Paying celebs means paying a high price for something that might not even reach your audience.
When Kim Kardashian West peddles a product, it certainly has the potential to be heard. With more than 82 million Instagram followers, she markets merchandise —hair-thickening vitamins, green tea, pregnancy supplements — to the most lucrative customer segment out there: social-savvy millennials. It's not just Kim. An excess of celebrities — LeBron James, Gwen Stefani, Kylie Jenner — are cashing in on endorsements, with A-listers charge up to an eye-watering $187,000 for a single social media mention. Still, consumers are wary of these superstar recommendations, and the bulk of female shoppers no longer trust celebrity ads.
So while Kim has the potential to be heard, does anyone really listen to her when it comes to buying their next product?
Authentic influencer marketing cuts through the glitz and the glamour of the social media celebrity and connects with customers on a more meaningful level. Carusele works with industry specialists who command clout like Hollywood superstars but don't come with the premium price tag.
Why Authentic Influencers Trump Celebrities
Celebrities and endorsements have long gone hand in hand. Who remembers Michael Jordan and Nike? Or Tiger Woods and Rolex? As Web 2.0 has boomed, so has influencer marketing, with the world's biggest social media stars now making big bucks from product plugs. However, there's a fundamental difference between niche-specific influencers and celebrities: “Social influencers don’t show up on TMZ,"says Ron Schott, Senior Communications Manager at Microsoft. "It’s a question of mass reach versus mass impact. Influencers carry weight on subjects. Celebs bring exposure."
Sure, celebrities can promise reach. But, industry experts, specialists, and thinkers charm customers, something that results in a steady stream of sales. Authentic influencers are seen as less aloof than celebrities, have regular lives and share the same interests as their audience. They're cheaper, too: "In general, celebrity endorsements are still a lot more expensive," says Advertising Week. "This is another clear reason for brands to be experimenting with more niche ambassadors."
Because authentic influencers have passion around a particular niche, their content typically shows product uses in a way that inspires purchase—think recipes, get the look and more. If people are inspired to use your product in this way, they move quickly down the purchase funnel.
The Problem With Celebrity Endorsements
Research reveals that celebrity endorsements carry less influence than marketers think. Most consumers trust celebrity endorsements far less than every other type of brand promotion: conventional advertising, digital advertising, and company-sponsored social media. These endorsements don't last very long, either: most celebrity-supported Facebook and Instagram posts are instant, lacking the longer-lasting power of influencer-driven evergreen content.
When it comes to marketing, bigger isn't always better. A study shows that influencers with between 1,000 and 1,999 Instagram followers engage with customers more effectively than those with more than 100,000 followers. In fact, engagement levels for sponsored posts plummet when an influencer's reach increases. These findings suggest brands should move away from celebrities and focus their marketing efforts on niche influencers instead.
Celebrity endorsements aren't going anywhere, but the rise of authentic influencers has led to a new genre of advertising: personal recommendations that customers trust. Carusele brings brands and content creators together so they can create genuine marketing messages that generate leads, increase visibility and turbocharge sales. This content not only works, but it costs far less than $187,000 per post.
Download our recent white paper to see how influencer marketing touches every step of the customer engagement journey and contact us when you’re ready to see how Carusele can use the right influencers to generate buzz for your brand.