Social media influencers are now some of the most powerful people in the world of marketing. Boasting the power to reach millions of consumers, these creative influencers use social media networks to engage with followers and contribute cause- or sales-minded content to the digital world.
Because they interact with such large audiences, social media influencers collaborate with top professionals to inspire followers to act.
This, in turn, drives results for business and organizations and can create massive changes in our culture and world at large.
If you’re interested in learning more about influencers and why partnering with, paying attention to, and being them is so important, read on!
Influencer marketing has become increasingly more popular in recent years.
But why? Why do influencers work? Why do they matter so much to brands? How do they become so, well, influential?
The answers to all of those questions are simple: influencer marketing has expanded dramatically in the past two years because it helps companies build up their bottom lines and implement exciting new campaigns.
In fact, one study by Bloglovin found that 67% of all marketers currently believe influencer marketing campaigns are helping them reach more targeted audiences and drive more substantial results. As such, the influencer marketing market is currently worth about $2 billion but is projected to reach a whopping $10 billion by 2020.
Here are a few more statistics to chew on:
- Businesses make $6.50 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing
- 59% of marketers plan to increase their influencer marketing budget in the coming year
- Successful YouTube stars earn millions for every video they post
- 6% of marketers report that finding relevant influencers is the largest challenge of influencer marketing
- 67% of marketing professionals use influencers for content promotion
- About 40% of Twitter users report making purchases after seeing a Tweet from an influencer
It’s because of these effectiveness metrics that big brands are increasingly turning to influencers and that influencer marketing has become more popular in recent years. Today, things like Snapchat Takeovers and social media marketing campaigns have become standard, and virtually any young influencer or consumer out there can think, off the top of their head, of an influencer campaign they saw and admired.
If you’re considering using influencers to generate engagement and excitement for a cause, startup, or organization you’re onto something great. Lots of brands already know that influencers can drive serious results and that using influencers is a great new way to connect with audiences.
The moment you start the practice on your own, though, it takes on an entirely new meaning.
In addition to driving results for your brand, influencers can also have a major positive impact on your community or the world at large.
Here are a few examples to learn from, if you’re considering implementing an influencer campaign:
In early 2018, Drake broke the internet by releasing a video for his song “God’s Plan.”
Unlike most hip-hop videos, there was no elaborate love story in this one, no special effects, and no sexy backup dancers. Instead, it’s a beautifully-shot clip directed by a woman named Karena Evans. It follows Drake around Miami, as he distributes his label’s $999,631.90 budget to people in need.
The visuals will move anyone but a cement-hearted grump to tears. Drake beams, tearful fans hug him and react with disbelief, and the entire thing is joyous. It’s a prime example of what influencer marketing can do, and how powerful it can be when someone with a large following goes against the grain.
Jack Harries is a travel YouTube influencer who recently filmed a video dedicated to bringing attention to the Waterberg Welfare Society, which raises awareness and provides support to fighting the HIV epidemic throughout Africa.
The video (included below) has earned more than 2 million views and thousands of shares and is a perfect example of how powerful influencers can be when they combine with social good organizations to drive a message.
The Trevor Project is an NPO dedicated to suicide prevention in LGBTQ youth. Recently, a team of YouTube influencers, including James Lecesne, Arianna Huffington, Tyler Oakley, Peggy Rajski, and Abbe Land developed a series of videos designed to encourage their followers to contribute to the project.
Oakley, however, was the biggest leader of the campaign, driving $500,000 through donations from his whopping 8 million YouTube subscribers. That’s not the first video Oakley has made for The Trevor Project, though. On his 24th birthday, he launched a fundraising effort to help support The Trevor Project. The video has more than 558,000 views, and 21K likes.
Smosh is the brainchild of Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecox.
Recently, the duo took to YouTube to inspire their thousands of followers to head to DoSomething.org to raise awareness about teen pregnancy.
