Looking for real influence? Forget celebrity influencers, focus on real people

Bulldog Reporter


Sep 10, 2021 | Analysis, Public Relations


At Engagement Labs, we have long believed in the power of everyday influencers to drive business results. And now there is new, independent scientific evidence that supports our view.

For example, in a piece entitled, Influencer marketing: beyond the hype, we said that while businesses are rushing to engage with celebrity and near-celebrity “influencers” with their huge followings on social media, “marketers have a much more sustainable opportunity to engage everyday influencers whose value comes from personal relationships with their closest friends and families. Because of the fascination with paid influencers, we believe marketers overlook a massive—and proven—opportunity to cultivate strategies that would put the power of these everyday influencers to work on their behalf.”

Want to promote your new product or trigger a shift in thinking? Rethink your influence strategy.

Newly published research by Damon Centola, a Professor of Communication, Sociology, and Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania who studies social networks and behavioral change, finds that as prominent and revered as social influencers seem to be—”think Kim Kardashian promoting a new product on Instagram”—in reality, they are unlikely to change a person’s behavior by example, and might actually be detrimental to the cause.

Why? “An influencer is great at spreading information that already resonates with her followers,” says Centola. “But when she shares information that contradicts their worldview, it’s perceived as a breach of trust . . . Social influencers often do more harm than good.”


Read the full Bulldog Reporter article, here.

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