Influencers vs Celebrities

Finnley Ottley, Staff Reporter

  In a world where social media controls people’s lives, it is hard to escape influencers and celebrities. It is even harder to escape being bombarded with ads and sponsored posts. Throughout recent years, marketing has changed from TV commercials to more personal advertisements from influencers and celebrities. When looking at social media it is hard to tell the difference between celebrities and influencers. It’s hard to know what makes them different or whether or not they are just the same thing.

    The exact dictionary definition of an influencer is a person or thing that affects another. When looking through a marketing lens, an influencer is a person with the ability to impact potential buyers of a product or service. Influencers do this by promoting or recommending items on social media. Virtually anyone can be an influencer. This ability comes from a person’s authority, knowledge or position. It is also important that they have a relationship with their audience. Another aspect that can help influencers gain an audience is a following in a distinct niche, with whom he or she actively engages. A niche is an activity, subject or profession that someone is talented at.

    Traditional celebrities on the other hand usually gain public recognition because of their professional talent. Celebrities have large fan bases and a large number of people know who they are. Take for example Ariana Grande, Jimmy Falon, and Zac Efron, they are all well known because of their talents. Social media influencers are different because they have gained fame by successfully branding themselves as experts on social media platforms. People can identify with influencers more. Influencers are branded for people to interact with and to relate with. Influencers seem more like everyday people than celebrities.

    Journalists, industry experts and professional advisors can all be influencers because of their professional opinions. Their reputation is earned because of their qualifications and abilities relating to a specific topic. Influencers tend to gain their following in a specific niche by creating content relating to it. They tend to have expertise in the niche or are highly interested in the subject. Their expertise in a certain niche is what allows them to have a strong connection with their audience. It is very hard for people to relate to celebrities because they feel so distant and unconnected with their audiences. Nowadays some celebrities can pull off being both an influencer and celebrity. One reason celebrities might have an upper hand in marketing is because of their large audiences. They can reach a lot more people in a quicker amount of time than influencers can. 

    Celebrities were essentially the first influencers. With the rise of the influencer, their importance in the marketing world is waning. Celebrities generally gain their following because people admire their talent and enjoy their music or movies. As the world of social media is changing so is the definition of what an influencer is. 

    Another difference between the two is the audiences they target. It is common for influencers to have a smaller audience. They also more commonly target niche audiences. For example, an influencer who specializes in creating miniature fairy terrariums. The problem with celebrities is they can’t as easily target a niche or specific audience. They also cost way more than influencers.

    As time goes on the line between an influencer and a celebrity just gets more and more blurred. As society and social media continue to evolve so does the way people look at celebrities and influencers. The commonality of social media makes getting a large following easier and easier. The most important thing is that people remember to treat the power of a large following with respect.