Social media has become a constant in the lives of our generation and it shaped the way in which we communicate, interact, and show emotions to one another. We have an immediate connection to the world around us and while this has its benefits, it has led to a society where we care more about the likes on a photo or the thoughts of our favorite influencer than we do about being connected to our friends.
Instagram and other platforms of social media have seen a rise in paid influencers who represent a product or brand. This is a form of marketing and people with a lot of followers make a lot of money by endorsing a brand and documenting their life. This industry is fairly new and becoming an increasingly important part of a market’s advertising. According to “Social Media Today” in 2018, 71 percent of marketers used influencers to build their brand awareness. This leads to the question, how much do social media influencers affect our decisions as a consumer and why have they become such a prominent way of endorsing a product?
Instagram and other social media outlets such as Snapchat have successfully integrated ads into your everyday scrolling which has allowed smaller companies and larger companies alike to advertise their product in a cheaper way than a commercial on T.V. which is why it has become such a popular marketing ploy. When companies enlist on people with a large following already, they rely on them to convince their following that it is a life-changing product. A good example of this is a company called Plated. Plated gives its customers chef-quality recipes and delivers the ingredients that make them. It has grown drastically by using its YouTube channel to show customers and other viewers how to make recipes that inspire them to have Plated deliver the ingredients. While this is a great tool for small businesses, the influencer market can be potentially harmful to society.
As teenagers, it is not new information that we are easily persuaded by what we see on social media. This is what makes the world of influencers such a risky business. According to the Digital Marketing Institute, 70 percent of teens trust influencers more than they trust celebrities. This could be dangerous as we try to conform to the perfect lifestyle that influencers portray on social media. Generally, influencers are common people who gain a following without having any other ties to fame which makes them seem more like ourselves, only better. Because of their relatability, we instill more trust in them to shape the way we should live our lives.
For small and large businesses alike, social media is a great way to promote a product. That being said, social media influences portray unrealistic expectations for how we should live and this impacts our consumer choices as well as other aspects of our lives. Whether it is a Youtuber documenting the events of their everyday lives, or someone who is famous on Instagram who does daily try ons and promotes products on their stories, we are all living under the influence.