- We find ourselves scrolling down our Instagram timeline for hours. We scroll through pictures of our friends and family, memes, vines and pictures of our most beloved celebrities. We use social media to make us feel involved in their lives; bringing us one step closer to those we idolise so much. Watching ‘The Secret Life of Social Media Influencers’ by Jubilee, on YouTube, I came across Karen Ip, also known by her Instagram username @fruitypoppin. Karen became internet-famous after posting a video on Twitter that went viral. The internet’s response inspired Karen to post more content in her social media, more silly videos and fun captions led her to gain her now over 1.7 million followers. As her following started growing, she started being approached by firms for endorsement and sponsorship, so much she was able to pay for her college education with the money her career as a social media influencer brought. She now has a net worth of around $300K and is assumed to earn between $2,243.5-$3,737.5 per post. (Not quite as much as Rihanna but quite impressive for a normal 18-year-old).
The rise of social media influencers has actually had a much bigger impact on society and the internet community than we can imagine. Stories such as Karen’s has encouraged more and more people to follow on and try to build their own social media platforms. The number of content creators has been rapidly increasing, people of all ages and backgrounds from every corner of the world create daily content in the hope of being noticed by the right crowd and have their posts or videos go viral. Young people are now devoted in building and creating content that targets the right demographic, the process of content creation has become so highly developed and technical that too many it is now considered a real career due to its sense of purpose and income. Social media platforms are substantially providing entrepreneurs with a new ecosystem to build off of and creators will fill every conceivable niche.
We’ve always seen big movie stars or singers being the face for brands and advertisement but they’re now being replaced by individuals who are more like us – other users who gained internet fame by posting seemingly replicable content. Endorsements and sponsorships to celebrities have been commonplace for decades but these influencers are, to many of us, more relatable. We trust influencers’ opinions and believe them to be sincere when reviewing, recommending, or advertising brands. Social media has helped disguise advertisement in everyday content by blurring the lines between entertainment and outright marketing material. For example, memes and vlogs are now incorporating endorsements within their content, this is done so subtlety, we end up buying into these marketing strategies without realising.
In behavioural economics, there’s a principle that suggests that individually don’t want to fall behind and thus often make purchasing choices based on what others do. We inherently compare ourselves to others, constantly striving to keep up with the latest trends. Seeing individuals who are seemingly more like us endorsing products we once only saw big celebrities use triggers a sense of reassurance in most of us.
Splurging on La Mer’s new foundation isn’t just restricted to Kim Kardashian anymore since influencers like Karen Ip also started endorsing these products. We feel more inclined to buy these previously ‘sacred goods’ as we feel represented as if we are finally included in the market for these products.
Creators and Influencers are aware of this fast-rising market and already reacted to the imminent threat new competition could bring by engaging in creating and/or expanding their brand. Many internet beauty gurus have launched their own makeup lines, entering the beauty market as no longer advertisers and ambassadors but competitors.
If you aspire to become rich and successful, I highly suggest preparing to become Internet famous.