The digital age: an ever-evolving fast-paced environment. One that can at times sounds nothing but complex to use for marketing purposes. Between social media advertising and using celebrity endorsements & influencer marketing to build a brand’s reputation and drive sales, the options keep growing. With today’s size and reach of social platforms, people can quickly turn into superstars with dedicated and engaged fan bases. And because of this reality, our definitions of celebrity are changing. But in the salon and spa industry, who comes out on top: celebrities or salon influencers?
What Does An Endorsement Mean In Today’s Digital World?
Just a week ago, I was mentioning how the main social media concern these days was finding new strategies to boost engagement. Throughout the last year, many brands turned to influencers – it seemed like the thing to do. Looking back, 2016 might have been the year influencer marketing went mainstream.
Why? Because the strategy works: it gives brands credibility and a human face. In fact, a recent Twitter research done by AdWeek found that “around 40 percent of respondents [had] purchased an item online after seeing it used by an influencer on Instagram, Twitter, Vine or YouTube.”
But there’s a but…
The Blurred Line Between Salon Influencers And Celebrity Endorsements
If you’ve read a bit about influencers before this, you’re probably aware of the online debate regarding their status. Who’s an influencer; who’s a celebrity? How do they differ?
At the moment, the consensus seems to set them apart by the way these people built their following. While one creates content specifically for online and social channels, the other gains its following through traditional channels (tv, radio, film, etc.). Celebrity followers want to know where their idols shop, how they vacation, what they eat and which products they use. Influencers, however, see their popularity grow as a result of having an audience with similar beliefs and mindsets.
It’s critical to understand both concepts because from a marketing point of view, as choosing one over the other can result in massive differences.
In A Nutshell
- are self-built, credible and relatable
- formulate and propose an authentic message from start to end
- are not an ad
- are specialists who run a dialogue within a community
- drive sales
- are made famous through more traditional channels
- are primarily valued for the exposure they can provide
- don’t necessarily run their own social media accounts
- often provide less of a profound relationship than influencers
Popular Doesn’t Always Mean Influential
Jennifer Aniston for Aveeno, Julia Robers for Lancome, Julianna Moore for Revlon… the list goes on and on. Celebrity endorsements are nothing new – and personally, having had a career in an audio post-production advertising studio, I can assure you endorsements were still regular practice two years ago.
Now, with salon influencers, rather than looking (and paying crazy money) for a celebrity to endorse you, you could very easily find an online expert in hair coloring to speak about how amazing you and your products are.
This relatively new marketing technique has proven to foster genuine relationships with consumers – as these online specialists are far more relatable than traditional celebrities. And for some of you with a millennial target audience, a recent study has discovered “that 70% of consumers aged 18 to 34 preferred ‘peer’ endorsements over recommendations from traditional celebrities.”
Conclusion: Choosing Your Salon or Spa’s Endorsement Strategy
Before launching your next campaign, take a breather. Define your goals: do you want additional publicity? Are you looking to drive sales, long-term loyalty or recommendations? A celebrity selfie in your salon might give you a massive boost in reach, but if you want people to book with you or buy your products, you’re better of with influencers.
It is essential you remember that a salon influencer post is not an ad. The reasoning behind working with these self-built specialists is to be perceived as relevant and meaningful to that person’s audience. You can’t restrict their creative freedom and expect the engagement they receive to be as good as it would normally be. I guess you can see how easily these marketing strategies can quickly overlap – leading to the campaign’s detriment.
Authenticity leads to engagement, which is what true influence is all about. – Mia Pearson
My final word? Celebrities are followed by people who like them, while influencers create a community of trusting followers. If you can remember that simple principle and align it with your marketing campaigns, you can say hello to stellar results!
Thanks for reading!