent with their audience than ever. Regulations like alerting the audience it is a paid partnership or #ad on Instagram is a relatively new guardrail. Government regulations are starting to increase to protect the mental health, privacy, and pockets of consumers. California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a new bill into law a couple of days ago to enforce tech companies to “limit notifications at night and report enforcement actions against users to the state” (Cannestra, 2022). Influencers and companies will have to be wary of the state legislature. When done properly with transparency, good customer service, and a strategy, influencer marketing can be a game changer for a business.
Muhammad, Zia. “Influencers Might Be More Trusted by Gen Z than Reviews on Product Pages.” Digital Information World, 27 Aug. 2022, https://www.digitalinformationworld.com/2022/08/influencers-might-be-more-trusted-by.html
Melillo, Gianna. “1 In 4 Gen Z-ERS Plan to Become Social Media Influencers.” The Hill, The Hill, 24 Aug. 2022, https://thehill.com/changing-america/enrichment/arts-culture/3614182-1-in-4-gen-z-ers-plan-to-become-social-media-influencers/
“The End of the Influencer? Most Consumers Doubt Social Media Influencers Use the Products They Promote.” Yahoo! Finance, Yahoo!, https://finance.yahoo.com/news/end-influencer-most-consumers-doubt-185500638.html
Geyser, Werner. “The State of Influencer Marketing 2022: Benchmark Report.” Influencer Marketing Hub, 2 Mar. 2022, https://influencermarketinghub.com/influencer-marketing-benchmark-report/
Cannestra, Sakura. “Newsom Signs Bill to Make Tech Companies Protect Kids Online.” POLITICO, 15 Sept. 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/09/15/newsom-tech-companies-protect-kids-online-00056727