Instagram is a funny beast. Whether you realize it or not, it has ever-so-gradually reshaped how we’ve been living our lives. It has determined the colours and foods that represent an entire generation, totally changed how we interact with our peers, and done a complete overhaul of how we make our buying decisions. This is largely in part due to the brands, and influential individuals that grace our feeds and impact our consumer behaviours and beyond. No longer do all children dream of becoming doctors and ballerinas – for some, their lofty aspiration is to be an influencer.
An influencer: one of the savvy individuals with the thousands and millions of Instagram followers, that are being impressively compensated to post about and sing the praises of the brands they’re working with. The profession that was once scoffed at has now become the pipe-dream of the average person and bread-and-butter of any good marketing campaign. While the ways in which a brand can work with an influencer are endless, there are a few trends that are shaping best practices for these campaigns in 2018.
Businesses have gotten wise to influencer marketing. Knowing that 70% of consumers make their buying decisions based on the influential recommendations of their peers, this tactic has become a common one. Often, influencer marketing is added as an extra component to a brand’s campaign – a one-off that involves reaching out to an influencer and working with them in one way, one time. While this definitely gets the job done, it doesn’t leverage the brand-influencer relationship to its full potential. Rather than just using influencers on a campaign-by-campaign basis, build a relationship that’s always-on. This will help create a more sustainable program that benefits both the business and the influencer.
Influencer marketing used to be a bit lawless in terms of regulations. With zero disclosures, it was next to impossible to determine if an influencer was posting about a brand organically, or if they were getting paid for the shout out. This ‘wild west’ approach came to an end in 2016 when Advertising Standards Canada came out with a set of rules that influencers are now required to abide by. Given that 94% of consumers are more likely to be loyal to a brand that’s transparent, brands working with influencers should enforce these rules by providing clear instructions for disclosing sponsored posts and using appropriate tagging.
In 2017 we saw the rise of the micro-influencer and their work on Instagram. While working with these smaller influencers proved valuable, with their engagement being 6.7x more efficient than bigger influencers, and Instagram proving to be the platform of choice, 2018 will be the year of integration. Creating campaigns that make use of influencers from different tiers, and across different platforms will help brands reach a broader audience across platforms. This bespoke strategy will also help businesses to work more particularly in terms of their goals, budgets, and timelines.
It’s no secret to any marketer out there that video is on the rise. And for good reason! A brand’s key messaging is retained 95% more through the use of video. Creating unique and engaging video content with an influencer is a great opportunity to talk about your brand in different ways across a number of channels. Instagram stories reached staggering heights last year, with over 300 million users, creating an entirely new way for consumers to interact and engage with brands. Creating sponsored stories such as behind the scenes video or tutorials is an informal way for an influencer to talk about a brand more naturally, in a less contrived setting than a staged photo.
Metrics and Tools
As previously mentioned, influencer marketing used to be created off the cuff. Often campaigns would start without clear goals or metrics in mind, and conclude with little to no tracking or analysis. In this same way, marketers very often do manual searches on Instagram to find influencers that their brand could work with. These actions lack strategy and efficiency. Instead, it’s important to start a campaign with clear goals in mind. If you want to reach a new target or release a new product, you should be focusing on brand awareness. This can be measured by views and impressions. Rather than scrolling through your Instagram feed with the blind hope of coming across the perfect influencer for your campaign, partner with an agency like #paid or use software like Socialpeeks to help find the perfect influencer and manage the relationship, giving your team time to focus on execution.
When creating integrated marketing or PR campaigns for our clients, partnerships make all the difference. Collaborating with an influencer that not only makes sense for your brand, but shares the same core values is an incredible way to add clout to any campaign and get more eyes on the message you’re trying to convey. Give our 5 Influencer Marketing Trends to Watch in 2018 e-book a read for all the info on the current landscape of influencer marketing, and tips for best practices on each. Download it here.