A $2 Billion industry, influencer marketing has undoubtedly changed the social media game for brands. With the influencer landscape estimated to grow to a whopping $5-10 billion industry by the coming year, it’s undoubtedly a marketing force that isn’t expected to go anywhere. This growth is not at all shocking, considering the valuable benefits brands can yield with the help of influencer marketing.
One of the ways in which influencer marketing takes the lead over conventional advertising is that it helps brands reach out to their audience in a way that appears much more credible and authentic. Aside from this, influencers have a loyal follower base that shares many aspects of their lives with them and, this is why if an influencer recommends something, their followers tend to buy it. It is almost as if the recommendation is coming from their friends.
Here, we look at seven trends that brands must know in order to use influencer marketing in the best way possible in the post-pandemic world.
The Dawn of AI
AI is contributing to effective influencer marketing in a number of ways. AI has made the
process of identifying the right influencers much more convenient and time effective. Moreover, with the help of AI, it is possible to identify those influencers who garner better engagement and have fewer fake followers. This can positively impact your ROI.
Aside from this, with the help of AI it is possible to analyze a large number of image and video attributes, study comment sentiment to understand the kind of posts that resonate with your users, helping you to generate more relevant content.
Another great contribution of AI to influencer marketing is the onset of CGI influencers. Last year, India saw the first Indian CGI influencer, called Rajiv. These influencers are created by CGI or Computer Generated Imagery and learn to act like humans with the help of AI. Globally, CGI influencers have been regular at people’s instagram feeds. From Lil Micquela to Shudu, there are a number of AI powered influencers who are becoming immensely popular on social media.
No Visible Likes Would Mean New Metrics
Loyalty > Likes – The removal of likes will make it important for brands to see if an influencer has a loyal and trustworthy audience or not.
The quality of the content will take up greater significance. People are influenced by authentic and relatable content, and brands will have to identify influencers that produce this kind of content.
Comments will become significant as they showcase the conversations built up by influencers with their audience and help in tracking the engagement with them.Brands will need to work with influencers with a steady follower growth.
Insight on the increase in followers over a period of time can give a fair idea of how well the audience is willing to interact and engage with a particular influencer.
The Growth Of Nano Influencers
A nano influencer is an individual who has as few as 1,000 to 5000 followers.
While they might be ‘ordinary people,’ they have exceptional social media skills and a natural ability to influence.
Brands are now recognizing the close-knit and hence valuable bond nano influencers have with their audience. This can be incredibly powerful as opposed to micro and macro influencers who create content for large followings, but often little engagement.
Another benefit is that these influencers have a highly specific audience base and can be excellent for campaigns designed for a particular niche group. For instance, nano influencers are perfect for geolocated campaigns. Most of them have a strong follower base in their local area or region.
One of the biggest challenges when it comes to influencer marketing is we can never be certain about which influencer has bots for followers. However, nano influencers offer more credibility. More often than not, they are not driven by economic profit and have developed their following by sharing quality content.
Influencer Marketing is becoming an always on strategy
Influencer marketing is no longer a one-off strategy. In fact, researches suggest that marketers spend at least 25% of their digital marketing budget on influencer marketing because it is more authentic and has proven to generate better results. Moreover, influencers who regularly promote a particular product or brand appear to be more genuine and authentic This is why we are seeing brands collaborate with influencers on an ongoing basis, making them the ambassador of the brand.
In addition to this, an ‘always-on’ influencer marketing campaign helps brands build an extension to their in-house content marketing team and regularly highlight their own existing narrative in a new way, so as to reinforce the communication they want to convey to their audience.
Another excellent benefit of having an ‘always-on’ influencer campaign is that it helps you enhance your brand recall value. If a brand is visible on social feeds for a few weeks and then suddenly disappears it will have a hard time making a long lasting impression in the memory of the audience. With continuity, a brand builds a greater recall value in the minds of the audience – who will remember the brand because they are reminded of it constantly by their idol.
Data-Driven Influencer Campaigns
The purpose of a data-driven strategy is to evaluate and measure the performance of influencers and keep a check on how the campaign is going. These insights are used to increase the effectiveness of your campaign and in turn, lead to an increase in the ROI. In simple words, data-driven influencer marketing refers to estimating the ROI generated through the campaign based on the relevant statistics and data.
These data-driven campaigns work around a defined goal and are planned, keeping the precise outcome in mind. Based on these objectives, one can decide the platforms, influencers, and content. For instance, if the objective of the campaign is to increase brand awareness, it needs to drive brand mentions and product reviews. On the other hand, if the campaign objective is to generate more sales, a good idea could be to provide coupon codes and special discounts for influencers’ followers.
Aside from this, in order to optimize the marketing campaign, an excellent method is to bifurcate the project into parts and periodically measure the relevant metrics. One highly effective way to do this is through the AIDA sales funnel model. AIDA stands for Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action, and proposes different metrics that need to be considered through every step of the funnel.
Video content and influencer marketing work hand in hand
There’s no doubt that video marketing and influencer marketing go hand in hand. This is highly beneficial for brands since 72% of customers have stated that they would prefer to learn about a product through a video. Secondly, video content is also highly favored by the algorithm of most social platforms, making it possible for it to garner higher engagement levels.
Small, bite-sized videos with more collaborative and interactive content work better with the attention span of the current generation, and IGTV and Instagram Reels provide the best platform for this. Influencers are aggressively leveraging these platforms to create different kinds of video content, including branded videos. These videos are widely consumed by their audience owing to the absence of distractions such as ads.
Employees and Customers Double Up As Influencers
A brand’s two largest groups of advocates are likely to be satisfied customers and employees. However, many brands often ignore the benefits that can be yielded by leveraging their online presence. In fact, according to research conducted by MSL Group, brand messages reached 561% further when shared by employees vs. when the same messages were shared via official brand social channels.
These loyal advocates—whether its employees or customers help formulate a community and attract like-minded people to buy into the ideology of the brand.
Businesses now need to recognize that although these people may not have large scale followings, their familiarity and knowledge about the company’s products or services can more than makeup for their smaller reach.
There are advocacy platforms like SOCXO that enable brands to leverage their stakeholders and transform them into brand advocates. #ARM Worldwide specializes in these tools and can help brands spread the voice of their most loyal advocates and transform them into influencers.
So these were our picks for the best influencer marketing trends that are dominating the landscape in 2020. These trends are easy to accommodate in your influencer marketing campaign but can lead to impressive results.