Influencer marketing is growing in popularity as audiences continue to show their strong aversion to traditional ads (as evidenced by the growing use of ad blockers). This strategy allows brands to get right in front of their target audience by partnering with the people their potential customers already follow – and trust – online.
Influencer marketing was on nearly every list of social media and digital marketing trends in 2017, and it’s only going to grow more popular in 2018. Rather than hoping your dream clients see one of your sponsored posts or take the time to click on one of your Google ads, influencer marketing appears natural. And in a world where customers crave authentic relationships, influencer marketing is undoubtedly here to stay.
Though influencer marketing can take place across many different mediums, it is best known for its use in social media marketing. If you’re looking to boost your own social media presence in 2018, download our list of 8 stupid simple social media tips to boost your SEO.
2018 Influencer Marketing Trends
1. More Brands will Leverage Influencer Marketing
According to a report by Launchmetrics, 88% of surveyed marketing and PR industry professionals stated that influencer marketing tactics were extremely effective or effective at raising awareness.
This growing popularity is evidenced in search results, too. Searches for the term “influencer marketing” grew 90 times from 2013 to 2016. This is both a result of more influencers entering the market, and more companies looking to partner with influencers.
Brands are proving they believe in the power of social influencers by investing in them. More and more brands have increased the allocation of their marketing budgets towards influencer marketing, and all signs show that the trend will continue to be popular and effective across various niches in 2018.
2. Micro-Influencers Will Become More Popular
The way brands decide what type of influencers to work with will change in 2018 as well. “Micro-influencers,” those who have smaller followers, will gain prominence for their high engagement rates, great conversion, and lower fees.
Though brands may be tempted to turn to the influencers with the most followers (the “macro-influencers”), they typically have much lower overall engagement than micro-influencers. As companies look to connect with their target market in 2018, more and more will begin working with these micro-influencers, whose followers tend to trust them and view them as more authentic.
Of course, there’s nothing stopping brands from using a combination of both micro- and macro-influencers to connect with potential customers throughout the buyer’s journey.
3. Brands Will Nurture Long-Term Relationships with Social Influencers
78% of those who ran influencer campaigns in 2016 said that they have been working with influencers for at least a year or more. Now that brands are starting to realize how working with social media influencers can really pay off, it’s fair to expect influencer marketing to be implemented by brands as part of a long-term strategy in 2018.
What makes influencer marketing work is a sense of authenticity. With so many influencers joining the scene, audiences will be more vigilant about watching for authenticity among influencers – which is why it’s more important than ever for brands to form partnerships with influencers.
Long-term sponsorships allow influencers to incorporate your message into their posts in a more natural, consistent way. One-off sponsored posts can come off as inauthentic, something followers will quickly spot.
To nurture long-term relationships with influencers, brands should:
- Communicate expectations clearly (from the start!)
- Provide clear instructions on how to disclose the sponsorship
- Compensate fairly (and on time)
- Allow creative freedom in posts
- Consider the influencer’s brand as much as your own (meaning only approach relevant influencers!)
4. Influencers Will Promote Brands on Multiple Channels
Leveraged effectively, an influencer relationship involves cohesive promotion across more than one medium. In 2018, this will become more common as influencer marketing grows more sophisticated.
For example, a social media influencer who is promoting a scarf might review it on their blog, share it as part of their “outfit of the day” post on Instagram, and add a quick video of them talking about it on Snapchat. Their audience is exposed to the product (and your brand) repeatedly, making the message comes across as more authentic.
5. Measuring KPIs and ROI Will be a Bigger Priority for Marketers
Many talk about the effectiveness of influencers, but one of the reasons why not all companies have jumped on board is because of the assumption that they will not be able to track results properly. That inability to easily measure ROI is a major deterrent for many brands.
Currently, influencer marketing results can be tracked through metrics such as likes and comments on the posts, as well as other sources such as tracking pixels, use of coupon codes, or the number of tweets using a branded hashtag.
However, influencer marketing tools are far from perfect. Marketers still have to resort to using multiple tools to find influencers, connect with them, and track engagement, all of which adds extra time and difficulty in managing campaigns. Due to this inefficient system, marketers should expect better, more streamlined tools to emerge as demand increases.
6. Influencers’ Value Will Increase
In the past, brands could get away with offering influencers free merchandise or discounts in exchange for their promotion, but today, social media influencers expect monetary payment. Though 33% of brands said they “never” compensated influencers for their work in 2015, that number dropped to only 18% in 2016.
As influencer marketing becomes more popular, these social media influencers – especially those with established, sought-after audiences – will be able to charge brands more. Influencers know that brands need them more than they need the brands and can be selective in regards to which companies they work with.
Some of this selectivity, however, is a result of influencers trying to maintain authenticity. If influencers want to maintain the respect of their followers, they cannot post a sponsored image on Instagram 10 times a day. Instead, they will have to maintain tight standards and only accept projects from brands they really trust and actually use – and with that selectivity comes higher fees.
7. Video Will Become More Prevalent In Influencer Marketing
Video influencer marketing is the combination of two of the top digital marketing trends that defined 2017 – influencer marketing and video marketing – so it only makes sense that this trend will grow in 2018. As social media sites continue to prioritize videos in their feeds, both influencers and brands are investing more in the medium to ensure their content stands out.
New forms of video, such as live video and ephemeral content (such as Instagram Stories), allow social influencers to connect with their followers in a more authentic way. These formats offer an alternative that strays from perfectly styled Instagram posts, granting a transparency that audiences crave.
The Rise of Influencer Marketing in 2018
In a world where consumers increasingly trust their peers and online influencers – and increasingly distrust traditional advertisements – influencer marketing will be an important strategy for brands to adopt in 2018 and beyond.
Looking to connect with potential influencers, or discuss even more 2018 marketing trends? Join our Facebook community, Mod Agency Insiders, today! This is a place for marketing entrepreneurs to connect, exchange ideas, provide feedback, and help each other grow.
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