While generally speaking many women follow lifestyle influencers on social media, the same can not be said about men. Much to the dismay of personal care and mens' clothing brand marketers, there is not a massive fleet of grooming, fashion and wellness influencers playing a large role in most men’s lives. But this doesn’t mean men are off the grid -- they are just in a different dimension.
For many marketers, Instagram is ground zero of their influencer strategy when it comes to defending and expanding share of voice on social. This blog post explores the challenge that CPG brands face when it comes to effectively reaching male audiences, with whom the buffed and polished Instagram lifestyle influencer may fail to resonate. In some cases, these influencers may not be seen by their intended male audiences at all.
While it won’t shock anyone to learn that the majority of Instagram users are women, the extent of this imbalance may come as a surprise; a study from the London School of Economics estimates that men make up less than a third of Instagram’s user base.
While they may be conspicuously “off the grid,” it turns out that men are in fact not even remotely offline when it comes to social media. Take Twitter for instance, where the user base is estimated to be 70% male. Similarly, the YouTube user base is estimated at 55% male, with Twitch clocking in at over 80% male. As a very new platform which is still gaining steam, TikTok’s gender breakdown of 60% women versus 40% male could also be due to mens' slower adaption time to social media apps.
For CPG and lifestyle brands, a well targeted play on Instagram is by no means misguided. However, the strong show of men across all social media platforms with the sole exception of Instagram could be interpreted as a rejection of the general vibe of Instagram content.
Marketers of mens' grooming, fashion and wellness products should consider a robust, multi-platform strategy with a roster of YouTube and / or Twitter influencers whose audiences are precisely aligned with their target consumer, and whose strong engagement rates indicate both the audience’s attentiveness and trust.
For marketers to successfully expand beyond lifestyle influencers, they have to think beyond the aesthetic of the Instagram grid. The tight curation of image, color scheme, and personal narrative arc is not present on a platform like Twitter, where the lengthiness of the post is constrained by design, or on YouTube, where thumbnails often mimic the color scheme and fonts of a supermarket’s weekly discounts flyer.
Passion Point influencers, often referred to as ‘content creators,’ are perhaps the antithesis of professional lifestyle influencers. While professional influencers’ scope is typically broad, and their exuberance is often spread thinly among an abundance of partnerships, Passion Point influencers are generally those who are pursuing a highly specific project, hobby or, of course, passion. Their followers tune in to be inspired, motivated, and educated. Crucially, these content creators often boast a quality which is a critical asset to marketers: credibility.
While popular Passion Point influencers on these platforms may not at first glance appear to be the most likely drivers of fashion, body wash and grooming product purchases, it is critical to recognize that aspirational content may very well look different to male and female audiences.
Ultimately, it is a far less polished presentation which dominates on the platforms to which men gravitate.
See below for a screenshot of Search looking for a BMX passion-point search
Whether it's hiring a musician to promote grooming or fashion products (french artists @sprinoir and @georgiaxv3 would be great choices), or partnering with Youtube chefs to promote digital fitness classes (like Ethan Chlebowski did on his channel recently)-- it's clear that the best way to reach those who are apathetic towards influencers is to tap into their passions.