Nowadays, opinion leaders play a major role in people's lives, especially when it comes to consumer behavior or purchasing decisions. Because of the skills they have or the communities that they have built around certain topics of interest to consumers, opinion leaders, directly and indirectly, influence consumers' attitudes and decisions.
Celebrities vs influencers
How does this happen? influencermarketinghub.com says that traditional media fails to see the difference between celebrities and online influencers. So, it means that there is a difference between these two. Therefore, according to their definition, an influencer is someone who has the power to affect the purchasing decisions of others because of his or her authority, knowledge, position, or relationship with his or her audience. Also, an influencer has a number of followers in a distinct niche, with whom he or she actively engages. The number of followers can depend on the size of the niche they’re reaching, the language they speak, the country/city in which they live and so on.
Unlike celebrities, influencers can be anywhere and they can be anyone because what makes them influencers is the number of people who follow them, regardless of the niche we are talking about (food, sports, parenting, news, photography etc.). Indeed, some will have only a few thousand followers, others a few hundred, hundreds of thousands or even millions, and so on. We should also mention that a celebrity can be considered an influencer too (even though the term “celebrity” expresses much more than “influencer”), but an influencer is not always a celebrity. For a clearer picture of this, read what pediaa.com says. Also, we’ve discussed how we all are mini influencers in a previous article - check it here.
This being said, social media, especially in the last 10 years, has become a tool that greatly facilitates freedom of expression. Therefore, this role of opinion leader in certain niches is taken over by influencers who affect or influence the thoughts, attitudes and opinions of consumers and thus significantly influence the demand trends for certain products.
Along with this phenomenon, there have been many studies aimed at clarifying how great the influence of influencers is and to what extent it positively or negatively affects their followers. The results of most studies show that there is a certain age group prone to creating models from influencers and to being influenced in a less beneficial way. This is the case for teenagers or children, especially when we talk about parents who are not very attentive to how much time their children spend on these social media platforms. We avoid offering a minimum age because the TikTok phenomenon, for example, has brought to the surface a lot of children who use the platform (more or less for educational purposes). But we should also mention that Douyin is the chinese version of TikTok and it has some time limits for certain age groups - thatsmags.com.
But coming back to influencers:
How much is it about wealth and how much is it about education?
There are a lot of influencers who are passionate about what they do, being very skilled and they decided to share this on Social Media, which they did constantly and for a longer period of time, and so they actually became influencers. But there are a lot of other influencers who do not have a certain niche of interest, they are not passionate about something specific or they don’t know how to do something specific, but they have tried a lot of content types and ideas that bring users’ attention to them. And this is ok because every effort must be rewarded somehow.
But…does the end justify the means?
Because some of them did it at any cost, without thinking about who might follow them, how they influence their followers, whether that type of content may be negative for a particular audience, without thinking about whether they really help with their type of content or they’re just trying to sell an ideal dream or image. Because the phenomenon of comparison occurs very often, even in the case of adults, let alone in children (who often see only the things on the surface - the fame, the power, the attention received, not the less pleasant part, such as the fact that reality can be extremely different from what appears on Social Media and so on).
For a better world
We truly believe that a long-term approach is one that should matter to content creators. Precisely because we want to educate the younger generations and show them what really matters in life. And it really doesn't matter that the influencers are wealthy and show us what they own, even if it means a lot to them. But what matters much more than that is the trends we launch, it matters how we tell our stories and what others draw from our stories. An influencer who is good at something is much more valuable if he explains and shows how he got what he has than if he just repeatedly shows what he has.
We all want it
We all want to make money and be as prosperous as possible, but everyone who has a little bit of life experience realizes that this story is different for each person. Therefore, influencers should put more emphasis on education and learning, without forgetting, of course, to achieve what happiness mean to them. So, at the end of the year, for example, you should notice that, as an influencer, you were part of changing for the better for some people, not just fooling them or making them aspire to what you have. Yes, do what makes you happy, but also take into account the impact you bring around you.
Yes, at first it may be interesting to display your belongings, but you will attract a certain category of people around you - who may form an ideal image of life. And that can't last long. So if you're an influencer who sells an ideal image of something, you may soon become an influencer who has ruined someone's dream - because that person will realize that there is no perfect or accurate recipe to follow and get what you have.
Instead, when you show step by step how you got what you have, you become an influencer who cares about those around him, who educates and forms his followers. And if you are good at what you do, you are considered "validated" by the wave of people who are already following you, and your influence grows even more and more people come to you.