I recently had a journalist ask me what role consumers play in the rising power of creators.
More specifically: do consumers care if the majority of social media content they see comes from friends and family? Do they care who the content comes at all, or do they just want to be entertained?
My short answer: consumers care who their content comes from, but they might not care where it comes from.
Don’t get me wrong, friends and family are undoubtedly still high on the list of content sources for consumers. This was made clear by the recent backlash that Instagram saw for deprioritizing friends/family content on home feeds. There are still pockets of social media that are meant for connecting with people you know, and it's unlikely that will ever go away.
That being said, influencers are now a trusted source of content, especially when it comes to education and product recommendations. Our 2022 Impact Survey found that 70% of consumers said they are more likely to buy a product from a brand if they work with an influencer they know and trust. And, 59% of consumers said that they are at least somewhat likely to purchase a product because it was recommended by an influencer.
On the other hand, consumers will often follow and tune in to an influencer if they are providing interesting and informational content. We’ve seen this trend become a huge movement in the skincare industry over the past few years as “skinfluencers” amassed tons of followers through their hyper-educational content.
You’ve probably heard of The Great Resignation — a phenomena where a record number of people are voluntarily quitting their jobs.
Well, we’re also in an era where influencers are voluntarily quitting social platforms. Hence: The Great Platform Resignation.
Both consumers and influencers appear to be becoming more platform agnostic. There has been a lot of talk around influencers looking to move their audiences “off-platform”, and the rise of apps like Substack and Patreon have made that a reality.
Influencers want more control over their content and incomes, and consumers appear to be willing to migrate from a platform if asked (and are even willing to engage with paywalled content). We’re already seeing this in action. For example, Breanna Brock (@plantbasedbre) recently made news for moving from Instagram to Substack, and more recently, TikTok comedian Elyse Myers (@elyse_myers) has started engaging with her followers on Pinterest.
So what does this all mean for brands?
If you don’t have an influencer marketing program, get cracking. You’re already late to the game. If you already have influencer marketing programs, it might be time to rethink/refresh your strategy. In a platform-agnostic world where creators hold the power working, you need sophisticated strategies to prepare you.
A few articles to help newbies:
A few articles for the seasoned practitioner: