With this in mind, there’s little surprise that new-age influencers who have become popular during the pandemic have been thought leaders in their communities, from Nairobi-based comedian Elsa Majimbo‘s hot takes on avoiding friends to Ziwe Fumudoh’s YouTube series Baited. This, says Mae Karwowski, CEO and founder of influencer marketing company Obviously, reflects their projected future of influencer culture and marketing.
“Influencer marketing is just evolving and becoming more evasive. The stereotype of the classic influencer is morphing very quickly,” she says, referencing the fact that prior to this, influencer culture encompassed lifestyle content and alluded to wealth. “I don’t think people fully understand how quickly influencer marketing is growing during this time.” While it’s clear that the backlash created by celebrities and mega-influencers during the pandemic hasn’t slowed down the growth of influencer marketing, Karwowski says there has been a shift in what brands are looking for.
Ninety percent of the client work at Obviously is with micro-influencers where, Karwowski says, brands have seen added value when many of us are online more than ever. “We’re working primarily with people with 30,000 followers, but a very engaged audience,” she says. “You have influencers across every vertical.” This reflects a trend of the general public turning to hyper-specialized influencers in their areas of interest or to smaller, more relatable accounts of people in their communities.
Social influencers have been around since before social media — cue the British monarchy and Princess Diana — so it’s unlikely that celebrity and influencer culture will completely evaporate. Consider the rise of TikTok stars and our increasing use of social media, with July 2020 seeing a rise of 10.5%, compared with July 2019, according to a GlobalWebIndex survey. There’s also the fact that not all influence is inherently bad, as Elliot Page publicly came out as transgender, and there are moments of celebrity culture that can be unifying.
The shifting nature and role of an influencer, however, is a reflection of the current class war, as some experts predict the global pandemic will lead to a rise in populism. As we work to address the disparities in society, aspirational influencers will become less and less relevant. While this won’t mean the end to influencer culture altogether, it could mean the end of celebrity and influencer culture as we know it.
Envisioning a fairer “new normal” post-pandemic world relies on our ability to take the extreme wealth of celebrities off a pedestal and instead support smaller accounts, local businesses, and BIPOC creatives. The good news is there’s an abundance of intelligent, talented, and socially engaged micro-and macro-influencers who are more than qualified and deserve our admiration.
Source by www.teenvogue.com