In September, Red Aspen was center stage at the Miss America pageant when 26 contestants took up the company’s offer to try its signature lashes.
The Boise, Idaho-based beauty and cosmetics startup attributes its fast growth to an interest in false eyelashes by millennial women. However, its success at the Miss America pageant is an example of how influencer marketing can pay huge dividends for a company.
In the past few years, there has been a growing trend for influencer marketing—relationship building in which a company develops rapport with the people who can create visibility for their product or service, such as a niche blogger or celebrity. It has been extremely successful for companies like Red Aspen because one, company messages are woven into the influencer’s content and two, there is no ad blocking like in content marketing. It is also perfect for today’s social media–driven world.
According to a recent article by Deep Patel on entrepreneur.com, influencer marketing is growing by leaps and bounds every year. It is poised to reach between $5 billion and $10 billion by 2022. As more businesses begin to experiment with influencer marketing, it continues to evolve and adapt to the market. The author has shared 10 trends in influencer marketing that you should pay attention to in the coming year.
1. Increasing emphasis on influencer marketing.
Businesses are finding a solid return when it comes to influencer marketing. According to the Influencer Marketing Hub 2017 study, businesses are making $7.65 on an average for every $1 spent, so it’s no surprise that influencer-marketing platforms have more than doubled in the last two years.
2. Micro-influencers are making an impact.
As it turns out, bigger isn’t always better when it comes to influencers. Brands are homing in on the power of micro-influencers, or influencers who generally have fewer than 10,000 followers on social media. Micro-influencers are seen as more like “normal” people.
3. Focus on storytelling.
At its core, influencer marketing is about storytelling. The best campaigns are crafted when a brand partners with an influencer to create unique content that really engages the audience. Storytelling connects with customers and makes them more likely to make a purchase. One study from ad agency Hill Holliday found that not only are customers more likely to buy from a brand with a good story; they’re also more likely to pay a higher price per item.
4. Video content and live streaming are growing on social media.
We are short on time and attention, but we love to be entertained. This is why video marketing is growing across all platforms, and currently represents more than three quarters of all internet traffic.
5. Transparency in advertising.
Transparent advertising levels the playing field, so influencers and brands are all playing by the same rules. So make sure you disclose every paid piece of content. Even if the content seems like an obvious ad, you need to disclose the partnership in each paid post. One option is to use hashtags such as #ad, #sponsored or #paidpost to make it clear that a post has been sponsored.
6. Influencer authenticity and honesty is a must.
Audiences have zero tolerance for content that comes off as fake or halfhearted. Influencers should honestly connect with the brands they’re endorsing. This type of marketing only works if an influencer is authentic in how they promote a product; they must genuinely like the product or brand, or the campaign will fall flat.
7. Influencer fraud and fake followings.
As influencer marketing increases, a shady side of the business has begun to rear its ugly head: influencer fraud. This happens when influencers artificially inflate the numbers of their followers and likes. Up to 20 percent of mid-level influencers’ followers are likely fraudulent, according to a Points North Group study.
8. The rise of virtual influencers.
One emerging trend to keep an eye on is the use of carefully curated avatars as influencers. This trend was kicked off by the creation the internet’s first “fictional it girl” and virtual influencer, Miquela Sousa or Lil Miquela. Her very virtual existence is drawing both awe and ire as marketing trend watchers try to decide if they love or hate this new development in influencer marketing.
9. Instagram is still king, but don’t overlook emerging platforms.
Instagram continues to reign supreme as the most important social network for influencer marketing, largely because of its enormous user base and easily digestible video content. But it’s not the only platform out there. YouTube is also full of potential influencers, especially if you’re targeting a younger demographic.
10. Expand your pool.
Because most micro-influencers have a relatively small audience, brands need to find ways to multiply their influencer impact. To do this, they often look to expand the pool of influencers they use. Using multiple influencers increases product mentions and audience engagement with the brand. And using different influencers will allow you to reach different audiences, as well as tap into different influencers’ unique ways of framing a product.
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