Under the Influence: How Social Media Shapes our World

Let’s talk about influencers. Is it just me or do you find yourself in a constant scroll through life? You may think “that’s awkward she wrote scroll instead of ‘stroll,’” but I did, in fact, intentionally type “scroll.” I am endlessly scrolling through life these days. Whether that be on a casual journey through Instagram or Snapchat stories, or perpetually scrolling through my never-ending Pinterest or Twitter feed. 

It is not my proudest accomplishment that I can easily spend hours a day on social media — and now have confirmation of my time spent via Apple’s “Screen Time” feature on iPhones (yikes!). However, social media matters in this day and age. It’s huge! Especially in the world of advertising. It’s like subtle advertising.

So what exactly is the point behind mentioning this connection between advertising and social media? Well, the other day, I bought a new brand of peanut butter because I saw it mentioned by a blogger I that I aspire to be on Instagram. I also drove to the movies and saw Secret Life of Pets 2 because I saw a blogger’s tweet about it. 

You would think my impulsivity to follow in all bloggers’ footsteps would stop there, but no… #cantstopwontstop. I proceeded to daydream up a vacation to Santa Monica because I watched epic YouTube travel vloggers document their stay in this city as they finished up their journey on Route 66. I actually detailed out this journey, down to the car I’d drive and the people I’d bring for good company. Google Trips is my new thing, if you haven’t read my blog on it yet, your mind may be blown. 

I may have even started making a Spotify playlist (…maybe I shouldn’t admit to being so invested in this daydream?).

I’m not saying that I would never do these things without social media in my life, but influencers on these social platforms are continually pushing me to try out new products. They trigger my craving for a new adventure and even motivate me to take time for things like self-care. The influence they have on my life is incredible.

In advertising, choosing a type of influencer is essential to the overall marketing campaign of your product, destination, etc. According to AdWeek, it is expected that the number of social media users will surpass 3 billion, which makes social media the ideal platform to reach almost half of the world’s population. 

Ad agencies who utilize influencer-marketing must consider the following questions that will make or break their campaign. 

  1. Micro or Macro-level influencers?
  2. What is their follower engagement like?
  3. Is what you are advertising geared toward individuals who use social media? 
  4. What kind of rules and regulations do I want my influencer to adhere to? 
  5. Do I provide the influencer with only free goods or experiences, or do I give them monetary compensation in conjunction with these products? 

Reflecting on these simple questions will truly help advertisers achieve maximum profitability from their campaign. According to Social Media.Market, the ROI on influencers can be up to 11 times higher than the ROI of a traditional digital ad. That’s big! So, why don’t advertisers work with influencers all the time? 

The problem with the influencer market is that it is relatively new, uncharted, and unregulated territory with the potential to break Truth-in-Advertising Laws with the Federal Trade Commission. When influencers don’t state that their post is sponsored, they can run into both legal obstacles and trouble with their followers who lose trust in their favorite bloggers who seemingly are lying or misleading them.

Though there are negative consequences and a great deal of gray-space in the social media influencer world, there seems to be a migration toward using influencers to promote products. In the case of my peanut butter buying, movie watching, and road trip planning, micro influencers played a notable role. An exceedingly successful role, with happy parties on all sides. A happy me with my goodies and plans, a happy blogger with a loyal follower base and connection to a brand, and a content company/brand that is sweeping in the sales. And you never know, a fourth party, like an ad-agency that connected the influencer to the brand, may also be happy too!

So keep on scrollin’ in the free world and live your life. Continue to be subtly coerced into products and experiences that you likely will not regret as you scroll on into the abyss of social media, because you know if it’s on Instagram, it must be #instaworthy.

If you ever find yourself struggling to navigate the seemingly complicated world of social media influencing, our team at Ron Foth is here to help. Give us a call, shoot us an email, or find us on any of our social media accounts!