It's been several years now since the advent of influencers as an essential part of the social media landscape.
From the beginning, these figures with large audiences have provided brands with a great way to demonstrate their products and services and highlight their best features before an audience.
Effective influencers command impressive fees for the service, and brands find the return on their investment regularly worthwhile.
Of course, adopting a new strategy into any marketing landscape will change the expectations and best practices used.
Influencer marketing campaigns have matured a lot in their strategies and choices of social media networks since they hit the scene.
The top site for influencer marketing is still Instagram, and that really isn't surprising when you consider that many believe it was the site where this strategy was born.
Let's take a look at what trends dominate this form of marketing today, as well as what other aspects of your online approach need to pivot to support an influencer campaign if you launch one.
Many digital marketers who work with influencers have switched to running a constant campaign with consistent influencers as well as new outreach, keeping an ever-rotating sphere of online promoters alongside their other digital marketing efforts.
This is a transformation from the traditional approach, which saw the use of influencers for short burst campaigns that would kick off marketing efforts or re-energize campaigns after their first wave of proliferation peaked.
This new strategy has more in common with the tradition of companies hiring spokespeople or pitchmen to provide a trustworthy face and voice that wasn't solely associated with the company in the minds of the audience.
It's historically been highly effective and pivoting to utilize influencer campaigns similarly makes sense for many brands.
Changing Content Creation Strategies
Another trend that has been widely observed is the expansion of the use of created content from social media influencers that includes blog posts, articles posted to exterior sites, and other efforts that complement their social media visibility.
This is happening because many brands are reporting their influencer-created content is getting better traction and as a result, a better return overall than brand-created content.
This pivot does not leave brands without their own content, though. Brand-created blogs and informational sites are still vital to marketing success, and eBooks remain a strong strategy as well.
While some brands might scale back their brand-led content, it is still a vital component of a great social media strategy.
Providing Context for Customers
One of the reasons a third-party promoter gives brands such a boost is because they get both exposure and a positive demonstrative review of the product's best features, presented to an audience whose lifestyle choices are in line with the brand's target demographics and their needs.
The demonstrative nature of influencer content provides potential customers with a surrogate view of the ways a product or service is useful.
It also shows how it interacts with other elements of their lifestyle. This allows potential customers to see both direct applications and potential.
The influencer can accomplish this without sounding like a sales pitch because it fits organically into the influencer's existing trendsetting practices.
- The advertising is less obtrusive and obvious
- Influencer interaction with the audience gives them a friendly way to comment and ask questions
- Social media personalities have authority because of their non-promotional lifestyle recommendations
As Forbes has pointed out recently, digital marketing is no longer just about showing the customer they need your product and where to get it.
Now, it's about showing how a product or service helps improve life, and consequently the emotional health of the consumer.
It's about providing potential customers with a better image of themselves. Nowhere is that more evident than in the rising popularity of video bloggers, podcasters, and Instagram stars whose primary purpose is to provide lifestyle recommendations and advice.
Working with these influential promotional professionals means understanding how to find the best influencers for your brand.
Remember, it's not always the size of an audience that is important. Sometimes, you will get further with a smaller audience that is more interested in your product or better served by it.
If you don't know where to start with influencers, it helps to work with someone who does. Luckily, many digital marketing companies now provide matchmaking services between brands and social media personalities that help you find an excellent fit for your business.