According to Bazaarvoice, Inc.’s latest survey of 9,000 consumers in the US, UK, Canada, Germany, France and Australia, so-called ‘everyday’ social media influencers are now the more popular accounts, rather than those of celebrities or social media stars. Fifty-six percent of consumers responded that they’d rather follow the everyday influencer than larger accounts of social media stars, i.e., those who’ve gained internet fame due to high-quality social media content, viral or meme content or trendiness.
So who exactly is the everyday influencer? Though Bazaarvoice doesn’t identify the number of followers they have, an everyday influencer can be anyone from friends and family to peers and anyone sharing day-to-day content without an agenda to sell you on something. This group is trusted by 37 percent of consumers, Bazaarvoice found. Of these accounts, subject matter experts—those who post primarily or exclusively on a specific subject such as parenting, beauty, fashion, DIY or food—are trusted to share authentic and genuine content by 42 percent of consumers. Consequently, brands frequently target this cohort for sponsorships and to promote products or services in line with the influencer’s specialty.
Despite the everyday influencer’s rise in popularity and trustworthiness, celebrity influencers—those who’ve gained fame apart from social media—continue to capture huge followings, with 31 percent of consumers mostly following celebrity influencers, according to the data.
Nevertheless, consumer trust in such influencers has decreased significantly in recent years, especially since the rise of TikTok and the focus on authenticity. In the UK, for example, only 16 percent of consumers trust influencers’ sponsored posts on TikTik and Instagram. Additionally, 75 percent of consumers don’t care about the size of the influencer if their content is on point.
These days, it’s the transparency inherent in the content that reels consumers in. In hopes of promoting such transparency, some countries have even begun drafting legislation around sponsored posts. Despite such efforts, 42 percent of consumers see little difference in trustworthiness or authenticity, while 80 percent would even advocate for more rigid regulations governing disclosure of edits or filters used on published posts.
In Norway, for example, influencers must now declare whether the content contains edits or alterations. Moreover, in the US, as much as 24 percent of consumers support bans for creators who don’t comply with advertising laws. Another 20 percent support going so far as to demonetize accounts for such violations.
In following the trend of increased regulation for the purpose of promoting trust, the Federal Trade Commission has mandated the addition of an ‘#ad’ hashtag on all sponsored content. Unfortunately, such efforts might not be yielding the desired outcome given that Bazaarvoice’s research shows that it is unsponsored content that derives the most consumer trust, with 83 percent of respondents stating that the most trusted type of post is the one created without sponsorship or payment. Only 18 percent of US consumers trust sponsored social media content.
According to the survey, 48 percent of consumers find no value in influencers’ PR package posts. Forty-four percent would actually rather watch everyday influencers open PR packages, trailed by subject matter experts at 23 percent, celebrities at 10 percent and social media stars at eight percent.
Bazaarvoice also found that 37 percent of respondents are more likely to take product recommendations from the everyday influencer with as much as 86 percent taking into account authentic user-generated content (UGC) before making a decision to purchase a product they’ve never used. Sixty-eight percent of consumers seek out UGC on products that they have used before.
This phenomenon of consumers turning to relatable influencers as opposed to those with celebrity status has drastically shifted social commerce. Bazaarvoice’s chief executive officer Keith Nealon notes that brands now have the opportunity to access authentic “unofficial ambassadors,” and to create an array of content types, both refined and unrefined.
Brands seeking to target a wider audience on social media must incorporate small influencer campaigns into their marketing strategy. Luckily, because everyday influencers typically don’t seek large fees for posts, brands can integrate them easily and economically by sending free products in exchange for a post or a mention, for example. And given the exorbitant prices some celebrities and star influencers charge for a single post, brands now have a better chance at reaching high ROI with everyday influencers on their side.