Happy New Year GenZ’ers! I hope you entered 2017 surrounded by friends or family in a suitably drunken stupor. My New Year consisted of watching the fireworks on the telly and then witnessing Robbie Williams meme the nation into January. Start as you mean to go on, eh?! If like me, you had a chilled one with a glass of champers; for the next few days after celebrations you might have suffered some serious FOMO browsing through your social media feeds. That’s the thing with social media- sometimes it can appear that people are a lot busier and are having a lot more fun than they actually are. Most of the feedback from my more sociable friends was that they had their standards drastically lowered for that dreaded kiss at midnight or woke up with questionable substances in their hair. That’s besides the point.
The only slightly sad thing about my lack of adventurous activity this new year was that the little black dress I had lined up in my wardrobe for the event sadly went to waste. The LBD which; funnily enough; I discovered through a fashion bloggers promotion via Instagram. Had it not been for my incessant scrolling; I wouldn’t have even known that it in all its short and sassy glory existed. But after seeing it in all its Valencia filtered prime; something clicked. I HAD to have it. But why?
The psychology of WHY Influencers DO Influence us is something which intrigued me long before the beginning of this project. It’s a well know fact that human beings are oddly dependent on others- sort of like sheep. We follow the flock. Sure, some of us try to stand out from the crowd; but the overwhelming majority of us latch onto the latest trend shoved at us by the big guys. When it comes to making a decision on what to buy; the same thing applies. According to Social Media Week, “approximately 50% of people will turn to blogs of people they’ve never met to help them make a purchase decision.” It’s not surprising that “marketers rated influencer marketing as their fastest-growing channel for acquiring customers online.”
But why are we so easily influenced by people online; especially by influencers such as bloggers and vloggers? After all; as I have said before; anyone can have a blog. Most of you reading this will probably know of someone trying to break into the blogosphere (it might even be you), or potentially know of someone who is making their name in the industry. It’s obvious as to why brands are turning to bloggers to promote their products- working with the right influencer means getting access to their followers; and if they choose the right one for the brand; those followers will be the brands target demographic meaning direct access.
Perhaps it’s because bloggers know what they are doing. Yes, this rather a generalised term; but it’s naive to make a career out of something which you don’t know anything about. Research by Sophie Bianchi found that audiences were “much more likely to purchase a product recommended by a vlogger than a non-recommended product”, because vloggers were reputable for having knowledge on the product which they were promoting. Celebrities may have had the lifestyle (and the dollar), but it was the vloggers who have the know how; meaning that the interaction felt much more authentic.
It’s not so much a ‘buy this and you’ll look like Cara Delevigne’ type vibe but more that ‘this works- and she looks great’. What with the fact that bloggers and vloggers now have to state when they are being paid to promote a product (usually using the hashtag #ad or #spon); we now have a shared platform with independent marketers; and we trust their opinions. Even so, even when we see a paid promotion by a blogger, we have a small sense of security in the fact that they have chosen to represent the brand because its something they (hopefully) believe in. Although it’s understandable to not want to disclose everything about yourself online, bloggers have a responsibility to be authentic and genuine with their followers.
Or perhaps, the reason why we listen to bloggers is simply because they are likeable. Blogging itself is a form of escapism. In the digital world we now live in, it’s hard sometimes to decipher through the noise of companies telling us what we should and shouldn’t buy, or even like. Sometimes coming across a feed on social media who looks like they have it all together; and better yet are just like you; is all we really need. Or it might just be that it features a lot of marble flat lays and candid photos shot in Chelsea. Will we ever really know?
As always, use the #GenerationZ to let me know what you think!