Influencer marketing has lately come away from just celebrities, famous faces and high media personnel. It is commonly defined as using key leaders to drive your brands message or “get out the word” of your products or services, rather than the business directly portraying this message to consumers. These influencers are now your average tom, dick and Sarahs who interact with brands and relate to them on a professional level. Influencers must have a significant following base (Buying a million fake visitors doesn’t make you an influencer, it just lowers your standards), they must be trusted and have some sort of authority in their niche or area. Often influencers are seen as people who guide, help and as the name says; “influence,” rather than actual hardcore selling. The aim of the influencer marketing game is to create an emotional, and personal customer journey with the influencers. So today I wanted to talk about the key trends to look out for in 2018, things you should implement to keep on top of the influencer marketing game and a bit about the best ways to use influences marketing!
1. Branching out to be original
Common strategies for influencers are that they will share their views on social media, throw a few tweets about, OOTD (Outfit Of The Day) on Instagram, write a review or shoot a review video… In terms of strategy, there are certain ones that will work best with certain products or services. However, with the rise of “stories” on several social media platforms, influencers have more space to be creative! For example, using skits or acting out scenes they have created, making tutorials, influencers are putting in that extra effort, to ensure businesses are getting the most out of their money and time. This year we hope to see this creativity aim higher with billboards, commercials and large scale ads. Proving the influencer world isn’t just a side show or side job for the people behind the creativity. Stories may still dominate the heights of creativity but it seems influencers will be going all out (If they have the means), just to show they can go as big as the traditional methods, but more creatively, adding more to that customer journey.
2. Look Long-Term, One Night stands never end well for either party
Whenever influencers are mentioned, it is most commonly a one off thing, promotion for a new line or update product or taking part in a campaign to introduce a new brand. Whilst one off engagements maybe good for testing the waters and are less time consuming for brand owner, it is quite common for things to get lost in influencers feeds or sites, posts to get hidden or overlooked, Therefore 2018 is looking to be the year of long-term partnerships with influencers. The analogy of one night stands represents the loyalty and value the influencers hold, and therefore their followers and fans will hold. By signing contracts or doing long-term deals with influencers, brand owners can retain a link with the followers and fans they are targeting, keeping them unto date through a channel they already trust and follow, rather than hoping from influencer to influencer each time something new comes out.
3. Working back to front
So whilst many of us may brand owners work with influencers as them working for the brand owners, it can also work the other way. The rising trend of influencers approaching brand owners is set to fly high in 2018. Influencers are known for their (As noted above) ; followers, fan base, loyalty and credibility, they know what their audience wants and more often than not their content, videos, pictures and opinions represent those followers. Therefore, by working back to front, brand ambassadors need to incorporate INFLUENCERS work in their promotional strategy, using their videos, quotes and pictures, to reach the right people. Personally, I am more likely to watch an ad or video that has somebody i know, or a youtuber i follow is in, than a random actor. In this sense, one could denote that perhaps we are moving away from celebrity and famous faces influencers? They still play a role in society and advertising, but how much of a role?
4. Students as influencers
As we boom into the millennial era, a lot of brans are targeting brands to their needs, interests and desires. A good example of this is the recent “Unicorn” and “Disney” Fad amongst the older millennial, whilst people like myself and the generation above may associate Disney and Unicorns as a thing for children, the millennial of today are carrying their childhood into their young adult lives, things like Unicorn and Disney house-ware, Unicorn Looks, Disney themed products and lifestyles. These aspects of what seem childhood life now need to be catered to these young adults! One way to do this is through the millennial themselves, don’t look for influencers, make influencers. Bu using students as influencers, even though they may not have a high follower base or be an authority in a niche, their engagement rates will no doubt be high in the sky, they have a whole educational institute to engage with? A great example of this is make-up brands. Students are more conscious about their appearance these days and more often than not, the era of baggy hoodies and sleepless nights doesn’t exist in the first few years of university (Occasionally the final year/s). Students are becoming more and more aware of how they look on a day to day basis, therefore it is a perfect place to create a few influencers for make-up brands!
5. Making sure you use the right influencers
So this might seem common sense but not every Bettie, Maryam and Laura will make good make up influencers, just because they write a cosmetics blog and make make-up tutorials. You need to assess whether they currently use your product/s, their views, their feedback and whether or not their style will fit into your campaigns or goals. Will their influence on the consumers you are targeting allow you to work backwards and penetrate their influence, interest and “hype” from consumers into your other marketing channels? You need to make sure they hold the same values as your brand. Although the main bulk of influencers are the latest “Millennial’s”, youngsters and fresh generation, if your brand pleads for a more traditional approach, your influencers need to represent that. Don’t be blinded by the number of viewers, look at the levels of interaction and whether THEY fit your brands values too! Work back wards from the influencer, to your brand.
So there you have it, the influencer marketing era train has left the station and will be choo-choo’ing through 2018! So you better hop on before it’s too late! Whether you are creating or working with influencers, it is a great method for all brands to get out there 🙂