With the recent development in technology, social media is on charts with fashion and lifestyle influencers making a decent living through their extraordinary lives. Instagram is the major platform for budding and established influencers, and while we have conventional influencers (aka humans) giving us style tips, digital influencers (aka computer generated influencers) have effectively taken over social media building a market for a new trend.
Conventional v/s Digital influencers
Just recently, Mintel a market research firm reported that more than 35% of young US women consider social media their main influence for clothes purchases. The US is leading, but Europe is right behind it. We only need to look at the number of hashtags, Instagram celebrities and fashion influencers in adverts to see how this affects marketing. The online world is not only a place to sell, it’s also where you reach audiences. And the best way to do it, is by focusing on influencers.
From fashion bloggers to social media celebrities, influencers have tremendous power over their audiences. Whereas in the past fashion magazines controlled trends through a strict editing process, now one word of endorsement from the right person can translate into clicks, conversions and sales. It’s no surprise that Burberry openly admitted to hiring David Beckham’s son to photograph their latest campaign because of his 6 million Instagram followers. Fashion influencers are not just an extra asset in fashion marketing campaigns: they become an integral part of the storytelling between the clothes and the consumer.
Similarly, Digital influencers aka CGI influencers have now started to take over social media into accomplishing the same mission – Digital Influencers will be next in trend. After all, why pay an actual human being to hawk nutrition concepts or multi-level-marketing schemes when you can create a virtual human who, being not a real person, is perfectly willing to strut, pose, and even make memes for free. The latest virtual influencer to go viral is named Imma, a self-described “virtual model “who’s on the February 2019 cover of the Japanese computer graphics magazine, CGWorld. She accomplished this despite being completely fake, rendered entirely in CGI. A recent photo shows it standing in the middle of a city street, hands on hips, with the caption, “hello earth 🌎 hello human 👶 hello AI.”
When 50 fashion influencers on Instagram posted a picture of themselves in the same Lord & Taylor dress, it sent out signals that this dress was a must have fashion piece. The following weekend the dress was completely sold out! This Lord & Taylor campaign is a perfect example of the power of influencer marketing.
65% of brands now run influencer campaigns and according to an infographic by The Shelf, 92% of consumers trust recommendations from other people—even if they don’t know them personally—over promotional content that comes directly from brands.
An E-Marketer study found that advertisers who implemented an influencer marketing campaign earned $6.85 in media value on average for every $1 they spent on paid media for influencer programs.
Influencer marketing opens up endless opportunities for brands to amplify their content, connect with consumers and build relationships more organically and directly.
As technology advances, traditional marketing techniques have become less and less effective. This is where influencer marketing can help. Consumers have always looked to fellow consumers to inform their purchasing decisions, and with the rise of social media, it’s becoming easier for brands to discover and partner with influencers to get people talking about their company and products.
Primarily, influencers act as mutual friends connecting your brand with your target consumers. An endorsement from an influencer has the power to drive traffic to your site, amplify your message across social media platforms, and even directly sell your products through their recommendation.
Influencers using social media platforms as a base
Facebook: Facebook certainly has its troubles, an audience of more than 2 billion is nothing to sniff at. While Facebook could certainly improve the visibility of its ads and make it easier for influencers to promote content, it still offers the widest potential audience out there. Usually, Facebook content is mainly confined to photos and videos – style tips, complete looks, advertised posts sponsored by brands and detailed content that needs a read.
Instagram: Instagram has promised to tweak the non-chronological feed, making it easier for influencers to have their content rise to the top, even when their follower counts are still low. And, considering the ease of posting to Instagram, and how easy this visual medium makes it to find partnership opportunities, it’s still the cream of the crop when it comes to promoting influencer content.
By leveraging features like multiple photos and videos in a single post, tagging, linking, and a capacity for substantial amounts of text, influencers have been able to get their highly-visual content out to a much wider audience than they would have on a less versatile platform.
Twitter: Twitter’s brevity-based formula still works—just ask its 330 million active users. Better yet, Twitter’s trending hashtags are among the easiest ways to get influencer content noticed on a timely basis. You got to be precise since they have a word limit so it’s all about how you use your words pairing well with your content.
YouTube: Much like Instagram, YouTube’s visually-driven medium still appeals to a huge number of people who would be less likely to get behind a more text-heavy platform. And when it comes to partnership opportunities, YouTube is still a major money-maker for its stars, who can show off their plush free goodies and earn their partners—and sometimes, themselves—millions in the process.
Influencers selling their own brand names
As fashion bloggers continue to assert their dominance as powerful influences over consumers, some of the top names in the blogging world have created their own capsule collections and clothing lines as a way of connecting with their followers in a new manner.
Using their influence to promote their own brand is really what it’s all about. Their platform and influence in the industry have been the sole marketing tool to generate awareness, interest and substantial sales for the business. They also usually gift pieces to other influencers and celebrities and in tandem with their self-promotion, they also generate impressive sales, main goal being to now go beyond their following and resonate with an even wider audience.
The Front Row: Powered by Influencers
“The relevance of influencers today can’t be undermined. We try to encourage them and give them accreditation for fashion events, as they cater to a large audience, and provide them with fresh fashion insight. They go beyond the clothes, and are able to interpret the creativity they see on the ramp,” says Sunil Sethi, President, Fashion Design Council of India.
The past few years have brought with them not only the usual couture crew, but also the sudden surge of the “fashion influencers.”
Gone are the days when the front row was reserved only for the celebutante glitterati.
There has emerged a new class of runway fashion spectators: smart phone wielding, Nikon-toting, java-sipping Millennial known as “fashion influencers.” And, if Instagram is any indication, they are here to stay.
Influencers now compose a generous portion of every big show’s guest list, and in some cases, make a bigger splash with their reviews than the celebrities who sit beside them.
Influencers attending fashion weeks can serve as another marketing tool to create awareness for the show by wearing current pieces in store to the show or building up anticipation for future pieces to look for. But fashion weeks for these people isn’t just about going to shows. There are lot of events, lunches, parties and branded campaigns that go hand-in-hand with these weeks of fashion.
From the IKF Desk
Whether its conventional influencers or digital ones, with the development of social media platforms due to technological advancements, the influencer trend has been on the rise with every passing day. Platforms like Instagram are always coming up with new features and options that makes it easy for these influencers to impact our lives on a day to day basis. The main question is, are digital influencers here to stay or will they only co-exist with the conventional ones?