Influence, Advertising, or Both?

Scroll, pause, scroll, pause.

As we know our world today, we are blinded by the ads our social media and networks present us with. The more we scroll, the more advertising we see. We may think we know exactly when we see advertisements on our socials or when something is trying to be sold to us. Yet, advertising is built on finding new strategies and tactics to please the consumer, without them ever really noticing they are being directly advertised to. 

A popular, more hidden way businesses “get the word out” is through influencers. You may think you do not know very many influencers, but the truth is that they are all around you. According to the author of “New Methods of Online Advertising: Social Media Influencers,” Zelko expressed that:

 “Influencers are individuals who are extremely exposed in the digital world of social networks. These are people who have a significant influence on public decisions regarding the products they buy, the services they use, and the initiatives they are supporting.” 

They aren’t necessarily someone that is titled as a popular “influencer” or “celebrity.” They are individuals that have a large following from a certain community of people. Big companies will then partner with said individual in hopes that the influencer will expose their product and/or service. So, subconsciously, those who like and follow that individual’s social networks will also naturally be drawn to the said product or service. This is where the hidden advertising messages come into play. 

Each day we view social media pages of people with great standing. Next time you see one of your favorite celebrities or impactful individuals post, check to see if there’s any hidden messages that you wouldn’t have picked out before. That is influencer advertising at its best. 

Zelko and partners go on to explain that influencers are so powerful to their consumers because they act in a word of mouth advertising manner with them by sharing personal details. Slowly overtime, consumers feel connected to the individual they follow because of those personal details and stories. So, once that trust is built, the individual has the power to be that influencer without consumers noticing what is happening.

Andrew East, former NFL player is married to former gymnast olympian Shawn Johnson. The couple has gained a large following from men and women because of their funny antics, athletic history, and strong family influence. Both couples both have the social media following because of their accomplishments. Through the last couple years, large businesses have started to pair with them. They are a great example of advertising through impactful individuals, subtly. 

Pictured on the left is a post any follower of the couple would see in their Instagram feed. At first glance or scroll Andrew and Shawn seem to be shown just having a fun time bike riding around their city. Pause, read, click. See the hidden advertising. (Ride Cannondale being advertised and supported through tag).                                                                                                          

Andrew and Shawn did not become famous for advertising, yet they have become influencers through their following.

Hootsuite is a leading tool used in the networking and social media world. In fact, if you haven’t heard of it yet, this time will be your first of many. They can be used for several tips and tricks surrounding everything advertising. Their take on influencers follows as “To pull off a great influencer marketing campaign you need to work with experienced social media influencers who share your brand values.”

Right now in life you may be experiencing influencers on your social media. Being involved with advertising begins with finding ways to interact with consumers over networks, and being involved with business’ advertising areas. Eventually that may lead to being involved with influencers instead of being the consumer of them. Advertising is all about working behind the scenes, and studying influencers is one way to notice that.

By Grace Pols 



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