Top Influencer Marketing Trends That Will Blow Off the Marketing Landscape
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Even if it is more and more popular, influencer marketing is nothing new. It is as old as marketing itself. The reason it’s such a hot topic today is because how consumers perceive marketing and advertising messages thanks to newer technologies. New technologies are the base that generated this major rise of social media influencers. And influencer marketing trends are to be considered if you plan to use influencer marketing for your business.
Influencer Marketing Definition
For most people, what comes to mind when they hear about an influencer is a humongous social media following. But the truth is that this is a misconception, a confusion between popularity and influence.
An influencer is someone who has the ability to change the thinking or perception of others regarding a certain thing and is able to interfere and get them to make some decisions. In marketers’ lingo, this is simply someone that helps consumers buy from you.
How Do They Achieve This?
An effective influencer must absolutely have the following pre-requisite factors:
They must have a convincing style of communication in such a way that they can confidently sell their point of view to their followers and convince them to embrace it.
They must prove expertise and sound judgment with a level of authority on the subject matter to gain the followers trust and confidence.
c. Reach and Engagement
They must have some kind of following but with a high engagement rate. A large reach is insufficient without the engagement.
If you are in doubt let’s check some numbers:
No less than 89% of marketers sustain influencer marketing ROI hits the same level if not higher than any other marketing channel.
About 17% of companies plan to spend half of their budget on influencer marketing:
If in 2018 only 39% of companies had plan to increase influencer marketing budgets, in 2019 their number reaches 65%
Typically, influencer marketing budgets range between $1,000 – $10,000 per year, or $100,000 – $500,000 per year.
Instagram influencer marketing ranks the first among the preferred channels for influencer marketing.
How Will You Know the Right Influencer for Your Business?
With the rise of more fine-tuned technology, anyone in business must engage both traditional and modern methods of marketing albeit on varying degrees. This is the guaranteed path to reach a larger slice of your target audience.
With that said, the influencer marketing campaigns are better suited for some businesses more than others because while some may appeal to the mass, others may be very niche specific. Business with products or services that fall in the fashion, food, beauty or even travel industry may work perfectly with social media influencers. But businesses such as civil engineering or construction may require some good old traditional methods of marketing.
So, to help you know if influencer marketing is good for your business, here is a small analysis that can help you:
• Are there any social media influencers in your industry and are your competitors using them?
• Where is the majority of your audience consuming her content? (You must have this information already) is it social media?
• Where does your audience find the information for her purchasing decisions? Where does she seek for product recommendations? Is it on social media?
If the answers to the above questions are yes, then you should collaborate with social media influencers, no doubt. You must first vet them to ensure they’re credible, relatable and can resonate with your target audience, this means they must fall within your niche. Their personality and style of approach must also be in tune with your brand voice.
The main metric that indicates an effective influencer is engagement. This can be broken down into:
• How many likes, views, comments and even shares does the influencer receive on average per each post?
• How does the influencer get along with the followers? What kind of relationship do they have?
• Are the followers responsive and active? (some influencers have fake followers)
• Is the influencer known beyond the social space?
Types of Influencers
Without going into deeper details, for the purpose of this article, there are three main types of influencers. Below is a brief summary.
a. Mega Influencer
This one has a massive following or audience and it’s now about who they know, but rather who knows them. They usually don’t have to engage because it’s the crowds that simply flock to them; they may include athletes or actors. Examples may include Will Smith, Oprah or Kim Kardashian.
b. Macro Influencer
This influencer can be anyone with the right amount of audience. It may range from 10,000 to a million followers. These group can comprise journalists, bloggers or self-made social media stars. They are very niche oriented, which means they tend to have a voice over a specific category e.g. tech, fashion, politics, food etc.
The way they have influence is the following: they build trustworthy content and opinions that people can rely on. But they offer quality engagement, and this is why they’re considered experts. A good example is Marques Brown Lee, a tech expert and influencer well known in his space.
c. Micro Influencer
These are basically ordinary guys who may have about 500 to 10,000 followers. The reason they’re very recognized is because they tend to have the highest engagement as numbers, due to the small number of following they have. They always come out more effective, sometimes even more than the mega influencers.
So, without further ado, and with the above understanding, here are the top influencer marketing trends to keep your eye on.
Top Influencer Marketing Trends
1. Increasing Budgets
Statistics have shown that 80% of marketers have found that Influencer marketing is effective. 65% of them plan to increase their influencer marketing budgets in 2019 going forward.
Why is this? The answer is simple; the rate of customer traffic and customer quality is way higher than when other marketing channels are used. So this shows there is increasing confidence in social media influencers. The main reason for this as will be explained in more detail in the next trend, is that the ROI is quite high.
2. High ROI and Measurement Methods
For quite a long time now, measuring the ROI of influencer marketing has been its chink in the armour. But this is not really the case at all; the fact is that there isn’t a one size fits all approach, so the key performance indicators may vary from brand to brand. But they’re all measurable nevertheless.
Your goal could be to increase awareness, so you can use Google Analytics to track the number of users that became aware of your product through your influencer marketing campaign. If there’s a spike immediately you hired the influencer, then you have your answer.
KPI’s such as follower increase, impressions or reach can easily be tracked. Another good indicator to track is hashtags, especially if you and your influencer are using your own specific hashtag, it will be very easy to track. As a matter of fact, Ad week shared a research that showed hashtags boost engagement by 12.6%.
Therefore, with the possibility of measuring influencer marketing campaign under the belt, it’s then no-brainer that ROI has the odds to climb higher as per statistics.
