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Why we follow influencers and how it leads to overconsumption

We follow individuals who are believed to have influence on Instagram, but we're not really sure why we do it.

Ⓒ Image by Unsplash

There are certain people whose personalities appeal to me, such as Tefi and Aiden Arata, and others whose work does, such as Rayne Fisher-Quann and Mona Chalabi. Both of these persons are among the people I follow. I started following content producers, such as Arden Rose, Claire Marshall, and Estée Lalonde, since I was a fan of their YouTube channels when I was in high school and I'm interested in seeing what they're up to today. And then there are individuals such as Taylor LaShae and Stilla who I follow because they have bangs, just like I do, and it gives me a sense of camaraderie to see other attractive people who also have bangs. .

And I do all of this despite the fact that I am well aware that a good many of them are contributing to my feeling like shite. According to papers that were unearthed by The Wall Street Journal's Facebook Files, the majority of individuals report that they experience a negative emotional reaction when they encounter celebrities and influencers in their Instagram feed because they compare themselves to the influencers they see. This is quite accurate.

My work is comparable to that of Fisher-Quann and Chalabi; my sense of humour to that of Tefi and Arata; my riches to that of Rose and Marshall and Lalonde; and my ability to appear enticing with a haircut inspired by Dora the Explorer to that of LaShae and Stilla. According to research conducted in-house by Facebook, a significant number of Instagram users struggle with difficulties related to social comparison and body image.

According to internal Instagram documents obtained by the Journal, which stated as follows: "Social comparison is worse on Instagram." "It has the appearance of being real life but is actually based on celebrity expectations. Exploring and profile stalking are two activities that might lead one into never-ending rabbit holes. The content posted by celebrities appears more frequently, but the stuff posted by friends has a greater impact in terms of social comparison."

It is not difficult to observe an internal reaction to following influencers, even if you are not coming into every social media contact with the gloomy reality of those platforms hovering over you. This is because following influencers may have a profound effect on your behaviour. It has the potential to make one feel unpleasant and may also lead to excessive spending as well as consumerism. According to Forbes, a survey conducted by Sideqik found that 66 percent of social media users believe that their purchasing decisions are typically motivated by influencers, and 64 percent of social media users indicate that influencers help them find new businesses.

Then, why do we continue to do it?

According to the findings of a research conducted in this year, it can mostly be boiled down to authenticity, consumerism, the need for creative inspiration, and jealousy. This sounds good. I believe that Tefi is genuine; I want to buy the stuff that Lalonde is using; Chalabi's work is motivational; and I envy LaShae.

According to the findings of the study, "the current research identified unique consumer motivations for following [social media influencers] on Instagram and examined its association with important consumer behaviour outcomes (i.e. trust towards [social media influencers]-recommended brands) in addition to materialism." [Citation needed] "Results indicated four motives for following influencers on Instagram, which had diverse effects on trust and buy frequency. These motivations were Originality, Materialism, Inspiration, Creativity, and jealousy," the findings stated, referring to the survey data that was used.

The research also discovered that materialism had "high associations" with the other four approaches, many of which are "important mediators underpinning the influence that materialism has on buying behaviour." Another study conducted in 2020 came to the conclusion that the quality of the material played a significant part in determining whether or not users would continue to follow influencers online and whether or not consumers would trust influencers.

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In addition, we are seeking for a community, and we believe that we might be able to establish one if we follow influencers. This is virtually the narrative of the movie Ingrid Goes West. We've never been more isolated, and we've stopped associating with people in real life.

Senior lecturer in sociology at London's City University, Stephanie Alice Baker, put it this way: "You still need somebody to give them this feeling of purpose." "Even when individuals don't have religious institutions to guide them and tell them who they should be, they still seek purpose in their lives," Therefor, it is not uncommon by a sizable number of famous or powerful persons to be spotted in this area.

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According to the study that was done in 2022, the field of research that this article focuses on is highly relevant for advertisers and marketers since impacts carry "obvious value" for marketers. The reason we follow influencers is because we aspire to have the same success as them, and the reason we buy from them is because we trust them.

According to Campbell, "people trust other consumers the most," adding that "they trust friends and relatives much more than they would advertising." "Marketers have the lowest trust rating of everyone in the world." "Influencers are intriguing in part because they straddle the line between celebrities and regular people. People sometimes overlook or don't care that influencers are being compensated because they believe the influencers' claims that they are doing it for the fans and only suggesting things they truly love. This is due to the fact that influencers are experts at convincing you that they are actually helping you out."

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"People have diverse incentives for connecting with and purchasing from influencers, the three most common of which are entertainment, inspiration, and bargain hunting," claims the Advertising Research Foundation. This is in accordance with the exact reasons that we follow influencers in the first place, so it makes sense.

Although it is vital knowledge to have, the fact that we are aware of the hole we are trying to fill by following influencers and how marketers are taking advantage of that void will not help us feel less alone or motivate us to be less materialistic. Because of this, everyone of us is going to have to put our hands on some grass.

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