The term ‘influencers’ is not something new in a technology-driven world today. Before I start, who or what do influencers mean? To put it simply, influencers are individuals who have a huge number of followers across different social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter.
Due to their ability to reach out to an enormous number of followers, it is common for brands to collaborate and target consumers through them – which is termed influencer marketing. But how effective are such tie-ups when brands can reach out directly to consumers on their own social media platforms, and how do we decide between macro or micro-influencers?
Here are some insights into influencer marketing trends 2018:
1. Numbers hardly represent anything
The following count of influencers hardly provides us with any information – especially with the prevalent use of buying likes and followers. Research has also shown that the numbers do not follow a formula: high follower count does not equate to more lead generation nor greater conversion of sales.
Perhaps an alternative that you can consider is thought leadership, which represents individuals within their community who produce authentic and quality work for the purpose of teaching others about something that they are passionate about. While these leaders may not reach out to a large pool of people, they possess brand appeal and can reach out more effectively to your target audience given their expertise about a certain product or service.
2. Integration of influencers
Businesses are turning their attention to the other side of the spectrum – towards mid-tier and micro influencers. Regardless of their following count, each group of influencers has their respective advantage. Some factors to keep in mind before you make your decision:
a) Objectives for influencer marketing: Is it for generating awareness or engagement with the brand? It is imperative that you map out your objectives so that you are clear in your engagement direction, and what are the outcomes that you hope to achieve.
b) Budget: Yes, that’s right. Money makes the world goes round. But fear not – you’re not alone in this situation of budget constraints. Keeping in mind your objectives and budget, you can always scale down on your projects. If your objective is for generating awareness but on a tight budget, you can engage a mix of influencers to efficiently reach out to your consumers.
3. The increasing need for transparency
Trust between consumers and the brand is not a new topic for businesses, but many often forget about this when it comes to influencer engagement. One thing that you should be looking out for is transparency – if an influencer has a partnership or is being sponsored by brands, there is social pressure for them to disclose it in order to establish trust with their followers.
Remember, it is always better to engage influencers who appeal to your consumers and will speak about your brand in a genuine manner without appearing too “salesy”.
After all that has been said, we are slowly seeing influencer marketing become an aggrandising part of a firm’s marketing efforts – and this trend is definitely here to stay. How can a business then best make use of this opportunity?
Before choosing between macro, mid or micro-influencers, the first step is to define your marketing objectives and what you want to achieve at the end of the day. It is important to set the direction clear from the start so that it will be easier for you to come up with metrics to track and measure your performance. The next step is to identify the problems that you are facing and then come up with innovative ways to break out from the present circumstance. Businesses face different kinds of concerns – ranging from budgetary concerns, identifying the right influencers for their brands or even learning to work with influencers.
A resilient and relevant brand will keep a constant lookout for the latest social media trends and happenings while strategising and coming up with unorthodox methods to deliver their marketing objectives.