Social media is interesting, particularly the way it is used today. We use social media to read about our peers, find potential partners, as well as see advertisements about topics. Social media influencers are a relatively new form of advertising, as well as a profession, which can have a large sway in the opinion about a topic.
Social media influencers did not come out of the blue, there was a progress in technology and marketing which led to the concept we know today. Let us take a look at the history of social media and influencers, to better understand the topic.
Advertising Before the Internet
Influencers are not a novel creation, but rather something which has been present for centuries. Even in the 18th century, there were deals between manufacturers and royalty, with special tea sets being made for Queen Charlotte. The potter would use that to his advantage, donning the name of Queen’s potter.
The 1920s saw a huge change in women’s clothing through the influence of Coco Chanel, who showed the world that pants suits worked on women. Such types of advertisement, or rather, public sway of opinion has been seen many times since then and now. Another notable example is Michael Jordan teaming up with Nike to create the famous Air Jordans, which brought both parties a lot of money and recognition.
Blogging and Mom Influencers
Prior to social media, the internet had something that we still use to this day, blogs. Mom bloggers started booming after 2002 and one of the first mom bloggers, Melinda Roberts, was one of the first major influencers. Mom blogs became popular in the 2000s and are still popular.
Companies started seeing that they could use that to their advantage and advertise certain products that would appear to the target audience, current and future moms. Mom influencers were the influencers prior to social media platforms, which came in the late 2000s.
The Birth of Influencers
Influencers were created with social media platforms. The major social media platforms that helped create influencers are YouTube, but more importantly Instagram and Twitch. Launched in 2010 and 2011, both Instagram and Twitch allowed users to reach a wide audience with photos and streaming.
Instagram was quick to pair companies and individuals, allowing for paid advertising of products through individuals. Twitch streamers frequently advertise products, which are paid advertisements, of course. This paved the way for today’s influencers, which are more numerous and have more reach.
Today’s Influencers – The Good and The Bad
Some influencers get stuck in contract hell, having to show a product in almost every single post they make, which puts up red flags in the eyes of their viewers. Some influencers are sincere with product advertisements, stating their opinion rather than a PR piece which people tend to recognize after a while.
Today’s influencers are on every single platform, whether Facebook, YouTube, Twitch, Instagram or Twitter. They have a wide reach and are one of the best tools for advertising products. Some even consider them the future of advertising.
Influencers were around prior to the internet’s creation, they are people who have influence in the minds of the general population. In today’s world, they are most frequently found on social media platforms, but you can also find them on blogs and even outside, in the material world. It is a profession with a bright future.