Influencers: Are they Really Influential?

We idolize people that appear to live a more happening, interesting life because there is a subconscious inclination to worship anything that seems fascinating. We admire them because they are popular and powerful. Their ability to charm a great number of people is commendable. Most of us secretly wish to be famous and live a different lifestyle. Following them on social media makes us feel like we are associated, close to them and they are a part of our lives. Haven’t we all bought a product just because our favourite star promoted it? Or watched a show we otherwise wouldn’t have paid much heed to, so we could get a glimpse of them? This is quite literally the psychology of influence. This is what influencer market runs on.

Influencer Relations 101

4.57 billion people around the world now use the internet of which 346 million are new users. More than half of the world uses social media. Yet, according to recent researches, only a quarter of them have confessed to trusting online ads, because most of them are mindful of the algorithms which are spoon-fed. Consumers know of these “targeted advertisements” that have been bought by brands for marketing. They are tired of the sponsored content on their page.


When consumers see famous influencers publicizing products, they often wonder how honest the endorsement is, especially when consumers are aware the influencer is being paid heftily to share the product with their followers. Here’s the thing: trust cannot be bought; it can be earned. To be influential, influencers need to build an honest image and gain this trust factor. So, what type of influencer marketing will work? Even though consumers find it difficult in taking recommendations from online influencers, brands can forge partnerships that will build trust with their audiences in the future.

What’s age got to do?

Compared to older generations, Gen Z are most likely to be influenced online, which isn’t surprising since 45% of them are “almost constantly” online. Majority of Gen Z are teens and that’s why they are more susceptible. According to a study, Generation Z-ers spend an average of three hours per day on social media. This is increased from the amount of time Millennials spend on social media daily, which comes in at two hours and 39 minutes. Now influencers consist of young adults who entertain millions by sharing trendy content on social media.

They are able to connect to their audience because their followers find them relatable and can associate with them. While, millennials find it difficult to trust these influencers. To them, content shared by influencers is valueless, meaningless and very narcissistic. They are highly influenced by customer experience—both their own and others’. Also, millennials are far more likely to make a purchase if suggested by their peers.

Influencers impact on mental health

Social media influencers (e.g. bloggers and vloggers) are famous among minors because of the disruptive yet attractive behaviour that their content shows. These influencers are usually copied by fans and it impacts mental health in a different manner. We am definitely no expert, but stats over the years have shown an increase in digital marketing through influencers.

Jake Paul burns his house, and kids get that imprinted in their minds. But when does it stop? For some reason, the influencer who displayed a dead body on YouTube still gets to be influential on the most controversial platform in the world. The trends change every month. One month its pranks and the next changes to fashion. The number of different things that a teen mind goes through just scrolling through YouTube is bizarre. In India, there are around 30 million teens who own a mobile phone, of this 20 per cent are actually 11 years or younger. Kids and tweens are more likely to stream a video on YouTube once a week. People between the ages of 18-24 are the largest age group for Instagram, which shows that it is a platform for young consumers. According to the Indian Kids Digital Insights 2019 by Totally Awesome, 73 percent of children consuming digital content ask their parents to buy something because of an influencer’s endorsement. 60% YouTube subscribers would follow advice on what to buy from their favourite creator over their favourite TV or movie personality

It’s like entrapment. The mentality of a child changes as the influencer’s life changes. Putting it more lightly for the engineers out there, change in mentality of teens is directly proportional to the influencer’s life. The negativity and hate spread by ‘insta-celebs’ creates a hostile online environment. Fashion models create insecurities in the minds of growing teenagers regarding looks and body figure. The feeling of “want” increases after watching every tech influencer. Still no expert here, but online influencers nowadays do seem to have impact on mental health.

Silver Lining

The number of influencers around the world keeps increasing every minute of every day. Upload a video on IGTV or YouTube and the chances of you becoming famous are very high in a time like this, where everyone is home, scrolling through random media. But upon doing some research (which just means googling random things) we found that there are people who are doing the right thing currently. Focusing on a small case study (India, a country of 1,380,004,385 people), we realized that Indian influencers are working their hearts out to help the needy.

It all began with the one-day strict lockdown which is STILL going on as we are writing this. India was shocked as the Prime Minister showed up on our TVs and told us to stay home for a couple of months.

But, most of the country forgot about the laborers who were left stranded in the middle of the day with the lockdown announcement. Sonu Sood helped when no one was willing to. He began his good work by simply arranging buses for the migrant workers and sending them home. He sent about 60,000 to their family. He provided 45,000 migrants meals daily. Moreover, he also turned his Hotel in Juhu to shelter the doctors and nurses who weren’t allowed back to their societies just because they were treating COVID-19. Shah Rukh Khan provided a section of his house as a quarantine sector for the affected policemen of Mumbai. Ajay Devgn has provided oxygen cylinders and ventilators to the hospitals in need. A simple act of kindness also came through the YouTube community of our country when creators like Bhuvan Bam and Kunal Kamra did their part by providing masks and food to the people in need.

Sources:

  • SaaSworthy
  • depositphotos
  • Rots Creators