The Call for Diversity in Influencer Marketing

Marketing trends, short term or long term, are prone to change.  What works for one era will not work for another. Even then, if a marketer did everything right, there is no guarantee of results. That is why marketers do their best to study and apply both the long and short term trends of customer buying decisions and the motivation behind each one.  Today’s technologically driven economy relies on the relatability of influencer marketing.

Influencer marketing is a type of marketing in which an influential personality from a social media platform testifies on the behalf of a product. Sometimes, they are a paid third party. Other times, they are already users of that product or service.  The representation of a product or service by a trusted individual often garners a more positive response compared to other forms of advertising in the past.

This is because the influencer advertising comes across more genuine to target audiences.  But what makes influencer marketing a trend in the first place? The answer to that question is relatability. When a person or a group of people can relate to something, they are more likely to want to associate with it.

How Tribalism Determines our View on Marketing

Human beings are social creatures. We form alliances with family members and friends for our own protection.  As well as the protection of our species. It is as old as the early stages of mankind and is still exemplified through modern alliances and group identity. A lot of these tribes form through a combination of shared commonalities, such as appearance, communication methods, activities, and tradition.

When a new item, person, or idea gets an introduction to a tribe of people who are unfamiliar with it, there two possible responses. Inclusion or exclusion. Inclusion often comes when the new presence is deemed compatible with the way of life already adopted by the tribe.  Or, when a representative of the very same tribe vouches for the intrusion. Because familiarity is a strong association of safety.

As we evolve, we have come to the realization that this is not always the case. Sometimes family, close friends, and people in our community can prove themselves just as untrustworthy as unknown strangers or elements. However, it is an instinct that has been honed by our ancestors, who scrapped for everything they could find. And one that is far too powerful to ignore. So hard to ignore in fact, that it carries over to our smaller, more inconsequential decisions, like buying a toothbrush. Whether we realize it or not, human beings crave to see a reflection of themselves. Mainly, to help them along in the decision-making process.

But how does it work in the context of influencer marketing? And isn’t diversity in influencer marketing the anthesis of tribalism? Not really.

Diversity and Influencer Marketing is a Reflection of America’s Population

When we hear the term, ‘diversity in media’, we generally assume it means a forced representation. Mainly from well-intentioned political correctness gone wrong. But that isn’t really the case. Especially, when it comes to social media. Because social media accounts come across less artificial compared to other forms of media.

Producers in traditional media formats polish, edit, and create a fantasy world all in the name of entertainment or sales.  And while some editing is required for things like writing a post, or uploading a video, the instantaneous speed of posting and the permanency of the internet makes it really difficult to keep up artifice for too terribly long on social media. Especially if a post history is available.

So, instead of glamorized Hollywood stars with altered appearances and carefully crafted dialogue for the sake of fantasy, we have real people for influencers. Imperfections and all.  This checks most of the cynicism of advertising adopted by Millennials and Gen Z’s, who grew up with excess advertising.

Because there is little enforced sanitization in social media, not only are we seeing imperfection, but we are also seeing genuine diversity. After all, white people only make up 74% of the entire American population. And males make up only 49% of the population.   So, it makes statistical sense that not all American influencers are going to be homogenous. There are even other factors to consider, like age range, and belief systems.

This allows for the opportunity of a variety of people who differ in all of these factors to find an influencer, and by extension, a product more suited to their individual needs. Because they see an element of themselves in an influencer.

Conclusion

Ultimately, because they are seeing an extension of themselves on social media, users are far more likely to listen and follow through advertising from an influencer rather than a traditional ad.

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