Traditional influencers are reigning supreme, capturing our attention and steering our buying decisions through their captivating content and relatable personas. But as technology continues to advance, a new player has entered the arena, poised to revolutionize the way we view and interact with influencers: Artificial Intelligence.
In this blog post, we’ll explore how AI is changing the game and how it has the potential to replace influencers in various capacities.
Why do AI influencers exist?
Artificial intelligence advancements, the advent of social media, and fantasies of the metaverse (in which the real and virtual worlds are combined into a vast immersive digital experience) are all fuelling the expansion of virtual influencers.
Because of their popularity, marketing firms have embraced them as a low-cost promotional approach. While actual influencers with millions of followers may price hundreds of thousands of dollars each post, according to one 2020 estimate, virtual influencer Lil Miquela charged a more modest £6,550 (about A$12,600). However, a number of publications indicate that these virtual influencers will have an impact on the future of work for “real” influencers as they continue to disrupt the business.
Kim Zulu the South African AI influencer
Lebo Kambule is the developer and founder of The Avatar Company, a digital agency based in South Africa that specializes in influencer marketing using virtual personas. Kim Zulu is a proudly South African virtual influencer with brown skin and a bald head and is the company’s first of three virtual influencers. Zulu has partnered with influential brands like Stuff South Africa and Puma, granting her the hard-earned title of influencer. Kim’s entry into the world of virtual influence is one that has proved that cultural diversity can exist in the cyber landscape.
With her cutting-edge technology and captivating personality, she has captured the hearts and minds of millions of followers around the world. Kim’s ability to seamlessly blend into any social media platform and connect with her audience on a deep level is truly remarkable. Her content is not only visually stunning but also thought-provoking, as she tackles important social issues and promotes positive change. Kim Zulu has shattered the traditional boundaries of what it means to be an influencer, paving the way for a new era of AI-driven creativity and inspiration.
The Avatar Company’s advancements in the virtual influencer space coincide with the trend’s steady acceleration in South Africa. Due in large part to the rapidly increasing number of local firms giving multi-channel social media influencer campaigns top priority and the growing trend of e-commerce, the influencer industry has grown rapidly in the last few months.
Why Virtual Influencers?
The industry is becoming more and more fascinating. There is an extensive exposure to real life, human influencers in the fashion world. These influencers promise tremendous marketing value as the power they hold in convincing consumers to trust brands is a growing trend in both the real and virtual world. Here are 7 reasons why to pick the latter:
- Hyper-Personalized Content:
One of the most significant advantages of AI is its ability to create highly personalized content for individuals. AI algorithms can analyse a user’s behaviour, preferences, and demographics to deliver tailored messages, product recommendations, and even entertainment. This personalization can be more effective than influencers because it’s driven by data and continuously adapts to changing user preferences.
- 24/7 Availability:
AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants are always available, providing immediate responses to customer inquiries, helping with purchases, and delivering relevant information. Unlike influencers who have limited availability, AI can engage with users 24/7, enhancing customer experiences and streamlining the buying process.
- Consistency and Reliability:
Influencers can be unpredictable; their personal lives, interests, and values may evolve over time. AI, on the other hand, can provide a consistent and reliable presence in the digital space. Brands can ensure that their messaging remains steady and on-brand, minimizing risks associated with influencer controversies.
- Cost-Effective Campaigns:
Collaborating with influencers can be costly, especially when considering their fees, production costs, and post-engagement obligations. AI offers cost-effective solutions, as once the initial investment is made, it can generate content, engage with customers, and collect data without ongoing payments or negotiations.
AI can effortlessly scale content creation and engagement to reach a wider audience, whether it’s creating thousands of product descriptions or engaging with millions of customers simultaneously. This scalability is a challenge for even the most prolific influencers.
- Predictive Analytics:
AI leverages predictive analytics to anticipate customer behaviour, allowing brands to strategize and adapt before trends even become apparent. This foresight can be invaluable for staying ahead of the competition.
- Ethical Considerations:
In the influencer world, authenticity is often questioned, as the line between sponsored content and genuine endorsements can be blurred. AI doesn’t have personal opinions, making its endorsements more transparent and ethical.
The disruptive emergence of virtual influencers has given an almost terrifying glimpse into the future. It’s no surprise several companies and celebrities have caught onto the trend.
They don’t age, they’re free from (real) scandals and they can be programmed to speak any language. Virtual influencers have clear benefits when it comes to online engagement and marketing. However, it’s essential to acknowledge the potential drawbacks of AI replacing influencers. It may lead to job displacement in the influencer industry and could potentially result in an over-reliance on algorithms that may lack the creativity, empathy, and cultural nuances that human influencers bring to the table.
AI is on the rise in the realm of digital influence. While it may not completely replace human influencers, it’s reshaping the landscape by offering unique advantages in personalization, availability, cost-effectiveness, reliability, and scalability. The future of influence is a hybrid model where AI and influencers work in tandem to create authentic, data-driven, and personalized experiences. Until next time!