There was a time when influencers used to be average Joe’s working out of their basements and posting content which hardly reached the masses. Today, these plain Janes have grown to become celebrities of the internet.
Influencers are everywhere on social media. From then to now, there is a shift and influencer marketing has become a full-time job.
An influencer can be a Kardashian sister posting a selfie of an upcoming brand or your next door neighbour who has a food blog. In fact, influencers don’t come from a common industry or background or have a fixed number of followers.
The only similarity and qualification influencers have is passion. They are zealous social media figures and have brought together an audience around themselves. They have the ability to influence which allows them to add a human touch to brands. Although in comparison with traditional marketing, influencer marketing is less direct but, if it’s done well, it’s a genuine way for brands to connect with consumers. An added advantage is that the younger digital-savvy generation innately trusts the personalities they follow.
With every passing year, the influencer marketing industry is growing by leaps and bounds. By 2022, influencer marketing is purported to reach $5 billion to $10 billion!
The number of businesses adding influencer marketing to their repertoire is only multiplying. Hence, it only continues to evolve and adapt.
Before it’s too late, it’s time toss out any traditional methods you use and make use of influencer marketing in 2019.
Here are upcoming trends to keep a lookout for:
Time to let micro influencers shine
Turns out that when it comes to influencers, bigger isn’t necessarily better. Of late, brands are zeroing in on micro influencers and their powers. Basically, those who have less than 10,000 followers are known as micro influencers. To a mass of the audience, these influencers seem more relatable than mega influencers. Not only do they interact and engage with their followers on a regular basis but they also seem to be more authentic and relatable. All this in unison makes micro influencers more appealing.
No doubt, mega influencers are akin to celebrities; they are well established and have thousands or millions of followers. At times, they seem unapproachable and may not be as interactive with the audience.
For brands, micro influencers tend to be more affordable than getting an A-list influencer or celebrity. Plus, they have ample information about their niche and without batting an eyelid you can 100% rely on any of their recommendations.
In a sense, social media is a natural extension of word of mouth marketing. It’s not just word of mouth which has private one-on-one conversations, social media too is one-on-one. It’s just done out in the open for everyone to see and it’s purely a one-to-one method of interaction or let’s say one-to-many recommendation, which is even better!
Brands will form relationships with influencers which are less transactional and more strategic
The biggest mistake a brand can make is viewing their relationship with influencers as purely transactional or a one-off.
Influencers have a growing audience and their credibility increases with every passing day. As a brand, you need to be smart and take advantage of this. With the help of influencers, you can build a set of loyal fans. Moreover, a long-term partnership ensures commitment and a more enthusiastic approach along with boosting ROI.
How can you move past being transactional? Don’t think of influencers as a marketing channel, instead consider the human element they bring into the marketing efforts. Consistently communicate with them, avoid micromanagement and be clear-cut from day one.
At the end of the day, quality trumps quantity and with Celebrity Endorsement 2.0 (influencer marketing) strategic partnerships are the way to go.
Influencer podcast will be the next big thing
Who would have thought that podcasts would be the new black, or shall we say blog? They were once all the rage and in 2019, they are back with a bang.
Similar to how influencers thrive on social media, on podcasts, they play the perfect hosts and voice their opinions and thoughts to the audience – they want to hear from them. Through a podcast, the influencer is able to make followers feel like they hanging out with them. It’s a gold mine and influencers have figured it out. Several of them have even shifted their focus making podcasts primary and blogs secondary.
Podcasts allow influencers to share profound thoughts, personal opinions and advice with the listeners on a personal level. Plus, it guarantees a wider reach. It’s a win-win!
Estèe Lalonde, a British influencer, in 2017 launched her first podcast called ‘The Heart of It’ which was a success. She is launching a sequel called ‘On the Line’.
It’s time to tap into the potential of podcasts.
The authenticity of influencers will become very important
As the influencer market is becoming more mainstream and more brands are joining in, the demand for influencers will increase.
This high demand has led to several people posing as fake influencers or buying followers or faking their accounts, etc.
For brands, you will have to shell out a certain amount of money to work with influencers and if they turn out to be fraudulent it can be disastrous! You don’t want your investment to give you nada. So, be cautious when you select who you work with.
Whether you choose to work with mega influencers or micro influencers, the decision is yours but vet the person you pick thoroughly.
Time for you to hop on this bandwagon
The sheer success of influencer marketing is because it allows human-to-human connection on a new realm along with brand creativity.
This trend is all set to grow leaps and bounds in 2019.
The key takeaway for brands from influencer marketing should be to feed your hungry customers with appealing, authentic and relatable content and not just shove products in their face with no message; it will not be received well.
Your path lies in front of you, choose it and pave it the way you please.