3. Micro Influencers Are Crushing It
Sometimes called Nano influencers, these are the self-made stars with a number of followers between 500 to 10,000 on the social platforms. These guys are considered just normal people. The reason why brands are gradually banking more on this group is because they’re very knowledgeable in their specific niches and tend to engage more with their followers, this creates a relationship based on trust and authenticity. When it comes to fees, they’re also much cheaper than the mega influencers.
So, long story short, they’re effective in their campaigns and more affordable. What most brands are doing, instead of going to one mega influencer, they’re engaging many micro influencers at once for greater success. They are a true force to reckon with.
4. Video and Live Streaming
A Goldfish has the attention span of 9 seconds, a second longer than a human’s attention span on the internet. Infographic shows that an average time spent on an internet page lasts between 10 to 20 seconds.
However video content holds up more especially if you’re able to capture the viewer’s first 3 seconds. It’s for this reason that video marketing has been growing across all platforms, hence the introduction of video features on all social media platforms. Research shows that 87% of marketers now use video as a marketing tool, 83% confirm a good ROI when using video.
Videos have a way of bringing authenticity and social media influencers discovered this a long time ago. Brands are on board as well and now they sponsor live feeds on their influencer’s campaigns. Instagram influencer marketing and YouTube influencer marketing are particularly prominent with this. Facebook live is not behind either, a lot of collaborations are happening there too.
Some marketing activities that make this fun include unboxing of new products, behind the scene live stream or Q& As or the popular explainer videos. All of which the influencer always drops the brand’s name every now and then throughout the stream.
5. Authenticity and Honesty
People’s trust levels have really changed and gotten very sensitive especially when it comes to purchase decision. Authenticity is the backbone of influencer marketing. When the audience sense one fake or unrealistic vibe from their influencer, they automatically back off and no longer consider their opinion credible.
Most genuine influencers may even try and talk about products without being paid or sponsored by the product owner (brand). This genuineness is what consumers are looking for. The passion driven talks, explainers or any such content is the blood of influencer marketing.
Honest and credible influencers lead to a strong and effective campaign, and this is the growing trend and it also explains further why micro influencers are better than the mega influencers. It’s all about authenticity and not just sales.
6. Verifying Audiences
This point closely follows the one above. Every market has at least one fraudster. Social media influencer market is no exception unfortunately. Greedy people want to buy followers because again, there are those others that make it possible to happen.
These fraudulent fake accounts (bots) can basically do what an organic follower is able to do, including liking or commenting on the posts. But because this is not a secret, brands now are more vigilant and are engaging third parties to verify that the influencer’s audience is indeed real. This is done before engaging the influencer to avoid dealing with consequences later.
7. Influencers Are Considered Entrepreneurs in a Competitive Marketplace
As influencer marketing keeps growing and as more influencers are earning some good money, they’re realizing that they’re a growing brand and thus are getting themselves more comfortable in this competitive space.
This means they’re getting more creative, more business savvy and are able to use whatever resources they have on their own to create quality content for their audiences while leveraging on any relationships they build with companies.
Brands as well are watching and making use of the best opportunities that are not only much more affordable, but also more effective and for this reason most of them are building long lasting relationships with their influencers.
8. Instagram IG TV Will Catch Up
YouTube influencer marketing has been on the lead for some time now because of course, video is king. However, with the rise of the IGTV, Instagram influencer marketing is gradually catching up. This is because its videos are short and easily digestible to the audience that doesn’t have too much screen time.
Influencer Marketing Best Practices
Influencer marketing is growing and evolving each day, and with this there seem to be some new rules to abide every other time. As seen on the influencer marketing trends above, more will be expected in terms of budgets and growth of the entire industry as a whole. What this means is that despite all this growth, some best practices should be observed, as they won’t change no matter the future changes or trends.
Here they are:
It’s been mentioned above, and it can’t be emphasized enough, whichever side of the marketing campaign you’re standing on, whether as brand or an influencer, authenticity remains the paramount priority. This refers to the content being created as well as the collaboration relationships between the brand and the influencer.
This is key because once the audience notice something untrustworthy going on, she will back off. And this means a ruined reputation both for the influencer and the brand.
ii. Effective and Clear Communication
This is a business venture both for the brand and the influencer. Any communication exchanged must be as elaborate as possible and must be conveyed in good time. So, what this means is that you must know what you want to achieve from this “marriage” before you put anything out to the public, to avoid misinformation drama.
To achieve this, it’s encouraged that the brands create comprehensive brief with all the guidelines they would like the influencer to use. The influencer on the other hand is advised to involve the brand in content creation just so that everyone can be on the same page. When everyone has approved the content and the process of execution, then it’s good to go.
iii. Stay Open To Learn and Re-learn
Human beings never cease to learn. Each marketing campaign is always different from the previous one. And the marketing space and trends are constantly evolving, nothing stays the same. So, it’s important to keep learning and keep optimizing accordingly.
After each campaign, do some research and see how well it performed, tweak where necessary and boost what succeeded. Consider things like seasons to see how best to optimize. Keep learning.
People are overwhelmed with internet data and what they do now is just skim through information. Brands have noted this and have found a way to engage with them through partnering with social media influencers to boost their chances of getting noticed through that split second of eyeball.
The above trends can guide anyone on either side to effectively get the best out of their marketing efforts, use of live video; staying authentic and using the social media influencers with the highest engagement rate will earn you a good ROI. Remember the saying, show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are.