Digital influencer seems to have flooded the internet as a marketing tactic, attracting buyers from account recommendations on social media platforms. Although this may seem like a new kind of marketing, it’s actually nothing new.
What is influencer and who are influencers?
According to Viewpoint, influence can be applied to anyone who has the ability to induce or influence the behavior of their followers. Influencers are often used to endorse products, which is called influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing is a type of marketing used in social media that uses influential social media accounts to endorse products. Influencers are generally people followed on social networks and known for their expertise on a subject.
In our digital age, influencer is strongly associated with social media, but technology has advanced and changed influencer marketing.
How long has the influence existed?
The influence has been around since long before modern technology. According to Forbes, influencer marketing has been around since the 1930s, but dates back to ancient Rome, when gladiators endorsed products.
Influence has been around for a long time – it impacts what people buy and their behavior and helps determine what is popular.
According to Medium, kings, queens and popes favor the use of medicine. Forbes reported that in 1760, Wedgwood, a fine china company, made a tea service for the wife of King George III. After that, the company marketed its brand as “approved by royalty”.
Who was the first influencer?
The influence may even date back to an earlier period. Pope Francis tweeted and credited the Virgin Mary as the first influencer, writing: “Without social media, she became the first ‘influencer’: God’s ‘influencer’.”
In the early 1900s, Murad cigarettes featured a movie star known as Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle in their advertisements, creating the first celebrity endorsement. The successful campaign inspired other companies to use the influence of athletes and celebrities to sell products.
The influence continued through Coca-Cola’s use of Santa Claus in 1931 advertisements. Hollywood stars promoted new silhouettes, offering fresh fashion and style, in the 1940s. Nike’s Air Jordans became very popular after Michael Jordan’s debut and endorsement in 1984.
As the Internet developed, influence spread to blogs and since then the invention of social media has made it possible for really anyone to influence. “Social media has made it possible for anyone to become an ‘influencer,'” reports Forbes.
Influence has been around for a long time and has grown from influential royalty to celebrities to the everyday social media user. However, now that becoming an influencer is more accessible, it raises the question of its impact.
Who coined the term influencer?
The term influencer has been in use since 1662 according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, but the word was just added to the dictionary in 2019.
Are we too influenced?
Psychology Today reported that people often rely on popularity — if everyone seems to be buying something, we think this article deserves our attention. Influence is a market dedicated to making something act or buy because of its popularity.
Popular trends create a sense of tribalism, which provides people with a sense of unity and harmony. However, influence can be a double-edged sword.
The New Yorker reported that digital influence can be a “salable commodity and a threat to democracy, a business dream and a political nightmare”. With influences come many voices, all with different motives.
Are digital influences harmful?
The Center for a New American Security think tank writes that digital influence can spread propaganda and reach more people, faster. This can impact political opinions and increase polarization. So, is it normal that we are so dependent on social media platforms and their users?
Users’ personal biases, as well as misinformation, can impact our personal opinions. Those with more influence have the power to influence more opinions. Social media influencers, including political leaders and celebrities, can influence our opinions because of the power of influence they wield.
An example of this is in political parties. According to The Economist, “As partisanship grows, committed members of political parties seem increasingly inclined to change their attitudes to match those of their party leaders.”
Leaders of political parties have great influence over their parties and have the clout to influence opinions within their party. However, they are not the only ones with the power to influence policy.
Perspectives on Politics reported that with massive media reach, celebrities have a broad platform to promote their views and issues, and can access governing bodies such as the US Congress and the United Nations.
Jason Momoa has used his influence to visit the United Nations and speak out on island nations and the challenges of climate change. Another example of celebrity influence was when Oprah Winfrey endorsed Barack Obama for president in 2007.
An example of a harmful influence concerns fast fashion. On TikTok, there are various “transportation” videos where users buy lots of items and promote the fast fashion industry, which harms the environment and often violates labor laws. These influences encourage young people to purchase items from unethical sources.
Our ability to be easily influenced due to a desire to fit in or be popular can cause many problems in society through political opinions and the promotion of consumerism. It may be time to reevaluate our influences.
How long will the influence last?
The influence grew in number and popularity. According to Fashion magazine, the influencer market has become heavily saturated and expanded to include “micro-influencers”. Micro-influencers have fewer followers, but are just as valuable for marketing and have influence.
The influence will be there for a long time due to its effectiveness. According to Forbes, people, especially women, are more likely to be influenced to make purchases or lifestyle changes based on recommendations from other people.
Influence plays an important role in impacting behavior using recommendations, which is why it’s not going away anytime soon.
Who is the highest paid influencer?
The highest paid influencer is LeLe Pons. According to Livingly, Pons is paid $144,000 per post.