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The rise of social media has provided companies with a new way to engage with their target audience. This has led to changes in the way they market their products.

Celebrity endorsement has been a marketing mainstay since the 1800s. However, as more and more of their target audiences use social media to make their purchasing decisions, companies are turning to social media influencers rather than traditional celebrity spokespersons to promote their brand.

To understand why, it’s crucial to look at the differences between celebrities and influencers and their followings.

Social Media Influencers vs. Celebrities

Celebrities have a following because of their achievements, such as starring in a long-running TV series, having a hit song, or winning a Gold Medal. Influencers gain a following through their expertise on a particular subject and ability to engage with their audience. Celebrities find fame by appealing to a very broad audience, while influencers earn their reputations by targeting a narrower demographic niche.

In addition, people tend to idolize celebrities, while influencers try to present themselves as relatable “real” people. Influencers rely on the content of their posts to appeal to their audience, while celebrities leverage their fame and personality.

Why the Influencers are Winning

This ability to interact and engage with a specialized audience on a personal, relatable level is what’s driving the rise of influencer marketing. Because they know their audience, the influencer’s experience can be invaluable when creating targeted content. Likewise, building a relationship with an influencer usually doesn’t entail the kind of financial investment or risk that comes with a celebrity spokesperson.

Celebrities Still Have Their Uses

This doesn’t mean the era of the celebrity spokesperson is over. Celebrities appeal to a much broader demographic audience than influencers do. And as Selena Gomez and Kim Kardashian have shown, it’s possible to be both a celebrity and an influencer.

In the celebrity culture vs. influencer culture wars, which side you’re on depends on the type of audience you’re trying to reach.