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Don't Scoff at Influencers. They're Taking Over the World.

  • Author:Linki
  • Source:http://www.kekenet.com/read/20
  • Release on:2019-09-10
Don't Scoff at Influencers. They're Taking Over the World.

On the surface, this can be a terrifying proposition. One day at VidCon, I hung out with a crew of teenage Instagram stars, who seemed to spend most of their time filming "collabs" with other creators and complimenting one another on their "drip," influencer-speak for clothes and accessories. (In their case, head-to-toe Gucci and Balenciaga outfits with diamond necklaces and designer sneakers.) Another day, I witnessed an awkward dance battle between two budding TikTok influencers, neither of whom could have been older than 10. (Adults who are just catching up: TikTok is a short-form video app owned by the Chinese internet company Bytedance.)

But if you can look past the silliness and status-seeking, many people at VidCon are hard at work. Being an influencer can be an exhausting, burnout-inducing job, and the people who are good at it have typically spent years working their way up the ladder. Many social media influencers are essentially one-person start-ups, and the best ones can spot trends, experiment relentlessly with new formats and platforms, build an authentic connection with an audience, pay close attention to their channel analytics, and figure out how to distinguish themselves in a crowded media environment — all while churning out a constant stream of new content.

Not all influencers are brilliant polymaths, of course. Some of them have succeeded by virtue of being conventionally attractive, or good at video games, or in possession of some other surface-level attribute. Others have made their names with dubious stunts and extreme political commentary.

But as social media expands its cultural dominance, the people who can steer the online conversation will have an upper hand in whatever niche they occupy — whether that's media, politics, business or some other field.

In the business world, influencer culture is already an established force. A generation of direct-to-consumer brands that were built using the tools and tactics of social media has skyrocketed to success — like Glossier, the influencer-beloved beauty company that recently raised $100 million at a valuation of more than $1 billion, or Away, the luggage start-up whose ubiquitous Instagram ads helped it reach a valuation of $1.4 billion. Many social media stars strike endorsement deals with major brands, in addition to earning money through advertising and merchandise sales. And even executives in sleepy, old-line industries now hire "personal branding consultants" to help increase their online followings.

"In the early days, it felt like this was a sub-niche of youth culture," Beau Bryant, the general manager of talent at Fullscreen, a management agency for digital creators, told me at VidCon. He gestured around at a room filled with influencers sitting on velvet couches. Some were taking selfies and editing their Instagram stories. Others were holding business meetings about partnerships and sponsored content deals.

"Now, it just feels like this is what youth culture is," Mr. Bryant said.

In other words, influencers are the future. Dismiss them at your peril.