Influencer marketing is a great way to make a name for yourself or increase your revenue. Just last year, 86% of marketers said they used influencer marketing and 94% claim that it was an effective business strategy. The shift from online advertising to word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM) was more than obvious in 2016. But as is usually the case with trends in our media-driven world, these trends change with a blink of an eye, and we’re also expecting big changes in 2017. Keeping up with the trends in influencer marketing will surely lead you to success. Here are just a couple of these trends to keep in mind.
1. A focus on video-sharing and live-streaming platforms
Twitter was one of the strongest influencer marketing platforms in 2015 and continues to be so even today. But last year, the most successful marketing platforms were video-sharing websites like YouTube and Facebook Live. The reason being that these platforms made it easier for influencers to connect with their audience on a more intimate and trusting level. Marketing experts believe that live streaming platforms like Twitch and Periscope will be the next big thing in online advertising.
2. Never underestimate the power of micro-influencers
According to John Hall, big companies tend to seek out big names in order to market their products to larger audiences. But this may not be the best strategy because research shows that most people trust micro-influencers more than they do celebs. Besides, many of the most successful influencers out there tend to charge at unreasonably high prices for their services. Giving that we still lack reliable tools to measure the ROI of influencer marketing, you’d be better off focusing on micro-influencers.
3. Disclosing your relationship with an influencer
Customers are by now completely aware that social media celebs make a living through advertising and sponsored products. To maintain the same levels of trust with their audience that they had at the beginning of their social media days, most influencers now make it a rule to disclose when a video or blog post is sponsored. This strategy is proven to work well for both companies selling products and their influencers.
4. Native advertising is all the rage
Internet users can’t stand pop-up adds, saying that they are annoying, intrusive, disruptive and take too much load on a bandwidth usage. In fact, any kind of unwelcome advertisement is not going to win you customers. That’s why we’re seeing a rise in native advertising because it blends in with a platform which won’t scare users away. So, make sure to find an influencer that matches your brand or make your brand match the influencer’s platform of choice.
5. Bloggers as a safe option
Bloggers with a fair-enough outreach are still one of the best influencers to promote your brand. According to Raymond Morin, bloggers publishing relevant and high-quality content that isn’t promotional bring value to their community. These types of bloggers are more likely to retain their credibility. What’s best, most bloggers today disclose a sponsored blog posts to keep the trust with their audience strong. The case may not be the same for famous YouTubers or Instagrammers who, despite having a large following, do lose trust from their audience once their content becomes pure advertisements.
6. Bartering has got to go
In the beginnings of influencer marketing, companies would offer free products in exchange for promotional material. Today, this is no longer an option and is likely to become extinct by the end of 2017. And while you can get free advertising through sites like Facebook, you’d get much greater revenue from investing in a social media influencer. Just think about it: 74 % of people today turn to social media for guidance on making a purchasing decision.
7. Measuring your ROI
Finding the right tools to measure your ROI from your influencer is important when deciding if you want to continue to work with them in the future. Trackable links for Twitter, Facebook, and blogs is a good option while the number YouTube views could be another possible measuring tool. Keeping your relationship strong with an influencer that happens to help generate more sales for you is another wise thing to do.
8. Less is more
The number of influencers is ever growing and you get to choose from a wide range of people that fit your brand. But keep your relationship with a smaller number of influencers will help with your own credibility. After all, influencers are the new brands and you want to make your relationship with an influencer authentic and intimate as influencers try to with their own audience.
Almost every business today recognizes the power social media stars have over their audiences. But turning to social media to advertise your product is not as simple as it seems. The trends are changing at a fast pace and we really can’t tell what the future of advertising will be like. For now, it’s all about influencer marketing.