YouTube stars, James Charles, and his former friend and mentor, Tati Westbrook, have been making headline news and trending across social media following a recent feud. The flurry started in April when James posted an ad to his Instagram story advertising Sugar Bear hair supplements. So how is it that our front pages are being taken over by these social media stars and is it all just a smart marketing tact?
The root of the issue
James Charles is a 19-year-old YouTube beauty blogger who had around 16.5 million YouTube subscribers Friday, according to the website Social Blade, this figure has now dropped to just over 13.5 million.
Sugar Bear just so happen to be a major competitor to Tati Westbrook’s own supplement brand, Halo Beauty. Apparently not taking this too well, Tati broke her silence and posted a 43-minute video to YouTube explaining the feud and her decision to cut off her friendship, which of course, then led to another YouTube video posted by James in response.
He later took to social media, apologised to his former friend in a statement which was posted to his Instagram story.
It appears the internet has sided with Tati for now, as she gains subscribers as fast as James loses them.
Why does this matter?
So how has this young star become such an influence in the digital world? Since rising to fame, the 19-year-old has worked with big name brands such as Morphe and A-listers like Kylie Jenner who currently has 135M followers on her Instagram account.
According to Metro, several other celebrities have followed suit, unfollowing James on YouTube. This list includes Kim Kardashian, Demi Lovato, Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Iggy Azalea, and Shawn Mendes.
In the past few years, platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and YouTube have become a true lever for beauty brands and others alike to showcase their products to customers, who are increasingly showing a preference towards endorsement and testimonials from these influencers.
With the rise of such platforms making it easy for brands to bring exposure to their products, the beauty industry has taken hold of this shift. They turned towards influencers to produce creative content that seems natural and genuine.
Influencer Marketing Statistics 2019 (Editor’s Choice):
- 63% of brands plan to increase their budget for influencer marketing.
- Over the past three years, Google searches for “influencer marketing” grew by 1,500%.
- By 2020, influencer marketing is projected to become a $10 billion industry.
- 93% of influencer marketing campaigns use Instagram.
- Instagram influencer marketing is a $1.7 billion industry.
- 55.4% of influencers use Instagram Stories for sponsored campaigns.
- The top 25 YouTube stars get 3x more video views than traditional celebrities.
Types of Influencers:
- Nano-Influencers – social media users with 1,000–10,000 followers.
- Micro-Influencers – those with 10,000–50,000 followers.
- Mid-tier Influencers – social media personalities with 50,000–100,000 followers.
- Macro-Influencers – established influencers who boast 500,000–1,000,000 social media followers
- Mega-influencers – social media powerhouses, close to the status of celebrities with 1,000,000-5,000,000 followers
- Celebrities – personalities with over 5,000,000 followers
Looking at the impact these social media stars are having on the news, and across our social media platforms, it’s clear to see why brands are utilising influencer marketing as part of their ongoing marketing strategies, and this is not confined to the beauty industry.
There are, however, still mixed reviews on influencer fraud and the struggles in finding the most suitable and appropriate influencer for your brand. The majority of the audience for influencer marketing would consider the earned media value and awareness gained by this new wave of digital stars a good measure of ROI.
What are your thoughts on influencer marketing?
Formation’s social media team spend a lot of time researching and keeping track of the ever-growing influencer marketing. We specialise in helping to identify suitable influencers or brand ambassadors for your brand.