The expectation for 2018 is that there will be a paradigm shift in the way brands and marketing agencies include Influencer Marketing in their overall marketing strategy. As requests for Influencer Marketing initiatives increase, the consensus dictates that Influencer Marketing leads towards initiatives that drives not only engagement, but, more importantly, final sales. Essentially, Influencer Marketing entails using key personalities to create brand awareness in the market across social media.
Here are the trends that will dominate Influencer Marketing in 2018:
- Increase in Facebook Influencer Marketing
- Influencer Marketing will counter the growing influence of Online shopping on consumers
- Increased focus on reputation management
- Increased focus on Instagram as a trendsetter
- Long-term Influencer Marketer engagements
Increase in Facebook Influencer Marketing
Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, reiterated the need to overhaul the platform’s News Feed. The primary focus for Facebook is to strengthen positive human relationships on an instant, one-to-one basis creating an environment of “meaningful interaction.” However, by having the News Feed algorithm emphasize media stories, viral trends, and other advertorial-type posts, marketing and news stories crowded out personal engagements. Prioritizing posts with substantial interaction directly related to users’ family and friends will act as an organic filter aimed at restoring the personalized social connections emblematic of Facebook’s intended purpose.
Publishers, brands, and even small businesses maintain certain reservations concerning the move. Yet, for Influencer Marketing campaigns, this move may just be a blessing in disguise. Effective marketing campaigns on Facebook will now require brands to directly engage with their intended markets. Rather than foment that one-to-one interaction on their own, brands must look towards Influencers already managing that level of outreach and use it to their advantage. The result? More Influencers becoming sponsored brand ambassadors as brands and their respective parent companies create more Influencer Marketing initiatives within their campaigns.
Influencer Marketing can harness the growing influence of online shopping
Brands and marketing agencies constantly reevaluate their marketing campaigns in an attempt to affect the bottom line. Undeniably, Influencers mobilize their followers to act based on their reliability. The direct impact on a customer base is, therefore, considerable.
However, online marketing initiatives from go-to retail sites like Amazon, Alibaba or Jumia Mall can potentially eclipse an Influencer’s marketing voice just by the sheer size of their digital presence. Countering this trend forces Influencers to create captivating marketing content that expressly directs their followers to the stores, whether online or physical, where they can purchase a particular item. Doing so not only curries favor with major retail companies but also personalizes the way digital marketing campaigns are structured.
Increased focus on reputation management
Among the key effects created by globalization is a heightened sense of competition. As protectionist economic policies becomes a less favorable political option, consumers increasingly find their purchasing power shifting towards choosing among more diverse options for a particular product or service. This, again, creates intense competition that frequently turns reputational.
Influencer Marketing initiatives assume a value-added stance in this sense whereby the direct opinion engagement between the Influencer and their followers create an organic assurance of a product’s or service’s reputation. Word of mouth generates reliability and, in the modern digital age, Influencers represent the gatekeepers to that powerful market driver.
Increased focus on Instagram as a trendsetter
According to recent studies, Influencers–regardless of the number of followers they possess–wield a consistently faithful following on Instagram. They are the reason why the marketing professionals consider Instagram such a trendsetting force supported by 800 million active users.
So, what makes Instagram unique? Instagram posts are picturesque and people’s perceptions are influenced more by what they see rather than what they read or hear. As more consumers become tech savvy and trend-conscious while emphasizing the importance of authenticity, experts predict Instagram will cross the 1 billion user mark by the end of the year.
With such a sizable attentive audience at its disposal, brands will quickly realize the importance of Instagram-based Influencer Marketing campaigns both in terms of generating overall brand awareness and increasing sales, quite noticeably among the crucial younger demographics.
Long-term Influencer Marketing engagements
As brands integrate Influencer Marketing campaigns into their overall marketing campaigns, it is only natural that their in-house marketing departments will destine a portion of their budget towards it. Doing so eliminates the one-off commitments prevalent now while normalizing the use of Influencer Marketing.
In other words, Influencers will quickly grow into an in-house extension of the brands’ marketing department creating a more formal, long-term partnership along the way.
2018 represents a defining year for Influencer Marketing, one where its legitimacy as the digital marketing initiative of choice around the world will go unchallenged.