We’re no way near the formal version of what we know as influencer marketing. This fresh industry keeps working at its expansion with a current worth of $8 billion. The same Business Insider report shows us that by 2022, this already huge figure is likely to reach $15 billion.
In light of such whooping expectations, influencer marketing plans of the present have to welcome in the latest strategies. Fortunately, there’s no need to change an entire workflow. For this reason, we are going to expose all the trends that will shape 2020 and suggest hands-on adjustments for current influencer campaign best practices.
Despite the Latest Waves of Regulations, Influencer Marketing Remains a Volatile Industry.
1. Instagram and the Secret Order of Likes
Instagram is unflinching in its global undertake to start keeping likes away from public eyes. What began with a test for curving vanity metrics is now deploying at scale.
This is a colossal change in the very fabric of social media. Since the beginning of social platforms, users have always had counters for likes and shares within their grasp.
At the moment, public likes are playing a key role in influencer marketing reports. They show marketers which influencers perform best. Moreover, it’s easy to identify fake accounts (a steep difference between the number of followers and likes always gives impostors away).
By erasing likes from their existence, the entire approach to influencer selection and result tracking is about to change.
How to Stay Ahead
Replace public likes with new metrics – When one door closes, another one opens. The dawn of public likes is bound to give birth to a new generation of metrics. Find out which other indicators (number of comments or followers, sentiment analysis, conversion rates, etc.) can detect value for your brand. Choose influencers based on these numbers.
More micro, less to no macro – The stellar number of likes macro-influencers deliver used to be the main attraction for marketers. However, with that metric out of sight, the entire industry will shift towards clusters of micro-influencers. These accounts garner greater engagement rates, are more creative, and nurture tighter relationships with consumers.
2. Sparking Marketing Synergy
So far, companies have only tested the waters. A great majority of influencer campaigns ran as standalone promotions. We’ve seen dedicated Instagram giveaways, influencer and user-generated content all over the place.
However, these inspirational endeavors left no footprint on other channels. Their short-lived purpose was to challenge social media users only.
Now that influencer campaigns proved their worth, the time has come to integrate them into the bigger picture. All departments are to get in sync and create liaisons to achieve marketing synergy.
By bringing content marketing, social media marketing, and influencer marketing under one roof, marketers can launch powerful campaigns at multiple touchpoints. This way, brand awareness and conversion rates will be accelerating their growth rate at speed.
How to Stay Ahead
Bring departments together – Merge marketing departments together and make sure all tasks are set to the same goal. For instance, the next campaign’s brief should contain as many versions as the number of channels your brand is present on (eCommerce website, Facebook, Instagram, etc.).
3. Long- Over Short-Term Relationships
Another influencer marketing trend to come has to do with the quality of partnerships. And what do businesses look for when reaching out to content creators? Product and brand endorsements.
People perceive a recommendation as a multi-dimensional tool. What makes a product suggestion trustworthy is a genuine review backed by solid arguments. However, they become even more powerful when they have a history to back them up.
When influencers stay loyal to their recommendations, followers tend to take their word more easily. That’s why long-term partnerships yield better results. By contrast, one-off campaigns might contradict influencer’s past claims and dispel their trustworthiness altogether.
How to Stay Ahead
Extend influencer marketing strategies beyond the first post – Make your intentions clear right at the outreach stage. Build an online system that stimulates brand-influencer communication. For instance, Whatsapp group chats are the most widely spread means of keeping in touch.
4. Regulations to Tame Confusions
The Federal Trade Commission has unofficially recognized influencer marketing as a standalone industry by releasing a set of regulations.
This guidance put an end to what once was an untamed territory. Now influencers are to be transparent with their followers. Every collaboration with a brand needs clear disclosure.
Account owners can now mark their promotional posts with a Paid Partnerships tag. Commercial relationships can also be explained in captions or mentioned with an (ad) sign.
In doing so, FTC paved the way to a safer environment for influencers and brands alike. By making transparency the norm, the government agency is encouraging good practices. At the same time, the number of fake accounts decreases.
“Many consumers rely on influencers for their purchasing decisions. We want to do everything possible to ensure that experience is transparent.” Michael Ostheimer, FTC
How to Stay Ahead
Create an FTC-compliant policy – Most times, brands are at fault for their partners’ lack of transparency. Therefore, it’s best to prevent any mishaps in the first place. Draft an internal policy and use it to show your social media partners how to disclose their sponsored posts.
Turn your collaboration into a chapter – Not saying a word about what clearly is a sponsor to a particular account owner might be taken as insensitive. Therefore, a recommended approach is for influencers to name their partners as key characters in their posts. Create an exciting product discovery for influencers and let them tell their followers about it.
5. Vertical Videos Are Inevitable
Those influencers who’ve made it thus far without moving pictures can no longer avoid the inevitable. Users demand it, the Internet is getting faster (5G is a revolution in itself), and smartphones boast screens crisper than ever.
Vertical videos, as well as audio content, will make social users forget about photography in 2020. One look at the latest video marketing statistics, and it’s already clear that videos are the best at driving sales.
How to Stay Ahead
Turn to platforms that encourage videos – Spread your search to include influencers who excel at IGTV, TikTok or YouTube. Afterward, you can repurpose their video content as raw material for your website, blog, and ads.
Tap into podcasts – Audio content is gaining momentum right now. Therefore, let 2020 be the year when you partner up with podcasters. Since this is a young field whose rules have not taken a definite shape yet, it’s best to experiment with different formats and strategies. Also, don’t forget to aim for long-term collaborations.
Despite the latest waves of regulations, influencer marketing remains a volatile industry. Nonetheless, the opportunities content creators open for their partners make it worth it. To stay ahead of coming trends, your influencer marketing plan needs specific upgrades we’ve covered above.