Should You Use Influencers or Celebrities for Your Marketing Campaign?

Should You Use Influencers or Celebrities for Your Marketing Campaign?

In the “battle” between influencers and celebrities, influencers just might have celebrities beat.

It’s not even a stretch to assume that influencers — with their smaller followings and greater engagement numbers — might eventually eclipse celebrity endorsements altogether as marketers become more confident about working with them.

Micro-influencers (those with from 10K to 50K followers) provide a better ROI than big-name celebrities with massive followings. In fact, a study by eMarketer reveals that 78% of millennials either flat-out dislike celebrity endorsements or — even worse — are indifferent to them.

Influencer Tier By Follower Count
Influencer Tier By Follower Count

Younger demographic groups are beginning to place greater value on the more authentic opinions of micro-influencers. These days, when it comes down to making purchasing decisions, the relatable appeal of the influencer trumps uber flashy displays of wealth and celebrity.

Micro-Influencers Offer More Bonding, Less Bling-Bling

To suggest that millennials and Gen-Zs have no interest at all in the finer or gaudier things would not be accurate. Thousands of them paid up to $100K to frolic on a tropical beach with Bella Hadid and Alessandra Ambrosio at Fyre Festival, but ended up a scam failure.

But when it comes to making more ordinary purchasing decisions, most would rather rely on someone they perceive to be more like them. That’s where social media influencers come in. Influencers act as relatable, surrogate, closer“friends” on social media. And their opinions hold a lot of weight with consumers, who tend to feel a real sense of connection with them and engage heavily with their posts.

L’Oréal Paris launches Beauty Squad with beauty bloggers in the UK
L’Oréal Paris launches Beauty Squad with beauty bloggers in the UK

When picking up advocators for a social media campaign, large brands do not blindly choose from celebrities, and get whoever has more followers. In the 2016 social media promotion campaign, L’Oreal Paris partnered with 5 UK beauty bloggers who are not the top influencers, in terms of a large follower base, but they have more influence on the decision making of their fans.

Social Media Influencers: They’re Just Like Us

A real-life bestie may not know the hottest spots in NYC or LA — or where to get brows like Cara Delevingne’s — but you can easily turn to your favorite social media influencers for information that IRL friends can’t always provide. The relatability factor that many influencers possess makes them feel like trusted friends to their followers. And people like to take advice from friends about where to go, what to do and what to buy.

Beauty influencer Victoria Lyn sharing her experience using a hair curler.
Beauty influencer Victoria Lyn sharing her experience using a hair curler.

People are far less likely to trust the endorsement of a celebrity who they know might receive thousands of dollars for a single endorsement. An influencer is far less likely to risk her reputation endorsing something that she doesn’t believe in. It’s too much of a risk to her reputation and her livelihood.

Here are some other top reasons why influencers are a better investment than celebrities.

Influencers’ audiences are micro-targeted. When you partner with influencers in your target demographics, they will be more likely to become huge fans of your product. Even more to the point, they then expose your product to followers in those same demographics who will love your product too.

These influencers are already sharing content that feels relevant to the interests of your potential customers. Not only will your content fit right in, but it will be obviously in alignment with each influencer’s mission. That means there’s no chance of an insincere Scott Disick style Instagram fail like this one.

Influencers have the specific expertise it takes to pitch your product. Whatever your product or service, there is an influencer somewhere who is an expert in your field who can promote it.

Lifestyle and fitness blogger Zanna Van Dijk has more expertise in fitness than most celebrities.
Lifestyle and fitness blogger Zanna Van Dijk has more expertise in fitness than most celebrities.

Celebrities are usually actors, singers or have some sort of day job that has little to do with your sports drink or yoga gear. On the other hand, there are many health, fitness and yoga influencers who are passionate about their practices and have followers that trust their judgment. People who see your content posted by an influencer with specific expertise won’t doubt the sincerity of the post the way they might if it was posted by Ariana Grande.

Influencers are more relatable and authentic than celebrities. Consider this: Follower numbers are inversely proportional to engagement rates on every platform other than YouTube. Micro-influencers have smaller followings and more authentic relationships with followers which translates to greater engagement numbers — and more sales for your product.

Influencers are less pricey than celebrities. You don’t have to pay Selena Gomez 100K to pitch your product. If you don’t have the financial wherewithal for a big name celebrity, influencers can be a budgetary godsend. It’s definitely possible to find an influencer who fits your budget and sometimes it’s even possible to pay them in products or services.

Influencers are master content creators. Creating content is their jam and they are brilliant at it. And because of the authentic relationships influencers have established with their followers, they know those followers really well. This means that they know how to create content that is tailor-made for their fans — something that celebrities can’t easily do.

Are Y’all Ready for Some Spon Con?

Need more convincing? 81% of consumers have clicked on a link shared by an influencer and ended up making an actual purchase.

When influencers are upfront about disclosing partnerships with brands, sponsored posts aren’t a turn-off to their followers at all. In fact, 66% will happily consider making a purchase after engaging with a sponsored post. Just as long the influencer is straightforward about the partnership.

There are lots of ways influencers integrate sponsored content (spon con for short) into their feeds. Some lighten the mood around presenting paid partnerships by saying things like “are y’all ready for some spon con?” But no matter how the partnership is presented, the response from followers is almost universally positive and underscores the fact that honesty is the best policy.

Influencers have a built-in audience, and they’ve already done the work of earning the trust of that audience. When you partner with them, that audience becomes your audience. The trust factor that comes along with these partnerships may be the most important reason of all to make influencers your go-to marketing strategy.

This article was originally posted on my Medium:

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