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Influencer marketing is one of the biggest topics in online marketing and it looks set to continue to grow over the next few years. With the pool of influencers constantly expanding, there are new opportunities for small businesses and SMEs popping up all over the place!
But what are the hottest trends in influencer marketing for 2018 and the year ahead? What new tactics do we need to employ to stay on top in the digital world? Press Loft has collected the 9 biggest trends for this year, complete with tips on how to stay ahead of each one:
The 9 Hottest Trends in Influencer Marketing for 2018 and 2019 (And How to Keep Up as a Small Business)
Influencers of All Levels Are Putting a Value on Their Personal Brands
Influencer marketing may have seemed like a fad little over two years ago, but this new genre of digital marketing is here to stay! We have seen influencers move away from the labels of ‘social media stars’ to become ‘content creators’ – even thought they are celebrities in their own right, they are very skilled at what they do.
As the way that audiences consume content changes, the pool of influencers will only get bigger, but smaller influencers have started to realise their worth. This means that, over the course of the next year, they will command more compensation for mentions and campaigns. However, it also means that the options in terms of the content they can create will increase, as they look to new platforms and new ways of connecting with their audiences.
How to stay ahead of the trend: Small businesses should look to ‘micro-influencers’, the rising stars of the influencer world in their genre, whether that is children’s gifts, beauty, or anything in between. You will get more return on your investment as their following continues to grow.
Brand-created Content is No Longer Appealing to Audiences
As each influencer has their own specific audience and a specific style of photo or video content, brand-created content does not often blend in. Audiences are learning to see through this and tune out of content which is at odds with a content creator’s usual style. Videos or images that look like adverts no longer have power over viewers like they used to. This means that brands need to work harder to secure organic mentions from influencers or to collaborate on content that is in-line with the style of the influencer.
How to stay ahead of the trend: Instead of creating content to pitch to an influencer, work with them to create something that allows your brand to be showcased, without veering too far from an influencer’s personal style.
Both Brands and Content Creators Are Getting More Creative
Speaking of content, the rise of influencer marketing has meant that regulators have had to clamp down on any shady behaviour – the FTC in the USA and ASA in the UK demand that all sponsored influencer activity is now clearly marked as such for the benefit of viewers.
Just as viewers are making the switch from live TV to streaming in order to avoid ads, they have also begun to switch off to ads on other platforms. In order to really grab the attention of an audience, both influencers and marketers will need to work on fun strategies that won’t leave the audience zoned out as we head into 2019.
How to stay ahead of the trend: Try to come up with fun campaign ideas that will excite the influencers you’re working with. If the content creator is truly interested by your campaign then their followers will sense this.
Brands and Marketers are Focusing More on Real Engagement Statistics Than Followers
Gone are the days when brands would pick influencers based solely on the number of followers they had on Instagram or YouTube. Followers are easily bought, but engagement is difficult to win. Now that brands have caught on to this, they want to work with people who have a real and committed audience. Because of this, social media stars, YouTubers and influencers will need to prove their audience is engaging with their content and has demonstrated that they are happy to follow the influencer’s recommendations.
How to stay ahead of the trend: Ensure you’re looking at more than just followers and ‘likes’ when choosing which influencers to work with. Ask if they can provide meaningful statistics from any previous campaigns they have worked on, or if they are able to demonstrate good results from link tracking on their content.
Video Content is More Popular Than Ever
This is one of the hottest trends in influencer marketing for 2018 – video content is proving much more popular than images, across almost all forms of social media. Videos may take longer and be more expensive to produce, but this opens up a whole new way of communicating about a brand, especially for a small company that may not have had the opportunity to create videos before. Collaborating on a video can be fun and pave the way for more creative marketing efforts.
How to stay ahead of the trend: Sponsoring a short video or series of videos for social media can be a great way for a small brand to begin in serious influencer marketing, or for a larger business to improve brand awareness. A short video of 30 seconds or less is likely to get more engagement than a single image.
Social and Publishing Platforms Are Creating More Tools to Help Both Influencers and Brands Measure Their Efforts
The main social networks now all have integrated insights and analytics, even if they may be lacking in some features, but more are on the horizon. This is true not just of the networks, but of tools available to marketers. In order to create effective influencer campaigns and to move your marketing forwards, you need to see what is working and what isn’t working. We can expect to see new tools launching over the next year that will help us do just that.
How to stay ahead of the trend: Keep an eye out for every new option on the tools you’re currently using and for new tools that might be of worth for your brand. Make sure you know all the most important statistics you should be tracking when working with influencers.
Brands Are Starting to Work on Longer Campaigns with Fewer Influencers
Organic mentions from an influencer, when they talk about a product even though they aren’t being paid, are (practically) priceless for a brand. As well as this, content is consumed and moves quickly, so unless a brand is being talked about for any length of time, an audience is likely to forget all about it. This is why brands have started to focus their budgets and marketing efforts on a smaller group of influencers but work with them for a longer amount time – this increases a feeling of trust as brands are mentioned periodically, which can seem more authentic to audiences.
How to stay ahead of the trend: Focus your efforts on just a few influential people and continue to work with them over several months. Spreading your budget over lots of influencers for a short time will dilute your message.
Businesses Are Increasing Their Outreach Budgets
As spending on things like magazine advertising decreases, brands are using more of their time and budget to work with influencers and build relationships. We have already seen many brands favour outreach instead of advertising!
How to stay ahead of the trend: Ensure you have a budget for outreach and influencer marketing, however small this may be.
Influencers Are Expecting More Than Just Payment
For the top influencers, healthy payment for a campaign is a given, but they want more – something extra that they can share with their audience. This could come in the form of exclusive access to a massive new product launch, invitations to VIP parties and events, or even a collaboration on a new product, shade or style. For smaller brands with small budgets, expensive perks just aren’t possible but it can be nice to show your appreciation and respect in the best way you can.
How to stay ahead of the trend: Offering invitations to press launches and small blogger events can be a great option, while fun can be had when sending gifts to influencers in terms of their packaging and the amount of product options you’re able to provide.
By staying on top of the trends, you’ll be able to work smarter when it comes to influencer marketing as we move into 2019!
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