Unique user settings within current social media outlets have created an environment in which the interactive consumer content marketing trend or ‘influencing/ers’ prompted its own culture. I prefer the term content creator to influencer, as it is a form of art, and if free one can create uniquely honest messages about the products advertised.
The influencer culture is allowing average people with various social media accounts to create marketing content using their own voice and insight through sponsored posts, also known as collaborations. This market culture thrives because social media has brought content advertising directly into the hands of the consumers and produced a direct consumer-to-consumer marketing channel that could not have existed in prior conditions due to lack of social media outlets.
Many reasons lead up to the lack of a content creators’ culture in social media during prior decades. Just over ten few years ago, most content fashion marketing was produced exclusively by companies or organizations and utilized fashion models along with production teams which required locations for the shoot. The content produced was published through confirmed outlets such as mainstream magazines or look books and other times various looks would be seen in fashion shows. This form of marketing isolates the creative aspect of the content from the consumer and does not facilitate authentic interactions with an audience. However, with the influencer culture marketing methods companies can increase brand awareness in true lifestyle settings . Whereas in company-to-consumer marketing methods the public do not have much access to organic communication outlets regarding the marketed product.
Now, we are seeing a rapid increase with the influencer culture through various social media platforms. Today you don’t have to be a model with an agent and connections to market a product and genuinely express your product insight. You can be your normal self, in your messy living room, and still get the message across to the public.
A driving factor to the success of this marketing channel is our social nature as humans. We are social beings and want to connect with others whom we relate with. Through social media we can engage with people from anywhere on this planet. You can see someone in Australia sharing their opinion on the same product that another is using in London or Tokyo. This consumer-to-consumer marketing trend engages interaction through sharing, comments, feedback, messages and more. The depth of the conversation or relation from the content of the product by the creators and their followers contributes to the next step of consumer reviews. Now, you can see the person using the product in the moment through Instagram stories instead of one or two week old comment reviews by someone who could have made it all up.
The ability to have a world-wide connection with people who you resonate with and trust is the reason why I believe most people are looking to content creators to help form their own opinions on products/brands and not just mainstream marketing outlets.
It used to be that a few years ago you would pick up the magazine and see what the Heidi Klum of those days was wearing or cosmetic products she may have marketed to decide which you should buy. Now, you can see someone who is a normal person just like you, no MUA team and professional photographer making them look PERFECT. I believe this shift has given the voice back to the consumers in a very organic and direct method.
If you want to look at cons then here is an alternative thought process to the influencer culture and how marketing is addressed today by most fashion companies. I’ve heard people pair the word influecner with product pusher as if that is shockingly wrong. If you think about it, whatever your job or career is in this world- you are essentially pushing something. If you are a talk show host then you are pushing information. If you are a mechanic then you are pushing service onto people. If you are a plumber you are constantly pushing for toilets to break. The purpose of most jobs/roles/positions is to PUSH something. Without doing so, the company would most likely fail or go bankrupt. If you don’t like influencers it is easy to avoid- don’t follow them or engage in their social media accounts. Just like don’t watch the TV show that you hate, instead of watching it and saying I hate this actor or narrative. Or don’t go to the restaurant you do not like the way the food tastes. It’s your choice what to focus or give any of your time or attention to.
Another negative remark to influencers I’ve heard is “well, they’re getting paid to post it.” So did the models in the magazines, who were paid a significantly higher sum than the influencer who booked that campaign. However, the influencer is more likely to purchase the product that they endorse than the super model. More so, you can instantly communicate with the influencer by sending them a direct message and asking questions that you may have about the product. Most will respond in a timely-fashion and give you their honest opinion. Try messaging a famous model and waiting for the answer…
There are pros to the culture from the operational and marketing perspective of the fashion companies or brands that are utilizing influencers on a higher rate than ever. Print content marketing for a product in a magazine requires model/s, photographer,s production team, hair and make-up, wardrobes, locations, among more. This is a costly method that requires time and therefore increases costs for organizations without .
Th influencer culture now allows companies to collaborate with a content creator by sponsoring the post and paying that creator a sum of money to produce the content in their own style. These collaborations enable consumer-to-consumer conversations where product or brand awareness are the main focus. This is an effective marketing approach because people have access to platforms of communication through social media and can easily converse about products or ask questions; essentially, serving the purpose of any successful marketing campaign by spreading brand or product awareness.
Outsourced campaigns such as the influencer culture in social media are the marketing trends of today’s world. Just as technology advances so will the marketing techniques and operational aspects of companies in our world. I think the influencer culture is just getting started just like the marketing trends in Youtube/Twitter like tutorial and reviewer cultures rose a few years ago which has not diminished since. People want to hear from real people, who they know are imperfect and that they can connect with. People want to hear from others who will take the time to respond to them and answer their questions or address their concerns about the products they are interested in.
A few months ago, my friend, Monta, and I had a conversation on this topic and explored the ideas that I shared here with all of you. If you want to tune in and listen as we cover the influencer culture and content marketing, mindful shopping and more topics click here or follow Ommmsome Life Design on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.
Thank you for going on this journey with me. I want to hear your thoughts and feedback.