Influencer marketing has changed everything. Influencer marketing hasn’t changed a thing.
That’s the tension today’s social media celebrities have created. And it’s not just marketers, brands, and stars who feel confused. It’s everyday customers as well. Especially when it comes to who to trust.
In a sense, there’s nothing new about influencer marketing.
Humans have always been swayed by the endorsements of the people they look up to. We’re pack animals, after all, and social proof is one of the strongest forms of persuasion. Online, 88% of consumers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations.
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On the other hand, the internet has democratized what it means to be influential.
For the first time in history, anybody can command control — not to mention, huge paychecks — by creating content and promoting products. In fact, the business of influence is growing so rapidly, the FTC has recently begun enforcing transparency laws to clarify paid versus unpaid content.
To sort through the confusion, I dug into the data and connected with a host of behind-the-scenes voices in influencer marketing like Connor Blakley, Joel Contartese, Travis Hawley, Troy Osinoff, and Mari Smith.
Here’s a detailed look — courtesy of help from NoGRE and Nowsourcing — at the past, present, and future of what it means to be an influencer.