There’s a major shift in advertising happening that we need to talk about: Influencer marketing is changing the perception and power of women faster than any other marketing avenue or channel ever has.
I emphasize women here because they’re the powerhouses dominating influencer marketing right now. Of the tens of thousands of influencers I work with on a regular basis, an overwhelming 78 percent of them are women. These women are creative and entrepreneurial, hardworking and professional. They’re modern social media sirens, luring their own opportunities and powering the $10 billion influencer marketing economy. And ultimately, they’re changing the products brands offer and how they advertise them.
They’re not waiting on anyone
No longer is a rising star reliant on a gatekeeper like a casting director or producer to become a celebrity. With a phone in your pocket, you could be the next big thing without anyone’s permission. And as the gatekeepers of their own public presence, women influencers are at the forefront of a seismic and long-overdue disruption in the marketing world. They’re beating their own paths to success, amassing followings and independently proving their appeal without the permission of traditional arbiters of taste or industry. In fact, influential women are becoming those arbiters in many cases—the models, creatives and tastemakers—and as a result, are better able to dictate the terms of how they are viewed and perceived. After all, they’re the ones creating the content.
They’re making advertising more inclusive
Influential women are also becoming the faces of advertising. They’re real people, real customers, and their brand partnerships are pushing companies to become more authentic and inclusive in the look and type of people they choose to represent their products. It is paying off for brands, who are reaching new, more diverse communities by embracing influencers as effective brand ambassadors.
Customers are responding in droves to seeing real women in advertising. For example, size inclusivity is becoming more profitable than ever with the advent of the influencer. Universal Standard was one of the first to break the mold by offering sizes 00–40, and in the past year, we’ve started seeing other major retailers expand products and sizes. Anthropologie, J.Crew and Loft have all launched plus-size lines, while other brands like ThirdLove start from the seemingly newfound premise that women of all shapes and sizes deserve to find the right fit.
The lesson here is clear: Authenticity pays off in more ways than one in influencer marketing.
They’re building and monetizing their own brands
Social media gave entrepreneurial women everywhere a way to become the next Martha Stewart. Before the explosion of influencer marketing, it was nearly impossible to monetize word-of-mouth recommendations. People were sharing without getting paid for their tips and recommendations on the best products for parenting, home design, cooking, parenting, etc., which were passed from friend to friend. Now influencers are building and monetizing their own personal brands. They have a captive audience, high-quality content and, most importantly, unprecedented access to partnerships with world-class brands.
For many of them, online influence is also providing a launchpad for other business ventures. When one 20-year-old influencer started building her brand, she had about 30,000 followers. Now, less than two years later, this influencer powerhouse has grown her audience to more than 168,000 and has used her platform to launch a business aimed at empowering other young women. Just one example of the thousands of women who are seeing the potential in their own brand. As their influence grows, so will their hold on the marketing and advertising industry.
Influencer marketing is democratizing the marketing world, giving ordinary women new opportunities to become powerhouse brands all on their own terms. These women and their communities are seizing those chances and luring brands and advertising right along with them.