The duo did this by posting a YouTube video that outlined their lives and what they’d be like if they were parents. The video accounted for one-third of all campaign sign-ups, and was, possibly, one of the most effective ways to drive awareness of the issue, with a comedic spin.
Diane Guerrero is best-known for her roles on Orange is the New Black and Jane the Virgin, but she’s since built a social media following that eclipses both of those platforms. Using her Instagram profile, Guerrero has created a one-stop-shop for anyone who wants to get involved with or learn more about immigration reform.
This topic is close to Guerrero’s heart, as her parents and brother were deported to Columbia when she was 14. After her family was forcefully broken up, Guerrero, a U.S. citizen, remained in the states and was raised by relatives. Today, she shares portions of that story, as well as immigration reform resources, with her one million followers.
Ava DuVernay is many things: in addition to being an Oscar-nominated director and foundational member of the modern film industry, she’s also a powerful social media influencer with a large following. With more than 936K people following her Instagram account, DuVernay uses her platform to bring awareness to and fight the effects of racial issues, specifically systemic racism in the justice system. This was the topic of her 2016 documentary, titled 13th, and remains at the heart of her work.
James Charles first made his name as a fashion and makeup blogger, sharing in-depth tutorials with his 5 million followers. At the ripe old age of 17, Charles had already made quite the career for himself before his big break came. Through his social following, James was noticed by and appointed to the staff of CoverGirl, as the company’s first ever male ambassador.
Today, Charles uses his social media presence to encourage young people to embrace their true identities and accept themselves just as they are.
Lauren Singer is a popular influencer best known for promoting a no-waste lifestyle. Her Instagram account, trashisfortossers, is where Singer got started, and has since amassed 234K followers.
Through her social platforms and YouTube channel, Singer helps followers learn how to live cleaner lives by re-evaluating the way they purchase, use, and dispose of everything from food containers to health and wellness products.
One of her most popular videos is “Four Years of Trash: One Jar,” which you can check out below:
While videos like these are simple, they show exactly how powerful social media can be to educate and inspire people to make greener decisions.
Em Ford is a beauty vlogger, but she broke the mold recently when she started posting makeup-free pictures on her Instagram account (@mypaleskinblog) and other social profiles.
Despite having made her living showing people how to apply makeup beautifully, Ford realized that social media beauty standards are often unrealistic, and can contribute to shame and self-consciousness in young men and women.
With this in mind, she decided to do something. Today, Ford uses her social platforms to dispel beauty myths, share body-positive messages, and encourage each of her 986K followers to be exactly who they are, not who society thinks they should be.
In the years leading up to now, influencer marketing has been an effective marketing tactic – period. It’s been a great way for merchants to push their products to large audiences and promote new products, but few people have thought more deeply about it then that.
Today, however, marketing is becoming more personalized, specific, and meaningful, and influencer marketing has evolved to be much more than just a business deal. Today, the practice is more about relationships than it is about money, although it’s great at driving bigger bottom lines, as well.
Modern influencers become the faces of the brands they work with. They inspire trust, drive results, and create messages that are worth much more than the stale, impersonal marketing slogans of yesteryear.
Recently, the trends associated with influencer marketing have changed. While people used to dedicate test budgets to the odd practice, influencers are now a marketing staple, and the center of always-on relationships.
This means there are more opportunities today than ever before for social influencers, and that young people interested in becoming influencers will have their share of industries and partnerships to choose from.
In this sense, influencers have made marketing much more efficient and effective, and they stand only to improve it in the years to come.
This is important for many reasons. While influencers are great at driving results for companies, they’re also powerful forces of change, capable of shifting the world and society at large toward better things. Think about Drake, again, and his song “God Plan.”
When influencers are young, university-going people, these effects are even more powerful, as you can see in many of the companies listed above.
As Millennials rise up to become one of the most powerful buying groups in history, young influencers have more power than ever before to drive social and political change, while also helping cause-focused brands stand out and stand up.
By Ashley Arcel