Chewbacca Mom vs. Hollywood

According to a recent Twitter study done by AdWeek, Twitter users trust “influencers” nearly as much as their personal friends. “Around 40 percent of respondents [to the Twitter Study] said they’ve purchased an item online after seeing it used by an influencer on Instagram, Twitter, Vine or YouTube.” –AdWeek
So what is an influencer? It’s someone who is a self-built star from using social channels and who is considered an expert by and carries weight with those who follow their channels. In contrast, a celebrity is someone who has been built up through traditional media and while they may influence people, they are not necessarily considered subject matter experts. Social media analytics company Simply Measured offered this description, “It’s a question of mass reach versus mass impact. Influencers carry weight in subjects. Celebs bring exposure.” (Read more here)
Because of their impact, more and more brands are choosing to work with influencers versus securing celebrity endorsements.
This is such a fascinating subject to me. Probably because I’m more likely to buy something recommended by someone I follow on social media versus an advertisement. I’m not talking about my personal friends, although they do hold credibility and I’m also more likely to try a service or product if they have had a good experience. No, I’m talking about people who have built up their credibility in a subject in which I’m interested. Now more than ever I’m watching what these influencers are doing before I consider buying something. Because of this, I would no longer consider myself a brand loyalist because I tend to put more weight on what others are talking about online and reviews I see on Amazon before I make a purchase.
Classic example: I started following @mammasgonecity (Jessica Shyba) on Instagram when she became famous for her #TheoandBeau series (now #TheoandEvvie). If you haven’t checked it out, it’s a must: She endorses a bunch of different products via Instagram and I have caught myself multiple times buying the product just because she uses it. Why? She’s a great writer and I honestly have come to admire her. She is a mom of four and as a new mom myself I eat up all her cute content and helpful tips. I love her style/fashion, and come on, dogs and babies napping together are super cute. For me, she has become a credible source.
Another example is Candace Payne, aka Chewbacca Mom. Her video donning a talking Chewbacca mask and laughing hysterically has been named the “viral video we didn’t know we needed,” and became the most watched video ever on Facebook Live. While it wasn’t intentional, she instantly became an influencer on behalf of Kohl’s. They sold out of their Chewbacca masks across the country within the week of Payne’s live video streamed from the store parking lot in Dallas where she made her purchase. Fortune described the phenomena writing, “Payne represents the core of Kohl’s target audience: suburban mothers of young children looking for bargains, making her more relatable to fellow customers than Hollywood actresses.” The amount of awareness Kohl’s earned based on her video is a true illustration of how an influencer can be successful for a brand.
What does this all mean for you and your brand? Take a look at those following you on social media and evaluate who might be your brand advocates and influencers. From there you can look at opportunities to work directly with them to credibly get your product or service in front of their audience.
Want to learn more about social media marketing best practices for your business, and where to find your industry influencers?  Contact us at Odney today to get the conversation started.
About the author: Meghann is a digital media strategist at Odney who is addicted to Instagram and Amazon Prime. She enjoys spending time with her husband, daughter and two dogs.

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