Marketing & Entertainment: when Influencers go beyond the web

You turn on BBC One and see the usual glamorous guests on The Graham Norton Show couch. You assume they all must be something in Hollywood or the music industry, however not all of them have a prolific IMDb profile. So how does the crowd know them? Why are they so popular? Finally, a Google search gives you the answer.

They are an Influencer.

The entertainment industry is diversifying. Where once only Hollywood celebrities and artists would fit under this umbrella, social media and web-based influencers (bloggers, subject matter experts, etc.) are making their way to the fore.

And it’s happening because of the cult following these now-recognised names have developed. What’s astonishing is that they’ve done it without PR agents, but instead by simply creating share-worthy and expert content that has attracted a sea of followers. Generation Z and Y see them as trendsetters.

The Entertainment Industry Acknowledges Influencers

The entertainment industry has started to bank on the authority of famous YouTubers, Instagrammers and influential people on other social media platforms. TV programes, for instance, are relying on Influencers to combat declining viewership, which is why social media Influencers are being cast in reality shows, morning programming, movies, sitcoms, etc.

For instance, the UK’s YouTube sensation Zoella (Zoe Sugg), has appeared on the Great Comic Relief Bake Off and her boyfriend Alfie Deyes has appeared on an episode of This Morning.

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Deyes has also been cast in Release of Hounds, a British horror-themed reality series that airs on ITV2. He has been given the same importance as a celebrity, as the trailer for the celebrity edition of the show – Release The Hounds: Famous and Freaked – shows Deyes along with another British social media superstars being showered with a paintball gun drone and fake explosions as they make their way through an obstacle course.

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It’s a similar story over in the US. Colleen Ballinger (known as Miranda Sings to her legions of online fans) was featured on the cover of Variety magazine to talk about the scripted Netflix series she’s starring in. Issa Rae is another example of a digital star crossover in the entertainment industry. She was cast in HBO’s series Insecure. Then there’s Disney raking in social media influencers for their content on a frequent basis. It looks like there’s no stopping the influx of Influencers in the entertainment industry any time soon.

All that begs the question, why is the entertainment industry using Influencers instead of celebrities and other A-listers?

It’s all down to authenticity. Influencers are known for their original content. Producers often allow them to integrate their own creativity inside programming and shoots, which makes it all the more interesting for viewers, while the channel/movie/TV series gets a fresh dose of content.

Those in the entertainment industry are listening to the millennial generation – and engaging individuals proven to be popular with this demographic. They’re benefitting from the existing audience that the Influencer has already built up on their own, and are likely to tune in to a programme their YouTube friend and star is appearing in.

Influencers have also become relevant to the entertainment industry because of what they bring to the table in terms of marketing and production. Netflix, for instance, is trying to increase earned media by hosting events for social media Influencers and journalists. The streaming service is also collaborating with Influencers on advertising and original programming. They know about the sub-reddits related to fan theories, Comic-Con engagement, etc. to maintain an awareness of their audience.

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Netflix made a simple ask: tag the best content you own with #Grammaster3 hashtag, and the winners were to be granted access to their favorite shows’ productions. Influencers sharing content and photos on social media provide a far more authentic form of promotion. Further, it makes the delegates feel valued and their audiences feel like they are getting a behind-the-scenes look. Campaigns of this nature produce astonishing results compared to conventional marketing campaigns.

Conclusion

Influencers are turning out to be an asset for the entertainment industry as producers work to get their content delivered to a wider audience. It seems an obvious choice for industry expects to collaborate with people who have already proven their entertainment value on social media channels such as YouTube. Expect more Influencers to appear on television programming as channels attempt to connect with younger audiences in a personal and authentic manner.

This post is also available in: Italian

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