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influenceinfluence: (noun) the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself. (verb) have an influence on.

The other day I was in the car with my 17 year old son and I told him that I read a headline where some guy on YouTube made seven million dollars last year.  I butchered his name but my son corrected me and told me his name was PewDiePie. My son watches a lot of ‘influencers’ on YouTube including PewDiePie…mostly to watch them play X-Box games or because they are hilarious.  PewDiePie has 38 million followers…that’s a lot of influence…hence why he makes six figures a year.

My son asked me how he made his money.  I explained to him about what it means to influence 38 million people and that brands pay him to endorse their products or services. (Much like Kim Kardashian getting paid $20k+ for one product tweet) He said that he would be much more likely to buy something from one of his favorite YouTubers than from ANY ad he’s ever seen.  My 17 year old trusts people who make a living playing video games online more than an ad he ‘might’ see on television.  (This generation is going to be much harder to reach for marketers!)

I know I am influenced more by the people in my life than ads as well.  I will see an ad for mascara on tv or in a magazine and not really think much about it but if my favorite blogger writes about the mascara…I might actually buy the mascara. This has happened many times for products that I’ve bought in the last few years…I trust the blogger or I like the way they ‘broke down’ the product in their blog post which will entice me to give it a try.

When a friend posts on Twitter about a new restaurant, I am much more likely to give it a try than just seeing a billboard about the new place.  I put a lot more weight on a friends’ recommendation than an advertisement.

All of this ‘influence marketing’ is huge for brands looking to reach new and different audiences.  This article does a great job explaining why it’s the next big thing in marketing.

Think about the last thing you purchased or new restaurant you tried…who influenced you?