Over the last few years, there has been a significant rise in social media influencers. Not only are they famous in their own right, but are also being integrated into mainstream media. Nowadays, it’s not just younger audiences who are watching YouTube personalities, all age groups are going direct to the platform to get their daily dose of YouTube influencers to get them through the day.
Because of this high influx of people tuning into the platform each day, it’s not surprising that brands suddenly want a piece of the influencer pie! It soon became apparent that if you have an influencer or YouTube star in your social media campaign (or even mainstream blockbuster), you’re guaranteed a brilliant response. So what did companies do? They started working with influencers, rather than against them.
The Popularisation of Social Media Influencers
Social media is constantly evolving and changing, with a non-relenting stream of new apps and platforms popping up left, right and centre. Because of this, the growth of social media influencers has doubled since each platform was first launched, with people sharing their personalities and lives on platforms such as Instagram, Vine, Twitter, and Facebook.
As YouTube grew and grew, the opportunities rose as well. Soon enough, YouTube stars were being paid per video and started receiving royalties due to the number of views they were getting per upload. It became apparent that you could earn money doing what you loved, which was a huge motivator for many to start their own channels. Because of these changes to the way that influencers earn money and grow their audiences on the platform came a new revolution of social media superstars.
Brand deals started off as a brilliant way for YouTubers and social media influencers to earn a bit of extra money that they don’t get from royalties. Working with influencers is also one way for a brand to get their product or service out into the world. Through the use of this new and exciting way of marketing, brands have started to clock on that the best way to reach a younger audience is through teaming up with someone they know their audiences love to watch.
A great example of influencers working with big brands is well known Beauty Guru, James Charles and his huge collaboration with beauty brand giant, CoverGirl. After the YouTube sensation collated an amazing following online, he was signed to be the first ever male ‘CoverBoy’. This amazing new makeup revelation came with a large amount of praise and, sadly, hate. Regardless, this was an amazing breakthrough in makeup history and helped to catapult James’s career further than ever before.
Viral Trends on Social Media
You don’t have to be a social media expert to know what a viral trend is. We now measure the success of each post on whether it’s become ‘viral’, which means that everyone you know has seen the trend on their feed. It became popular for people to create viral videos in order for them to rise to social media fame. This went hand-in-hand with the rise of the video posting app, Vine, which was released in early 2013.
The likes of Ben Phillips (a user who posted videos of him pranking his brother) and Cian Twomey (a user who posted videos of him pretending to be his girlfriend) became well-known on the platform and even went on to create different products such as books and merchandise. Through the rise of these stars, YouTube and other influencers became more and more apparent in the media world.
Influencers on TV
Many YouTube stars have appeared on your television box. From the local news to a trending series, they’ve been in them all. Influencers tend to pop up on the news quite often, especially to discuss how they rose to fame and the idea behind their brand. It isn’t surprising that many people are confused as to what influencers bring to the media table, which can often spark heated debates on social platforms (but what doesn’t, nowadays?).
Most appear as cameos on TV shows, such as YouTube superstar, Zoella, who starred in a celebrity series of ‘The Great British Bake Off’, her brother Joe Sugg on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ and British YouTube comedy duo, Jack Howard and Dean Dobbs on ‘Virtually Famous’. However, many are starting to branch out into TV and star in their own TV shows, such as Miranda Sings (Colleen Ballinger) and her Netflix series ‘Haters Back Off’ and Joe Sugg and Caspar Lee’s show ‘Joe and Caspar Hit the Road’, which featured on the BBC. These are only just a few examples! YouTube stars and social media influencers continue to astound the media by popping up in places that people don’t traditionally expect.
Influencers in Blockbusters
Since YouTubers and social media influencers have become a pinnacle addition to traditional media, they’ve even started appearing in huge movies. Ever watched Pitch Perfect 2? The male lead singer in the competitor acapella group, Das Sound Machine, is well-known YouTube personality, Flula Blorg! Due to being famous for his musical prowess, it’s no surprise that he was cast in the sequel of a popular musical comedy blockbuster.
Many influencers have been featured in films since the dawn of the platform because of the influential pull that they have over their audience which would encourage different age groups to go and see that movie. It’s no secret that social media stars have been used for their audience, with social media marketing being an obvious indicator and them being placed in movies is no different to that.
What Does It All Mean?
Because social media is an integral part of our everyday lives, the influence of these new personalities on our feeds is to be expected in this new digital age. Whether it be through Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter or literally any platform, it’s inescapable.
Even celebrities have gotten stuck in with the social media revolution by starting their own YouTube channels and letting us into their everyday lives by posting regularly. The likes of Will Smith and Kylie Jenner have started their own YouTube journeys, which could help to normalise the use of the platform. Social media influencers have successfully finessed their way into the hearts of many across the world… could they be the new age of entertainment?