Op-ed

Influencers Have the Upper Hand On Social Media

When you are scrolling through Instagram, reflect on the amount of influencers that you come across in such a short span of time. Most likely, you will see at least a few. Influencers are taking over social media by storm and have quickly gained the power to sway the opinion of their audience with just one post.

While some may look at influencers as insignificant, it is important to understand just how dominant they really are.

According to Merriam-Webster, an influencer is a person who is able to generate interest in something, such as a consumer product, by posting about it on social media. If one of my favorite influencers post about a certain product that I am interested in, I will trust their judgement and most likely buy it for myself.

Influencers are able to gain complete trust from their audiences by branding themselves as authentically as much as they possibly can. Once they gain trust from their audience, they have them wrapped around their fingers. Whether it be makeup, skincare, fashion or a recipe, influencers have the capability of completely swaying their audience’s opinions on something.

According to BigCommerce, 19% of marketers will spend $1,000-$10,000 per year on influencer marketing in 2020, while 18% are spending between $100,000-$500,00 per year. This statistic proves that marketers and businesses put a lot of their trust into influencers to sell their products for them. Undoubtedly, it must be working pretty well.

A substantial part of influencer marketing is when an influencer teams up with a brand or company for a paid partnership, which is how this field has become so profitable. At my internship, I am able to see this first hand. When an influencer gets a brand deal, they are required to post the product that the company sent to them. Often, the influencer is obliged to reveal to their followers that the post is an ad, sometimes through the form of a hashtag.

Depending on the success and engagement rate of an influencer, some brands are willing to pay thousands of dollars for one single post. I do not think that people recognize how many sales an influencer can help to drive through one Instagram post. If a product’s sales go up after the influencer posts about it, they make a certain amount of money from the sales as well.

One of the most well-known fashion influencers right now is Danielle Bernstein, who goes by @weworewhat on her blog and Instagram. Bernstein is trendy, business-savvy, opinionated and unapologetically herself.

Bernstein has around 2 million followers on her Instagram and has helped to shape the influencer industry into what it has become. She was in Forbes “30 Under 30” before the age of 25 and has cultivated an exceptionally successful career.

Bernstein is just one particular example of a woman who has started out as a blogger for fun but has turned her blog into a career and lifestyle. She has an eye for fashion and always posts about the latest beauty trends. Berenstein posts aesthetically pleasing photos to her feed at least twice a day – which can be addicting to follow along with.

One may ask, why should I care about what influencers are doing? Although you might not have an interest in following influencers on social media, they are still prevalent and will continue to gain attention.

As a business owner or entrepreneur, it can certainly be beneficial to look into influencer marketing to help sell a brand, product or service. Influencer marketing can also help to gain brand awareness.

Whatever you do, do not underestimate influencer marketing and the power of influencers, because they are taking over social media more and more each day.

Kathryn Schill is a fourth-year student majoring  in media & culture. KS868875@wcupa.edu

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