As New Year's resolutions are already falling to the wayside, marketing plans are solidifying and the pressure is on to present your brand to the world in the most effective way possible. Influencer marketing is still the hottest tactic out there and brands are continuing to invest in making it work for them. Problem is, things change. Fast. Rules, regulations, trends, technology…in the dynamic world of influencer marketing, everything can change overnight. So, at least for the moment, let’s check out what’s happening now.

Trust the Little Guy

If you’ve been following these trends closely, you might remember how the micro-influencer gained a lot of popularity in the past year. Typically defined as having less than 100,000 followers on social, these niche-specialized bloggers and social media stars are quickly becoming the go-to specialists for many brands, and for good reasons.
  • Loyalty and Trust: These influencers have spent years of hard work establishing trust with their readers, and it shows with their brand choices and integrity. If a product or brand doesn’t fit their niche or philosophy, they typically don’t agree to work with them. Authenticity is their currency, so if you have a good connection with them, they’ll usually do a great job representing you to that prized target audience.
  • Engagement: This is usually defined as an influencer’s effectiveness in generating a reaction with their audience. Likes, shares and views are typical metrics and these are highly sought after…but can be misleading. An A-List celebrity can garner several thousand likes in just a few minutes, but these are often more knee jerk reactions than true appreciations. A micro-influencer may get fewer likes but will often further engage their reader with answers to their comments and even share and link with other bloggers and social stars, getting more relevant eyes on your brand and that outstanding content.
  • Cost: Based on the above information, and the way marketers typically compensate influencers, micro-influencers are often way more cost-effective. This nifty infographic shows the efficiency of micro-influencer engagement, and why a passionate and engaging writer can do much more for less.

No More One and Done

When many brands start to dip their toe into influencer marketing, they often begin with a one-time, limited campaign, usually to check the efficacy of a marketing method they’ve never used. That’s fine, and most move forward when they see the success. A better and more effective approach is to look at influencer marketing as an ongoing strategy. Consider making a plan that works with the same influencers throughout the year. Statistics show that consumer action significantly spikes when an influencer mentions a brand three times. Take ongoing influencer marketing a step further and check out this article on utilizing influencers to optimize customer experience and sales; many brands are keeping these campaigns going throughout the year, producing evergreen content and brand amplification month after month.

New Year, New Rules

Gone are the days when brands and influencers run wild with secret relationships and undisclosed compensations. Now, everyone has to play by the rules or face the consequences. The Federal Trade Commission notably cracked down on several brands this year, and the message was clear: influencers must clearly disclose the nature of their post, and how they were compensated (either a written blurb or a prominently displayed hashtag at the beginning of the post, such as #ad). Compliance can be tricky, and an experienced influencer marketing agency can ensure it across the board. Another notable change to take note of was Facebook’s recent announcement regarding their news feed algorithm. In an effort to make “meaningful interactions” with friends and family a priority, posts that have lots of back and forth conversations and are shared within your friend group will be prominently featured. Conversely, public pages from businesses that don’t result in conversations and posts that blatantly ask for engagement (“Please COMMENT” or “Like and Share with your friends!”, for example) will result in much lower distribution. How do you keep up with these changes? Meaningful content and long-standing relationships with influencers who organically weave your brand into said content will continue to encourage those “meaningful interactions” with their audience without blatantly asking for them…which is the whole point of using influencer marketing. Keep your eyes peeled for further details! What does influencer marketing in 2018 look like for you? Join the conversation here, and get the ideas rolling!