Collapse of the Influencer Market
Brands have historically streamed millions of dollars into influencer outreach to place their products and services in front of an influencer’s audience. Recently, however, several brands have realized that the return on investment is not holding up to expectations. Marketers see how they could get better results from alternate marketing efforts. Be prepared in this environment for the collapse of the influencer market as marketers streamline their marketing spends to only a few select influencers. Middle-line influencers who drive awareness, but do not sustain a significant ROI, will disappear.
Instead of working on smaller campaigns with many influencers, brands now recognize the value in aligning with a select few big influencers they trust and who reflect their core values. Marketers will zero in on the influencers with the most power and use them in their basic marketing strategies. The trajectory for these few influencers will grow steeper and steeper as more companies turn to the select few to represent their brands.
Influencers Will Try New Things
To keep brands interested in their audience, influencers will need to try new things. They need to develop passions they can share with their audience that incorporate a brand’s core values. Some influencers will turn to signing, acting, or writing as ways to spread their influence. Many are going solo without record labels or publishing deals because they do not need the cumbersome distribution infrastructure required of influencers in the past. They may even compete with traditional media by doing even bigger campaigns for brands.
Brands Want Long-Term Relationships
Brands want an authentic experience for their users. To get this, they will establish long-term relationships with a select few influencers instead of creating campaigns around many influencers for one-off pieces of content. Marketers need to watch for a bridge between the digital and the real world that an influencer can span with their audience. A high level of interactivity with fans provides a more positive experience than a simple video. Brands want influencers who make a longer and more meaningful impression on their audiences.
Build relationships with influencers, and you will build a relationship with their audience. Consider how you can use long-form content with genuine emotional depth that connects with users. If your influencer loves your brand and appreciates your partnership, this will naturally translate into engagement with their audience. Using influencer outreach marketing as part of a long-term strategy will bear fruit over the long haul.
Look Beyond Likes and Followers
Brands need to search beyond the number of likes and followers an influencer has. Focus instead on engagement. Users are looking for more authenticity from influencers, so brands need to figure out what influencers like and what their daily routine is like to see if it matches their values. When brands search for like-minded top influencers, they are more likely to find novel ways to feature their products and services and integrate them into the lives and routines of influencers. This will drive more customer engagement.
Likes, clicks, and comments mean nothing if they are not generating revenue for your brand. You want to focus on driving engagement that generates top line revenue. If you are spending marketing dollars on influencer outreach but not driving leads and revenue, something needs to change.
What Does This Mean for Marketers?
Influencer outreach marketing is evolving. Marketers need more accountability of measurable results for their influencer marketing spend. Analytics let marketers create more meaningful and effective campaigns. Savvy brands use data and technology to watch an influencer’s audience response to branded content and to measure impact.
Another trend has seen influencers become more than just YouTube superstars. They operate on many platforms, even some smaller platforms like Musical.ly. But as more brands focus on a select few individuals for influencer marketing, campaigns will need to be louder and bolder to differentiate themselves.
Finally, marketers need brand ambassadors and should consider licensing deals. Consumers have more choices for digital content than ever before. Those influencers whose viewers watch them every day will be the top influencers with whom brands need to partner for strategic, long-term marketing campaigns. You might even find influencers moving toward building their own consumer brands through licensing, merchandising, or investing in new technology and media businesses.
With influencers associating with competing brands at a time, influencers have come under fire for representing too many companies. Marketers need to select their influencers carefully and weed out those who want to make as much money as possible, as fast as possible. Being selective about who wields their influencer outreach in your favor will help your brand stay authentic and preserve its reputation.
As digital marketing trends shift in 2018, your marketing campaigns need a healthy mix of strategies. You must pay attention to the possible collapse of the influencer market, or you may find your company forced to the sidelines. And with the need to engage more users and become more visible, you cannot afford to choose wrong with influencers.
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With more than 25 years of hands on marketing strategy and operations experience, Sheila Kloefkorn is dedicated to developing marketing strategies and plans that help clients succeed. Some of the world's largest brands have depended on Sheila for marketing programs that delivered tangible and substantial results. Specialties: B2B marketing, lead generation, lead nurturing, sales strategy, marketing strategy, competitive marketing strategy, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), mobile marketing, email marketing, website design, marketing plans.