What’s Next for Influencer Marketing

The influence (ahem, pun intended) of influencer marketing shows little signs of slowing down as 2018 gets underway. In fact, marketers using this tactic should keep an eye on the newest evolutions of this game changer for driving online sales. Here’s help.

What is Influencer Marketing

We’ve talked about it before, but just in case you’re new to the blog, influencers are the people who are active on social media and blogs who can advocate for your brand and promote you with a niche, targeted audience.

These are the people who have the right followers and who your target audience will trust for recommendations. The right influencer can not only increase your social media exposure but also drive traffic to your site.

What’s Next for Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is a fast growing online customer-acquisition channel, per an Influencer Marketing Study by Tomoson. Some 59% of their respondents planned to increase their influencer marketing budgets in the next 12 months. No wonder: businesses were reaping $6.50 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing.

In spending that increased budget, consider this overview of what’s next for influencer marketing.

Expanded Reach. Influencers are becoming more omni-channel powerhouses. Influencer programs are typically executed on Instagram, as well as Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat and more.

Use of messenger apps is also on the rise with brands working with influencers on private social networks in addition to public social networks. Chatbots by major social and messaging platforms — such as Facebook Messenger, Google, Microsoft Skype, Salesforce, Slack, Twitter DM, WeChat, Kik and Line — boast billions of daily users accustomed to engaging with brands in their feeds.

Metrics. According to Tomoson’s study, “51% of marketers believe they acquire better customers through influencer marketing.” Yet believing it’s so, isn’t sufficient; Tomoson can’t be the only one calculating the return on influence.

Marketers need to track the ROI against established goals — Sales and leads? Brand exposure? Content promotion? — in order to truly understand the value of their influencers. Focusing on clicks and social shares alone, for instance, is succumbing to vanity metrics. The social media platforms are responding with additional analytics to provide more granular influencer measurements.

Creative Partnerships. Brands can’t simply see influencers as billboards. They will be left behind as the power of influencer marketing continues to evolve.

The goal should be to develop ways the influencer can fit into long-range plans. Think about an apparel retailer, for instance, who has influencers pinning new products to their Pinterest boards. That’s OK. Yet pushing the partnership further, the clothing brand might invite influencers with real reach to the target audience to curate a “board” on the brand’s own site or even in-store.

Diversity. Part of the reason influencers add value to marketing campaigns is because they represent a more objective audience member reacting to the product or service — it’s more like seeing or hearing a referral from a friend, colleague, or family member.

The global reach of social media and blogs also opens the door for brands to work with more influencers who mirror their customers worldwide. Marketing can get a view of the audience outside of its own backyard by researching influencer activity in more varied target audiences.

Rise of the Micro-Influencer. Instead of relying on celebrity posts or sponsored ads, the turn to micro-influencers sees brands relying on individuals who specialize in a specific vertical and have hyper-engaged audiences. This is truly what’s next in Influencer Marketing. I’ll be talking more about this so stay tuned!