From the Influencers

How Celebrities Can Become Salespeople

September 09, 2016

The idea of influencer marketing – using those in a position of relative fame to promote a product – is nothing new. In fact, celebrity endorsements have been a central part of advertising for decades now. What is different today, however, is that the criteria for what makes an influencer have broadened dramatically. Thanks to the Internet, many “ordinary” people have gained fame through content that they create and distribute themselves for free on social media. Not only are these influencers a cheaper alternative to traditional celebrity endorsements, they may well be more effective as well.

A 2012 study entitled “Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising” found that a whopping 92 percent of consumers trust what is called “earned media,” word of mouth recommendations above all other forms of marketing surrounding a product. This makes sense. After all, it is logical that people would trust a recommendation from someone they know personally.

What is unique about the digital age and the rise of Internet personalities is the fact that consumers no longer need to know the recommenders personally for their opinions to carry weight. Someone who has developed a following online, (for example, YouTube personality PewDiePie, who specializes in reviewing video games) has earned the trust of their viewership. Surveys have shown that their opinions carry the same weight with consumers as those of a friend or family member.

As encouraging as these findings are, marketers should be smart when attempting to leverage influencers in their marketing efforts. Influencer marketing campaigns require nuance. Just because an Internet personality is famous does not mean that they are universal pitchmen. PewDiePie is not equipped to sell hair products. However, he has built up enormous credibility in the realm of video games, and thus would make a logical influencer in that field. Influencers have huge power to drive customers to a certain product or brand. Marketers should look to leverage them in campaigns whenever possible. 

Edited by Alicia Young

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