Jonathan Rudden
Jonathan Rudden 15 May 2015
Categories Social Media

Moving Away From Celebrity Endorsements Towards Social Media Influencers

The power of social media advocates and influencers on consumer behaviour.

Hitting the celebrity market in recent years is the concept of “YouTubers”, that is; famous young people who post their thoughts/opinions on the social media platform YouTube.

They offer advice from make-up tutorials to fashion advice and fitness workouts. They are a new breed of celebrities influencing how millions of us spend, feel and think, they make us feel like their best friend and we wish to aspire to have the lifestyle they have acquired. They are more like the ordinary person.

Jenna Marbles (real sir name: Mourney), has over 15.5 million total subscribers and makes fun of the millennial women and the issues they face on a personal level, goofing around and generally making fun of herself. These celebrities can relate to their followers on this personal level, they like to remind their followers they are just like them.

This kind of social interaction is very astonishing in that their followers go through life with their words of wisdoms. In fact, “A recent report by Neilsen found that in the US, YouTube reaches more 18-34 year-olds than any TV network, including MTV and FX” (Mortimer, 2014) . What is it about these people that entices us, as consumers, to believe in whatever products or services they promote or even criticize? We live in a celebrity/influencer-obsessed culture whereby a consumer will buy a product just because a figure is associated with it.

What makes social media influencers so unique in that they have a personal connection to their followers. Unlike a paid celebrity endorsement across your screen, the consumer voluntarily chooses to follow their icon. Take for example on Instagram, you have the choose to follow and like whoever you want, your not forced to see someone you don’t like. Social media advocates on YouTube, Tumblr and Facebook are all credible and trustworthy in the eyes of their followers, they have a special place in their hearts.

Yes, celebrities do have a very powerful say in almost everything but social media influencers have a more unique voice among their followers. Social media influencers are opinion leaders for fashion, fitness, make-up, all the everyday things surrounding our lives.

With this all in mind, marketers should move away from celebrity endorsements.

Consumers nowadays have control over what they see on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram; all at the click of "follow" or "unfollow". Marketers should engage more with bloggers and the likes to really express their brands and what they represent.

I believe the element of stardom teaches us that social media influencers are literally “just like us” .. Endorsing a product or brand, by a celebrity or popular social media advocate is powerful “69 percent are more likely to make a purchase if the product is recommended by someone they follow on social media” (Debroff, 2014).

Companies should make use of this “humanity” and perception in their marketing campaigns because it will generate a real connection with consumers and thus influencing their behaviour. Consumers don?t want to aspire to be like someone; they want someone who is just like them “Nothing sells like Celebrity” Creswell (2008).

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