Celebrities v. Influencers: Is There Really a Difference?

Nov 29, 2016
Tina Courtney
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Celebrity versus influencerSocial media has altered marketing practices in irrevocable ways. These digital platforms demand that brands maintain daily conversations with consumers by informing them of their offerings, while continually attempting to engage folks in an interesting way through inspiration and interaction. Moreover, companies need to simultaneously pull more prospects into their network, thereby expanding their reach into other viable audiences.

Influencer marketing, a booming and compelling practice, is one solution to the conundrum that most brands face in the realm of social media. By partnering with social celebrities, businesses can effectively leverage the immense reach of these folks to get a campaign message to new corners of the web and stand out among the oppressive digital discord.

This means that a bigger social platform is always better, and celebrities are an inevitable homerun, right?

Not exactly.

According to studies from MuseFind, consumers are more likely to trust the word of an influencer over a celebrity; 92% more likely, to be exact.

What is the difference between a celebrity and an influencer? Let’s dig deeper so your campaigns can benefit.

Fame Differentiations  

When people think of celebrities, they often conjure thoughts of movie stars, professional athletes, musicians, and similar well-known personalities. Even the Oxford Dictionary defines a celebrity as A famous person, especially in entertainment or sport,” or “The state of being well known.”

The second definition is where lines begin to blur.

Many social media personalities on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms have millions of devoted followers. These luminaries inhabit nearly every niche; comedy, technology, beauty, photography, etc. And since these authorities are very well known in their niche, in some ways they do indeed meet the criteria of “celebrity.”

This leaves a bit of paradox. If consumers trust celebrities more than influencers, and influencers are celebrities, then how could a brand possibly identify the most adequate and effective individuals for a marketing campaign?

The Definitive Factor

A brand partnering with celebrities/influencers can be a powerful alliance; granted that the right union is formed. But there is one secret ingredient that cannot be faked, injected, or fabricated; that’s authenticity. This is the very thing that appeals to the majority of consumers and makes influencers more trustworthy than their more-traditional celebrity counterparts.

In order for an influencer campaign to achieve the resonance and results that a company aims to achieve, the social endorsers must genuinely appreciate a brand’s offering and the creative direction of the campaign. Additionally, these folks shouldn’t be solely focused on the paycheck they will receive, but rather the opportunity to tell their audience about something legitimately exciting.

On the corporate end of things, organizations need to carefully select advocates, not based on personal feelings or opinions, but based on the potential sponsor’s target audience and how that matches the brand’s, if the authority has respectable engagement scores, and if they are honestly excited to work with the brand.

Building influencer relationships based on anything less will impact a marketing campaign in a negative way and will shine a light on the influencer or celebrity as inauthentic, and therefore, non-credible.

If you aren’t sure where to find the best influencers for your brand, there are a variety of platforms that can help you connect with social superstars who fit the bill.

As influencer marketing continues to grow and evolve, the line between celebrity and influencer will gradually become muddier, until it ultimately vanishes. And with the marketing modality poised to become a mainstream commodity with Google’s entry into the realm of influencer marketing, it will soon be a line item on nearly every company’s marketing budget.

The key to successfully leveraging the tactic lies in authentic, mutually beneficial relationships. Don’t seek out celebrity influencers like Kim Kardashian because of her follower count; seek her out because she reaches your target audience and likes your brand. If you can unite with influencers who meet that criteria, you can craft a campaign capable of exceeding all expectations.

Ready to see what influencer marketing can do for you? Reach out to us and we can help you assemble an influencer dream team that will elevate your company to new heights.


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