Influencer marketing is an exciting place, and certainly took itself to new levels in 2016, there’s plenty of research to show it’s the fastest-growing marketing channel at present.
As the relationship of trust strengthens between brand and influencer, is it time you consider your own influencer for your business?
It seems likely that in 2017 brands will gain more confidence in handing over creative freedom and narrative control to influencers, so what are the trends you need to know about?
Almost all consumers (92%) trust recommendations from strangers over those from brands, in fact, Daniel Wellington built a $220million business off of influencer marketing along.
Most brands are aware of the power of influence marketing and have doubled their own spend over the past two years.
Influencer marketing trends you need to know about for 2017
The emphasis on personal brand will prevail
Influencers will, of course, be focusing on their own personal brand, and this means they’ll be staying true to themselves, and only partnering with brands that offer a really good fit, and are specific to their relevant audience. This means you have to find the right influencer for you and not just because they have big numbers on social media.
Forging meaningful partnerships
Building long-term sustainable relationships will certainly become a big part of influencer marketing in 2017, they’re not just looking for one-off posts to promote. To turn your influencers into advocates you need to ensure you stay organised, showcase their work and make them feel part of a community.
No longer will one influencer do, but recruiting many will take hold in 2017, so they can all share their own take on your brand. Influencer squads allow you to tell the same story from many different angles, great examples of this are setting specific hashtags for an event, this allows you to see a story of the event from each of the people who attended.
Micro and mid-tier influencers
You need a big budget to tap into the celebrity influencer market, but micro or mid-level influencers could gain just as much traction for your campaign. They might have a smaller following, but it’s more niche and targeted. The cost of 30-40 smaller influencers might cost the same as one big one, but the traction you gain from a campaign could be greater.
A BuzzSumo study found that one influencer sharing a post gained a 31.8% increase in social shares, but when there were three influencers who shared one piece of content, this doubled the total number of shares, and five influencers quadrupled it.
A layered approach
Influencers and agencies agree that brands need to be thinking beyond product reviews and gifting, taking a more interesting and layered approach to influencer marketing. Customers are looking for insider access, behind the scenes previews and insight into the lives of the brand.
An example of this is Benefit Cosmetics’ Lisa Potter-Dixon, head of makeup and trend artist, she regularly shares tips, tricks, product previews and demos as well as backstage at fashion week. Not only this, she often helps out with out-of-hours service across Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat, as well as featuring the brand on her YouTube channel. This helps to raise the profile of the brand and shows Lisa for what she is, a true influencer.
Emma Gregson, Director of ITB explained to Fashion and Beauty Monitor:
“When it comes to posting from the influencer, brands will tend to get a lot more traction if they ask them to post the behind the scenes film, for example. Just posting the main campaign ad isn’t so exciting to people anymore, as they want the truth and depth. They want to feel like they’ve understood what someone has gone through in making something. I think natural organic content is much more relatable to people nowadays, and there is a massive shift towards that and a challenge to brands as to how they use their traditional 30-second spot. People still love ads and always will, but when it comes to influencers you almost need to create a second layer to the campaign that is much more organic in its feeling.”
More research and identification
Influencers are no doubt contacted by a number of brands every single day, and will most likely say no the majority of them because they’re not the right fit for them or their audience. It’s vital you target the right influencer for you, and finding better tools and methods to identify suitable influencers to work with will definitely help.
Christine Mikesell, Author of 15 Minute Beauty, also told Fashion and Beauty Monitor:
“Around half of the PR or brand approaches I receive are relevant. I continue to be approached with fashion opportunities, but I’ve never written about fashion. I don’t even respond to these emails anymore.
“Of the ones that are relevant and beauty related, I probably only say ‘yes’ to 5% to 10% of those, just because I’m so picky about which brands I work with and which messages I feel are a good fit for my personal brand and audience.
“I really want the paid pieces to fit well within the content that I’m writing on my own organically. I always say to myself, if I was a reader of my blog, would this make any sense?
“I don’t want to ever come across as having sold out. Once I start having to think hard about what would I write, suddenly the money becomes a lot less appealing.”
Video is only going to get bigger
Video provides brands with greater scope to be creative while offering a broader storytelling arc, if done well it allows them access to a lifestyle, rather than just a moment like an Instagram image.
Facebook Live Streaming is going to be a major ad opportunity for this platform, and they have already paid influencers more than $50million already to promote live streaming.
Building your own framework
Knowing what you want from Influencer Marketing is the first step, do you want to promote a particular product or just build up your following as a whole. Knowing what you want is the key to starting a successful influencer marketing campaign. Things like contracts, campaign briefs, content checklists will all ensure you get the most out of what you’re paying for. It also allows you to know what the influencer will give you, and allows them to know what you expect from them.
Influencers can help you build up credibility on other platforms and increase engagements on channels where you might lack the resources, follow these trends in 2017 and see if Influencer Marketing can help your business.