2018 has been an incredibly busy year in influencer marketing. From fake follower accounts, to clear guidelines, and memorable influencer campaigns, the past 12 months proved that influencer marketing is here to stay - yet, its character is definitely going to change.
Here are seven influencer marketing trends that are going to dominate 2019:
Influencers as Entrepreneurs
Over the last few years, many influencers have begun to understand their success, and with more influencers building solid support bases, they will start to operate their online activity more like a business.
What does this mean for influencer marketing?
Influencers will be looking into differentiating their products and offerings, as well as diversifying and creating a business plan around their influence.
Instead of fully relying upon a pay per post solution, longer-term partnerships and small business plans are what influencers will be looking for. Whether it's developing a product or publishing a book, influencers are becoming the next entrepreneurs, as shown by the profiling over 500 highly influential people discussed in the Make an Impact book.
Also, influencers as a business is becoming widely recognized by authorities, with the launch of platforms such as Register of Health & Wellness Influencers to fully regulate the marketplace.
The Rise of Influencer Podcasts and Series
The consumption of video and audio content is rapidly expanding, and plenty of businesses are capitalizing on this trend.
Partnering with influencers in their existing podcasts, series, and videos will prove to be a seamless way to tap into their audience while they are engaged fully.
Podcasts and videos allow much more personal interaction and open up to opinion pieces, seamless features and personal discussions with the audience.
Look out for more and more influencer podcasts coming out in 2019.
Credibility Is King
Thanks to the new Register of Health & Wellness Influencers, we have had the chance to discuss with trained influencers about key lessons and discoveries when it comes to working with brands.
A lot of the time, the lack of education and confidence is what will undermine an influencer: "(the training) has given me the confidence to approach more brands and provided me with the skills to be clearer in my negotiations with them. It's also taught me the importance of well-substantiated wellness content and being as transparent and honest with your audience as possible" (Yasmin Wakefield, ROHWI member)
Clearly, establishing credibility early on is one of the most critical influencer marketing trends that will continue to develop throughout 2019.
Quality of Followers Is Queen
Not surprisingly, it's often the number of followers - in combination with engagement rate - that determine how much influencers charge per post. The higher the two metrics, the more money influencers can cash in.
But today, a large following is not everything. After numerous media outlets shed light on the issue of influencers purchasing fake followers (as opposed to building their audience organically), brands became cautious about the audiences of influencers they'd like to work with.
Luckily, brands can easily check if the influencer of their choice has fake followers. With platforms like Socialbakers, companies are able to get an instant overview of the influencer's key performance metrics and spot signs of fraud.
For example, marketers can view the influencer's follower growth over time and immediately see if there are any suspicious spikes or dips in their total followers number.
Reaching Relevant Audiences Is Priority
Brands realize that the key to a successful influencer collaboration is ensuring that the influencer's audience match their target audience. In other words: businesses need to double-check if they'll be able to reach the right segment through the influencers they work with.
As the industry matures, companies start to realize that hiring a celebrity is not always the best way to get their brand in front of the right audience.
Because micro-influencers' audiences are smaller, many companies are leveraging a network of influencers to promote their products or services. This approach enables them to tap into an audience that's still highly targeted and larger in size simultaneously.
A Democratic Marketplace
As influencer marketing is becoming a well-established marketing technique, we will likely see increasingly more emerging influencers, brands wishing to leverage their potential, and marketplaces connecting companies and influencers.
Today's social media users are tech-savvy and creative, which puts them in a great position to become influencers. There are plenty of amazing undiscovered content creators across social media who might rise to fame and open up to brand collaboration in 2019.
On the other end of the spectrum, brands will become more interested in leveraging influencer marketing. Thanks to the increasing number of influencers and the popularity of cost-effective micro-influencers, working with influencers will become more affordable than ever.
The new era of influence is a democratic one, and we could not be more excited to be a part of it!
The Future of Video and the Rise of IGTV?
Despite taking a much longer time than expected to catch on, IGTV could be a great way for influencers to combine more curated video content and brand collaborations.
After all, brands may start working with influencers who are active across a variety of video platforms, rather than just focusing on one, as they may have done in the past.
Fab is a business mentor, published author, influencer-specialist, best known as the founder of the Health Bloggers Community. Serial start-up founder and professional troublemaker, she is obsessed with avocados and helping people making an impact in health and wellness. Sounds like you? Get daily tips on how to grow your influence via the HBC magazine.
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