July 25, 2024

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What are Virtual Influencers and How to Utilize Them

AI influencers

The marketing landscape is constantly in flux, always conjuring up fresh strategies for brands to connect with their audiences. Recently, there’s been an emergence of a unique kind of influencer, unconfined by human limitations: the virtual influencer. 

These digital personas, carefully crafted for an uncanny resemblance to real people, are making impressive strides on social media. They’re attracting millions of followers and forming alliances with major brands. 

What is a virtual influencer?

Virtual influencers, also termed AI influencers or virtual personas, are not flesh-and-blood individuals. They’re figments of imagination, given life through the wizardry of 3D technology and animation. 

They mirror real people, complete with human-like traits, distinctive personalities, and convincing voices. Instagram is their primary platform, where they engage with their followers via posts, stories, and comments, much like regular people. 

However, unlike human influencers who have independent lives and experiences, AI influencers are carefully controlled and curated by their creators. This complete control enables brands to shape the influencer’s persona for a consistent and brand-aligned representation.

Gaining popularity

The increasing popularity of virtual influencers in the marketing sphere can be attributed to several factors. A key benefit is the absolute creative control that brands exercise. Unlike human influencers who may have clashing personal brands or unpredictable behavior, virtual influencers are the perfect puppets for the brands. 

They can be molded to resonate perfectly with a brand’s ethos, target audience, and marketing goals. Moreover, AI influencers hold a universal allure. These digital personas can be customized to appeal to specific demographics or cultural markets, unimpeded by geographical boundaries. 

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In contrast to human influencers who might face language or location constraints, virtual influencers can seamlessly connect with global audiences. This trait is particularly beneficial for brands eyeing expansion into new markets or diverse demographics.

Additionally, AI influencers maintain an impeccable image. Always appearing picture-perfect, they dodge scandals, controversies, or negative press that occasionally mire human influencers. This ensures a consistently positive brand image for the companies they represent.

Lastly, virtual influencers pave the way for data-driven marketing. Brands can harness sophisticated data and analytics tools to fine-tune the virtual influencer’s content, optimizing engagement and campaign effectiveness.

Brand considerations

The advent of AI influencers brings exciting prospects, but brands must thoughtfully consider the potential advantages and limitations before incorporating these digital personas into their marketing strategies.

Brand control

Brands have complete control over the virtual influencer’s image, personality, and actions, ensuring perfect alignment with brand messaging and principles.

Global reach

Virtual influencers can seamlessly connect with audiences worldwide, overcoming geographical constraints, and catering to diverse demographics.

Impeccable image

AI influencers maintain a flawless persona, ensuring a positive and consistent brand image.

Data-driven marketing

Brands can leverage data to optimize content, increasing engagement and campaign effectiveness.

Cost-effectiveness

Compared to human influencers who may command high fees, virtual influencers can be a more economical marketing option.

Transparency and authenticity

Brands must be honest about the virtual nature of the influencer. Fostering trust and authenticity is vital to prevent misleading consumers and to build genuine connections with the audience.

Limited social interaction

While AI influencers do engage with their audience, they often lack the depth and nuances of human interaction, which may limit their ability to form strong emotional bonds with followers.

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Read more from Ronn Torossian:

Ronn Torossian Personal Blog
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