A deep dive into the value of online influencers

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The term “influencer” has become a buzzword in recent years. There’s no doubt there is great value in them. But why?

Let’s take a step back and look at the big picture.

Back in the day, people had very limited ways of communicating with each other. During the Industrial Revolution, which took place in the 18th and 19th centuries, this started to change. We saw significant improvements in the communication sector. From Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press to the radio invented in the late years of the revolution, these communication technological advancements brought about a fundamental historical change. It opened up the opportunity to transmit messages to large audiences through print or electronic media.

During the 1930s and 1940s, the radio was the center of most US American homes. People planned their daily routine around the programming that was informative and entertaining. Later on, television also became an integral part of American families. By the 1950s, television was seen as the most important mass media. Even though sales of television sets were higher, the radio capitalized on its portability. Radios could go places television could not (hold this thought).

This look at the past brings back memories and awareness to the power of communication technology as a strong agent of change in society. Its impact is reflected in culture, people’s lifestyles and as a direct consequence, in business.

The influence of mass media on society is undeniable. So is the influence that gatekeepers of traditional media have on the general public. Think about editors, journalists and all these thought leaders who filter what information is being transmitted to the masses. Within this structure, power is accumulated in a handful of figures who have access to the centralized one-way communication technologies aka old media, newspapers, magazines, radio, and TV.

With this in mind, let’s fast forward to today. We are living a new communication revolution, caused by the combination of two modern innovations: the Internet and the mobile telephone. Combine the portability of the radio, the audiovisual power of TV and a two-way communication opportunity at all times. MAGIC. The networked infrastructure that mobile technologies provide has changed our lives in ways we are still digesting.

As we navigate this world in transition, we have experienced big changes that have taken place in a short period of time. Especially since technological adoption is getting faster worldwide. Let’s look at the telephone as an example. It was invented in 1876, but it wasn’t until a century later that people would consider it as something essential. If we look at the mobile telephone adoption, we can immediately see the difference. In less than two decades, society not only considers it essential, many people have drastically become dependent on this technology.

The Internet, more specifically social media platforms, have connected us in ways we have never seen before and given us the tools to do something that is part of our human nature, tell stories. When we use social media, we all act as publishers of some sort. We communicate ideas, interests, and passions through different mediums and content formats.

In the digital era, we have seen that the power that was once accumulated in a small number of channels, is now up for grabs. Hundreds of thousands of online influencers from all walks of life have emerged breaking many paradigms. Without the subjectivity of the traditional gatekeepers, voices and conversations in the online space seem to be more real and authentic.

Having the opportunity to hear all kinds of voices, in a world where there is a trust deficit in most significant institutions, has proven indispensable in people’s lives.

Think about it.

What is the first thing you do before buying a product, trying a new restaurant, booking a hotel etc? Your answer, most likely, was: Look for online reviews or references that you can trust. Everything comes down to this, TRUST. 

Over time, influencers have developed their personal brands online and created a reputation for the content they share. The two-way-communication opportunity has created a proximity we have never experienced before. It breeds trust and value between publisher and audience.

There is no wonder why influencer marketing is the fastest-growing marketing tactic today. Marketers have cottoned on to the power of this new wave of influencers, building valuable relationships and collaborating with them on behalf of their clients. This relationship adds three types of value:  credibility, content creation and message amplification.

Ready to start leveraging the power of online influencers? Get started today.