Influencer marketing is here to stay. That’s hardly surprising considering that it typically delivers an ROI 11 times greater than other, more conventional, marketing methods. What company wouldn’t want to take advantage of these numbers?
Some forms of influencer marketing have been around for a long time. But today we have the technology that makes becoming an influencer a lot easier. It also means that gaining recognition can happen at lightning speed.
Here are some of today’s trends in influencer marketing to keep your eye on.
1. Brand Ambassadors
In the past, you could have quite easily had a one-off campaign with a specific influencer to get a quick boost. Going forward, however, it’s best to work with one or two influencers on a long-term basis. Considering that 47% of buyers will only make a purchase decision if they’ve seen three to five pieces of content, it makes sense.
By turning the influencer into a brand ambassador, you’re taking the first steps to create a long-term relationship with their followers. It could also be the key to making your campaigns more authentic.
2. Authentic Campaigns
Most consumers realize that influencers want to earn money doing what they love. So, they generally expect some advertising. That said, they’re also on the lookout for fake endorsements. They want to know that the influencer truly believes in the product. Essentially, followers want to know that the influencer would use the product, whether or not they are being paid to do so.
Creating more authentic campaigns is a top priority. To make your campaigns seem more sincere, it’s important to get your influencer’s input from day one. This is an area where you’ve got to hand over some control. The influencer needs their voice to shine through in your campaigns instead of being handed a strict script to follow.
The results might be a little less polished than a professional ad campaign, but, in this instance, it’s going to work for you.
3. Fake Followers
Marketers have been cottoning onto the benefits of influencer marketing. As a result, influencers can rake in some serious money. This, in itself, has boosted the “influencer as a business” model as well. There are a lot of would-be influencers out there and a lot of people peddling courses on how to become one.
The problem with this is that there’s a real drive to take shortcuts. Most influencers are paid according to how many followers they have. The downside is that it’s possible to blur the lines here. In one study, researchers found that 24% of influencers had manipulated their numbers at one stage or another.
An influencer might, for example, join an online community designed to boost page stats. These usually work on a reciprocal basis. The community gets together to promote each other’s pages and to increase engagement. So, I’ll like your page, if you’ll like mine. I might also engage with posts on your page on the same basis.
Another issue is the outright buying of engagement. You can find a follower platform that uses bots to increase engagement. These bots can be quite intelligent – they will like a page, and then share or engage with posts over a period of time. This mimics how real users might react to posts. The influencer will pay for the number of shares and posts.
It’s something that was, up until now, difficult to detect without digging into each follower’s account. It’s becoming easier, though, as social media platforms are cracking down on fake profiles.
There are also companies tackling this issue head-on using AI. Companies like Social Chain are offering their services to audit influencers. This is a good thing for the industry because it’ll make it possible to get verified reports on followers.
Good influencers will be happy to have their statistics verified. Those using fake followers will soon get sniffed out. While it will still be possible to trick the system, it will continue to get harder and harder to do so.
4. Improvement in Measurement Tools
At present, it’s not that easy to measure the organic results of a campaign. You can see how many likes and clicks there are. But how can you measure the organic exposure you’re actually getting?
Last year, Facebook made a step in the right direction.
By allowing marketers to use first-party cookies, Facebook has made it that much easier for marketers to track their progress. Users do need to opt-in to allow marketers to use this type of cookie. If they do, though, you’ll get a whole lot of statistics to draw from.
5. The Importance of ROI
Part of the problem with influencer marketing is that it’s difficult to quantify the ROI of each campaign. But things are changing. Social media platforms are now able to calculate the ROI of each campaign if they have API access.
Reporting measures will improve as we go along. This will allow companies to calculate exactly how much financial value they’re getting for their campaigns. This, in turn, allows companies to be more effective when it comes to tailoring their campaigns. If they see that the campaign is not delivering the required results, they can tweak their content and strategy.
Influencer marketing is a firm favorite amongst marketers today. It’s effective because it’s seen as a recommendation from a real person who has gained the trust of their audience. This is not some far-removed celeb that lives a glitzy life.
These are real people like you and me. They have attained some sort of celebrity status, but they’ve also built a good relationship with their followers.
Taking advantage of that relationship could lead to a profitable alliance between your company and the influencer. As long as you’re willing to put in the effort upfront to find a good match, you should see some promising results. But, be sure to keep an eye out for more influencer-marketing trends to know what to avoid, and how to best optimize your strategy.