Unlike celebrities, influencers come from any background or industry, and they can have varying amounts of followers. One thing they all have in common is that they’re social media figures who have gathered a defined audience around themselves. Their ability to influence others allows them to give a human voice to brands. Influencer marketing is less direct than traditional forms of marketing, but when done well, it creates an authentic way of connecting with customers in today’s social media-driven world.
Is a marketing strategy that keeps on growing and is poised to reach between $5 billion and $10 billion by 2022. So, before you start your influencer campaign, here are some trends you need to keep your eye on.
Increased interest in influencer marketing
More and more brands are using influencer marketing than ever before and this trend is sure to continue next year as well. According to a recent study, businesses are making $7.65 on an average for every $1 spent, so it’s no surprise that influencer-marketing platforms have more than doubled in the last two years.
Influencer marketing is incredibly effective because we inherently trust the people we follow on social networks. After all, we wouldn’t be following them if we didn’t like them! So when an influencer sincerely advocates for a service or product, their audience listens.
Micro-influencers are hot!
Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to influencers. Brands are homing in on the power of micro-influencers, or influencers who generally have fewer than 10,000 followers on social media.
They engage and interact with their followers more frequently, and are viewed as more relatable and authentic.
Micro-influencers tend to be knowledgeable about their niche, and their followers are more likely to trust their recommendations. They’re also are more affordable than enlisting a celebrity as an influencer or brand ambassador.
Make the story your focus!
Telling a story connects with customers and makes them more likely to make a purchase. According to researches customers are not only more likely to buy from a brand with a good story, but they’re also more likely to pay a higher price per item.
For the content to really resonate with a target audience, the influencer needs to capture followers’ attention in a compelling way. A simple photo featuring a product in the background will no longer draw audience attention to the brand. Video content is a natural fit to help a story come alive and resonate with customers.
Video and live streaming are on the rise!
We are short on time and attention, but we love to be entertained. This is why video marketing is growing across all platforms and currently represents more than three-quarters of all internet traffic.
Videos feel more authentic and are fun to watch. Influencers are tapping into the engaging nature of video content, which can be more effective in driving sales than text-based content.
The key is to keep it authentic and engaging, and include creative brand mentions throughout the broadcast.
Transparency in ads
Transparent advertising levels the playing field, so influencers and brands are all playing by the same rules. So make sure you disclose every paid piece of content. Even if the content seems like an obvious ad, you need to disclose the partnership in each paid post. One option is to use hashtags such as #ad, #sponsored or #paidpost to make it clear that a post has been sponsored.
Authenticity and honesty are a must
Audiences have zero tolerance for content that comes off as fake or halfhearted. Influencers should honestly connect with the brands they’re endorsing. This type of marketing only works if an influencer is authentic in how they promote a product.
When possible, brands should get their influencers to give feedback on the products they’re promoting and talk about specific things they like about it, how they use it in everyday life and share any other interesting tidbits or insights they have about the product.
Don’t overlook emerging platforms
Instagram continues to reign as the most important social network for influencer marketing, largely because of its enormous user base and easily digestible video content. But it’s not the only platform out there. If you target a younger demographic, YouTube is also full of potential influencers.
Facebook, Pinterest and Snapchat influencer marketing is growing. Also, many influencers on social media are embracing the blog form for more word-heavy content.
The key is to incorporate influencers as part of the marketing team. Get them on board and excited about a project, and set clear expectations, but give them room to work their creativity and engage with their followers.