Current Trends in Influencer Marketing

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This year, brands flocked toward influencers to sell their products and services to engaged audiences, and the trend is growing significantly. We're seeing Facebook and Instagram make changes to their algorithms. It is good practice to start planning for paid support in influencer content on all social channels. To put things into perspective, here are some eye popping stats about influencer marketing:

  • Influencer marketing delivers 11 times the ROI compared to traditional digital marketing.
  • 90% of consumers surveyed noted that they trust recommendations from people they know, while 70% trusted consumer opinions posted online.
  • Twitter users reported 5.2 times increase in intent to purchase when exposed to influencer content.

If you're considering incorporating influencer marketing into your strategy(or already have), these are some trends we should expect to see in 2018.

Following the FTC Guidelines
Transparency is one of the biggest trends you'll see this year. Brands and influencers are being more transparent about their partnerships. 88% of marketers require influencers comply with the FTC regulations and disclose paid sponsored content.

In April of last year, the FTC stated that influencers should properly disclose their relationships to brands when promoting or endorsing products. Avoid facing legal troubles and make sure the influencers you partner with are clearly disclosing that they're being compensated for promoting your brand.
This year, you can expect influencer marketing to be even more regulated. Make sure your influencer marketing campaign is in check:

  • Avoid using #ad. People don't really care for ads because they assume they're not genuine. However, the FTC shared that there are other ways to disclose partnerships. For instance, XPartner, where X would be your brand's name (i.e. #NorthcuttPartner).
  • Review every single paid post. Don't assume that the influencer added a hashtag to their post because you simply asked. Check every piece of paid content and make sure they noted that they're being compensated.
  • Disclose every piece of influencer paid content. The content can be an obvious ad, but reassure that they disclose the partnership in each paid post.

The ROI Influencer Marketing Challenge
It's no question that ROI is a crucial parameter for sustainable success and marketers are increasing investments in influencer marketing each year. 70% of marketers state that determining the ROI of their influencer marketing programs was their biggest challenge last year.

According to Crystal Duncan at Edelman, "this year you're going to see more campaigns that have specific calls-to-action to purchase, or test-and-learn programs with social media platforms that allow users to easily buy products shown in influencer content".

Check in to make sure you're incorporating the best practices into your strategy and enhance your influencer marketing ROI:

  • Put an emphasis on trackable content. Facebook pixel and  UTM tracking are two of the many social media monitoring tools that are out there. By assigning specific parameters to your influencer, you can track the actions of every visitor they drive to your site.
  • Measure the important metrics. Increasing number of social media subscribers, sales, email newsletter subscribers, and referrals; just to name a few.
  • Give influencers a promo code to share with their audience. Redeemed coupons can directly attribute the revenue to that influencer.
  • Your goals should be SMART. Make sure your goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.

Creating Authentic Content with Purpose
Authenticity is key for influencer marketing messaging. Almost 90% of marketers state that the top benefit of influencer marketing is the ability to create authentic content for their brand. The general conception of influencer.

Giving influencers creative freedom to keep content authentic, will make posts less likely to be dismissed by users. Murray Newlands, co-founder of Tribe, said, "[Authentic content] will provide an opportunity for brands to find even more novel ways to feature products in the lives and routines of influencers and drive customer engagement".

It's best practice to make sure your 2018 influencer marketing campaigns don't look like generic ads and more like content marketing. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when executing authentic campaign:

  • Choose the right influencers. When choosing an influencer, you need someone with a genuine approach that showcases value to both the brand and influencer. For example, if you're looking to generate more engagement with your brand, you'll want to work with micro-influencers since their engagement is much higher than big-name celebrities.
  • Make sure the content is useful and entertaining. Think about putting yourself in your customer's shoes. You don't want to see an influencer inserting your product in their content just to sell. You want to see a story behind the product, and how it resonated into their life.
  • Leverage creativity. There are major advantages with the organic storytelling method. For example, unboxing a package on Instagram LIVE is a great way to promote your product. When your audience is engaging through these channels, it's more candid, less staged, and elevating the organic quality.

Avoid Limiting Your Influencer Marketing
Brands and marketers tend to associate influencer marketing with Instagram. This study shows almost 93% of influencers chose Instagram as their #1 choice of platform to use in 2017.

Even though Instagram is at the top of the list, don't ignore every other channel. Why? Since the demand for influencer content on Instagram is increasing, it's likely that the influencer will drive up their price because of perceived value.

However, there's not a huge demand for advertising on Facebook or Snapchat. So pricing will be significantly less compared to Instagram. These are some benefits you can receive from advertising on different platforms:

  • Generate a better ROI. Pay less and get better conversions.
  • Utilizing your budget efficiently. Instead of using all of your budget on Instagram, you can decide how many influencers you can work with and how much you can afford to spend on each of them.

Make the Best of 2018 with Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing works, which is why brands are investing more time and money on influencers. However, it's not magic;  just because you pay someone with 100,000 followers to share your product on social, doesn't mean you'll get increased sales overnight.

Getting an ROI on your influencer marketing is all about process and consistency that plays by these ever-changing rules.  Build a data-driven system and iterate. Feeling stuck? We can help -- reach out below for a completely risk-free consultation.