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7 Influencer Marketing Trends That Will Rule 2018
Influencer marketing is nothing new. It continues to be widely used in print and TV ads for everything from the ubiquitous bathing soap to high-end cars.
However, in recent years, influencer marketing is witnessing sea change, thanks to emergence of e-commerce. As online retail gains momentum, swings in influencer marketing trends are imminent.
For those uninitiated, influencer marketing may sound esoteric. Hence, it is vital to fully comprehend what this term signifies and its relevance in modern marketing techniques.
Understanding Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing means having a known personality endorse your product, service, political agenda or social cause among others. Personalities who act as brand ambassadors to attract their following to patronize something are called influence marketers.
Online Business Directory provides a concise yet astute definition of influence marketers. It describes the term as: “Individuals who have the power to affect purchase decisions of others because of their (real or perceived) authority, knowledge, position, or relationship.
In consumer spending, members of a peer group or reference group act as influencers. In business to business (organizational) buying, internal employees (engineers, managers, purchasers) or external consultants act as influencers.”
Understandably, consumers are more inclined to trust a product that is marketed by a top personality. With burgeoning competition, market influencers play decisive roles in creating a brand following and its retention.
E-Commerce and Influencer Marketing
The surge in e-commerce has lent a new direction to influencer marketing. With products and services from around the world now easily available online, influencer marketing appears to have taken a body blow.
Especially since consumers are spoiled with choices and can opt for products that best suit their needs and budget.
However, top brands continue to invest in influencer marketing to ensure existing and prospective clients identify themselves with their offerings. These starkly contrasting scenarios will impact influencer marketing trends in 2018.
Top Influencer Marketing Trends 2018
Here are some top influencer marketing trends that may rule in 2018. Understandably, scenarios will differ in every market. Influencer marketing will also be impacted by spending habits as well as ethnicities, among other factors.
Influencer marketing cannot be taken for granted any longer. It can play a decisive role in the success of an organization, considering the stiff competition emerging worldwide in form of startups and small ventures that are keen to take on market giants.
Videos & Picture
Brands that wish to retain their topmost positions will have to diversify from traditional advertising techniques such as print and electronic media to Internet based platforms.
Here, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest appear the most promising for 2018. With pop-up ad blockers on the rise, it can prove difficult for a top brand to get its message across to Internet users. Print media readership is on decline as news apps continue to consistently chip away at this decades old tradition.
In 2018, we are likely to see a surge in number of pictures and videos on YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram where products, services and agendas are promoted by influence marketers.
Rise of Mini-Influencers
As number of online stores increase across the world, focus will shift from the ‘one size solution’ to more focused customer targeting. This will see the surge in number of startups and small businesses enlisting mini-influencers who can target a specific community or niche clientele.
Hiring celebrities as influence marketers is expensive and often outside reach of startups. As new ventures explore community focused marketing such as targeting students or ethnic groups, among others, they will rely on mini-influencers to swing market in their favor.
Additionally, large and established brands will also rely on mini-influencers to counter increasing competition from startups and small ventures.
Brands v/s Products
Till date, market influencers played a key role in promoting specific products, services or causes. In 2018, this trend is expected to shift with influence marketing being utilized more to develop brands rather than its offerings.
The reason: e-commerce and brick-and-mortar businesses will find it more rewarding to invest on promoting a brand, since most now have multiple offerings. Having individual influence marketers for every product or service will work out expensive, as companies continue to innovate and launch newer offerings in the market.
A classic example is smart-phone manufacturers who now focus more on promoting their brand with a market influencer rather than specific models.
The barrage of content promoted through influence marketing inadvertently causes a shift in consumer preferences in Business-To-Business and Business-To-Customer segments. Consumers, as explained earlier, are now spoiled for choice and tend to move to a different brand provided they can identify with the market influencer.
Hence, we may see a surge in spending on influencer marketing as competition gets hotter online and in the real world. Companies that engage influencer marketing will have to diversify their portfolio to include top decision swingers as well as upcoming or mini influence marketers.
Facebook Business and LinkedIn will see themselves play an increasing role in influencer marketing as popularity of these two platforms continues to surge.
Unlike earlier where influencer marketing was the mainstay on Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube, companies will have to step up their presence on Facebook Business and LinkedIn by promoting their brands through celebrities and mini market influencers.
Facebook Business is accessed by nearly two billion users. Hence, influencer marketing through this platform makes good business sense for all brands and non-commercial organization.
English has been the mainstay or lingua franca for almost every major influencer marketing strategy. However, as newer markets emerge in South America, Asia and Africa, the trend will have to shift to providing influencer marketing content in regional languages including Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Hindi, Arabic and Swahili, among others.
This would involve hiring local market influencers or celebrities popular in these continents rather than focusing on one or two globally acclaimed personalities. Understandably, this will increase costs.
Regardless of what platforms you deploy, influencer marketing content will have to be upgraded at frequencies unprecedented in history, during 2018. The increasing influence of bloggers and social media makes it imperative for all brands and non-commercial organizations to update their influencer marketing content at frequent intervals.
Additionally, influencer marketing content will have to shift in 2018 from celebrities or influence creators to value-for-money. While influence marketers will hold their dominance, their campaigns can fade into oblivion unless brands are careful to ensure that clients get value for money for their spending.
Every organization needs to monitor Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of its influencer marketing strategies and drives almost daily.
Additionally, they also should possess inherent capabilities to turn around influencer marketing initiatives rapidly, if they fail to fetch the desired Return on Investment (ROI) and deploy newer campaigns.
Mindset of consumers including those in the B2B segment, are easily swayed by the constant assault of influencer marketing campaigns from myriad companies and brands. Hence, it would be imperative for all organizations that engage in influencer marketing initiatives to continually monitor performance and upgrade rapidly.
Failing to go with the flow in influencer marketing can lead to severe and often irreparable losses for a company financially or mar an excellent brand image.
In 2018, your company may also need to revise its earlier influencer marketing strategies to suit different market trends that are emerging worldwide rather rapidly.