How Influential are Celebrity Influencers?


     From the moment we sign on to social media sites to the moment we log off, there are thousands of advertisements targeted at us in all forms. Promoting these ads, are the faces of our favorite online influencers, slowly and subtly encouraging us to partake in whatever it is they are doing. Whether we realize it or not, we have all at some point in our lives fallen prey to the influence of these influencers.

     In today’s society, according to the Washington Post, teens spend an average of 9 hours each day on their cell phone browsing through social media sites and interacting with celebrity influencers from all around the world. With almost a third of each day being dedicated to these sites, teens are bound to be influenced by the people they see. A celebrity influencer is defined as “any person who has gained fame on social media platforms and are usually featured promoting products for various brands.” Who are these people we watch ritually on our phones and how do they as influencers “influence” our lives?

     According to an article published by the Influencer Orchestration Network(ION): “Gaining inspiration, learning about new trends and being exposed to interesting, fun content are among the reasons why young consumers follow influencers.” In today’s society, people have become more impressionable and as a result, tend to base their personalities and daily actions on what is done by the people on the other end of the screen. These influencers are idolized and therefore, people try to implement the favorable traits they observe in their everyday life.  

     What makes an influencer so influential in today’s society is their ability to connect with their audience. A local Norwin High School survey showed that 90% of teens polled, tend to follow influencers who they see as being confident in what they do. Popular influencers like Kylie Jenner, Mr. Beast, and Donald Trump are the top three influential people from the poll pool. This also has to do with the psychological concept of credibility. According to an article published by the Emerald Insight: “The credibility of a peer endorser is constructed from trustworthiness, expertise, similarity and attractiveness dimensions that positively affect consumers’ attitude toward an advertisement and a brand.” The chosen influences fall into one or more of those 4 categories.

     With new social media platforms popping up ever so often, there is at least one platform that everyone feels comfortable on as it has influencers that promote their interests. To build connections with an audience, an influencer must dedicate their time and energy to attracting and growing their fanbase. They must show a level of awareness, genuineness and involvement to gain the trust and attention of the people watching. After they have found their audience and establish a stable relationship, it is much easier to be influential to them.

     From the local poll, 60% of teens said that they were at some point or another influenced by celebrity influencers. Each influencer targets specific platforms and communities as a way to find a focus audience and create that basis where the people watching feel a sense of personal connection. This then allows brands like Kylie cosmetics or MAGA merch to fully thrive off these relationships. 

     To put this in perspective, Kylie Jenner is widely known as the younger sister of Kim Kardashian, which was the start of her fame. She then branched out on her own with the help of her mother to partner with Seed Beauty for her make up line in 2014. She turned to her followers on Instagram where she was already an ‘Instagram Model’ to promote her product and in 2019 was announced to be their first ‘self made billionaire’. This would not have been possible if she didn’t have a previous fanbase to turn to for the support of her product. From there, she launched several other lines and has partnered with various companies who turn to her for endorsements because of how influential she can be. 

     Another thing that might go unnoticed by individuals is how easily influenced they are to follow fashion trends. As we evolve and become more reliant on the internet, we no longer depend on magazines and catalogs to find what’s new in fashion. Rather, we turn to the internet to see what’s trending or what our favorite influencers are sporting. 

     According to an article published by Fashion Gone Rogue: “Studies also show that more than 70% of people are likely to buy a certain clothing item if it has been recommended by someone they follow on social media.” Brands now offer modeling deals to ‘Instagram models’ in hopes that when they post about the brand, their followers will feel more inclined to buy it than if it was posted in a magazine. As it relates to teens, Tik Tok has become one of the most used apps for the age group and many influencers start “trends” that they follow. For example, over the past 3 years mom jeans has made a reappearance into the fashion world when powerful influencers like Gigi Hadid and Kendal Jenner were spotted in public wearing them. 

     Another significant factor in how influential influencers can be is what they use their platform to promote. From the poll, 100% of people said that their favorite influencer uses their platform for the greater good and of that percentage, 70% said that they see the influencer(s) as a role model. These influencers are or have in the past used their platform to address and promote social issues like LGBTQ+ rights, Black Lives Matter movement, mental health awareness along with gun regulation concerns and other social and political issues. “As a celebrity supporting popular foundations, organizations, and issues, these things will automatically gain more support and funds,” said junior Emily Hinchberger.

     On the flip side, celebrity influencers can have a negative impact on their platforms and the people who support them. For example: James Charles who was very popular in the beauty industry has recently been under they eye of the public after it was reveal that he was a sexual predator, he also worked with and endorsed brands that support child labor and other inhumane treatments. These things not only negatively impact him as an influencer but it also affects the people who support him and the businesses he worked with.  “I think the vast majority of influencers have negatively impacted the world as a whole,” said junior Max Christopher. “Not only have people like David Dobrik and James Charles taken advantage of their young impressionable audiences.  Others have set horribly unrealistic body standards for young kids.”

     All in all, social media platforms will continue to grow and so will the number of influencers. It’s all up to the individual to decide how much they choose to be influenced by these people on the other side of the screen.

     “I try to look up to the good they do in society and follow in those paths. Maybe I do not want to become a famous singer or actor, but I do want to do good and leave a good impression on the world,” said junior Emily Hinchberger.