Influencer marketing has become a hot new buzz word—and it will only grow in popularity in 2018.
Working with influencers allows you to get your brand in front of your target audience without making them feel sold to. The simplicity of it allows brands to connect with their audience in a more organic way, which can feel much more genuine than any other form of digital advertising.
2018 will see some huge changes in influencer marketing, with a few influencer marketing trends becoming more prevalent.
Facebook update: Influencers to the rescue
This could be significant for your brand, as the reach of your posts is likely to be reduced. However, the announcement could also be a great opportunity for you to rethink your content strategy.
As part of the same update, Facebook will also favor content from friends and family over posts from brands and publishers. This will be a huge boost to influencers, as their content mimics that of family and friends and often receives higher amounts of engagement which will help push their posts higher in peoples’ News Feeds.
On the whole, content from influencers receives between five to ten times more engagement than posts from brands in Facebook’s News Feed, and it drives results.
Instagram and Facebook Live
When watching live streams, viewers become more receptive to what influencers are promoting. As statistics show, users comment ten times more and watch live streams three times longer than regular videos.
This is due to the direct interactions they have with the streamers, which also leads to a 72% increase in website conversion rate.
Authenticity of influencers will become even more important
The influencer space is starting to become a crowded place. With new influencers springing up every day, people are becoming more selective about who they want to follow. Others are taking advantage of this gold mine and creating fake influencer profiles, which is easily done by buying bogus social media followers and engagement. Luckily, this is easy to identify just by running a quick check on a profile.
There are three main variables to look out for when spotting a fake account:
1. Did they get a sudden spike in new followers?
2. Are they using the follow and unfollow method?
3. Is their engagement real?
Working with these fake influencers can do terrible things for your brand, and you’ll end up spending a lot and getting nothing for your investment. For this reason alone, you should be selective when choosing who your brand plans to work with.
Your selection process shouldn’t just take into account how big the influencer is. You should also look into lesser-known micro-influencers. You can take the same budget you would’ve used for one celebrity and instead work with several micro-influencers, giving you a broader reach.
Micro-influencers have a smaller following so they’re more personally invested in their audience, which makes them more authentic and more likely to get a better ROI per follower for your brand than a bigger influencer. A mega-influencer may just tag your brand for the product placement, whereas a micro-influencer will spend more time carefully curating sponsored posts.
Makerly found that Instagram influencers with between 10,000 and 100,000 followers have the largest impact on brand reach and engagement.
Overall, you may end up seeing better results in terms of engagement and brand awareness by collaborating with micro-influencers.
Influencer marketing is becoming more popular as time passes, and as the demand for influencers increases, so will the cost.
With an average price per post ranging from $100-$1000+, the influencer’s follower base and which industry they currently engage in are huge factors affecting the amount they receive.
Throughout 2017, big brands started to experiment with influencers with a small portion of their ad budgets to test whether influencer marketing was a strategy worth pursuing. Now that they’ve completed their proof of concept campaigns, they will shift a bigger portion of their marketing budget from mainstream advertising to influencer marketing.
With current stats showing average earnings of $6.85 for every $1 spent, who can blame them?
This will create a huge shift in prices as more capital flows into the market, raising demand and average costs for influencer marketing campaigns.
Long-term genuine relationships
Why building genuine relationships matters: Under Armour was able to poach NBA star Steph Curry from his Nike contract in 2016. Source: Highsnobiety.
This year, the influencer space will become increasingly crowded as more brands enter to compete for the most engaging influencers.
But just how many companies are entering the space? Forbes reported that in 2017, 84% of marketers were planning to work with influencers.
Long-term relationships will be the central focus for 2018. People are becoming immune to one-time quick promos of products. They want to know what an influencer actually uses and genuinely recommends.
Kev & I finally found the perfect product for all the sexy man buns out there 🙌🏽 Swipe over for video. He's a 10 Defining Gel is AMAZING. No stickiness. No flakes. No crunch. Luckily I've got the hook up for ya too. Take 15% off your He's a 10 purchases until Father's Day! (6/18) Use code: "Kristen" Link in bio to purchase 😚
One of your goals as a brand is to build a long-term relationship with your customer base, not just affect a one-time purchase. So why would you do a one-time promotion with an influencer? It looks exactly the same.
People recognize when an influencer has been hired for a single campaign. This can hurt the relationship between the influencer and their fans while also damaging your brand’s reputation.
The longer you work with the influencer, the more your target audience will trust and rely on their promotions. Your brand is shown consistently, which strengthens and normalizes your relationship with both the influencer and their followers.
A genuine relationship with the influencer is vitally important, as this can help keep them working with you long term and stop your competitors swooping them up when you’re not looking. This actually happened when Nike lost a contract with Stephen Curry to Under Armour.
Building an organic relationship will not only make the influencer feel a lot better about your brand, but that feeling will also come across when they talk about it. Their fans will see the authenticity and will feel that the influencer is not solely doing it for the money—they genuinely recommend the brand they’re talking about.
Make this the year to boost your influence on social media
If you haven’t already taken advantage of influencers, I recommend implementing influencer marketing in your next campaign as soon as possible, because if done correctly it can yield fantastic returns.
Your focus should mainly be on finding the right micro-influencer who matches your brand’s niche, brings back a positive ROI, and can work with you on a long-term basis.
Don’t be left behind by your competition. Get involved.
For more key takeaways and strategy tips on influencer marketing trends, we’ve put together an influencer marketing handbook that you can download below.