You know how you are more likely to buy something that someone you trust, like a friend or a loved one, recommends than some other product? This is called word of mouth marketing and it influences somewhere between 20-50% of all purchasing decisions according to McKinsey Quarterly. What’s interesting is that word of mouth marketing is no longer limited to people who we have direct contact with. It now includes a whole world of social media influencers. For example, I asked my assistant how she makes her buying decisions. She told me that before she buys a new mascara, she will first go to YouTube and see if her favorite makeup vloggers have uploaded any mascara reviews because she trusts their opinion.
These social media influencers, like the makeup vlogger in the example above, are increasing in number and increasing in traction, meaning that their influence is reaching an ever-expanding market. So, what exactly is a social media influencer and who qualifies? An influencer is someone who simply has an influence over the habits of someone else. A social media influencer is then someone who exercises this power through social media platforms. In fact, according to Twitter’s research, 49% of consumers look to a social media influencer’s opinion before making a purchase and 40% of consumers made a purchase because of a social media influencer’s tweet. That’s a lot of influence power. As such, marketers spend over $1 billion on Instagram influencers, alone.
In the coming weeks, we will be starting a new blog series that is dedicated to social media and social media influencers. We will be exploring topics such as the expanding scope of YouTube, growing and expanding business through hashtags, and the serious implications of Facebook’s “fake name” policy.
Jon Pfeiffer is an experienced entertainment and copyright trial attorney practicing in Santa Monica. Jon is also an adjunct professor at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California where he teaches Media Law. COM 570 covers First Amendment issues as well as copyright, defamation and privacy.