Does Influencer Marketing Have a Future?

Does Influencer Marketing Have a Future?

29/10/19 | Clare Gleeson

A seismic change in the way brands advertise to their target markets in recent years came with the introduction of ‘influencer marketing’, but many brands worry that it won’t last forever. Influencer marketing is not a dying trend, but is undergoing an evolution centred on producing stronger content and authenticity.

Worldwide social media users are set to reach 2.96 billion in 2020, surpassing 3 billion users by 2021. For influencer marketing, the ability to purchase directly from influencer content will be made easier, shortening the customer journey. There will be more demand for clever collaborations between brands and influencers; the basic model of influencers competing for likes and followers is no longer sustainable. Consumers are overwhelmed by sponsored posts and crave authentic content over contrived, sales-driven posts plastered over their social media feeds.

Influencer marketing is not dying, it is changing. To use influencer marketing successfully, it needs to be part of a wider content marketing strategy, researched and planned to create an authentic, content-driven campaign over simple ‘read this and then buy this’ social media posts.

Social media activity increases daily, and the need for a strong digital marketing strategy is not going anywhere. Influencer marketing is still a large part of that. There is no need to run screaming from social media and influencer marketing; all brands and businesses can run successful social campaigns that collate the desired return on investment.

 

Is Influencer Marketing Dead?

In short, no. Influencer marketing remains a key player in marketing strategy, but many aspects of the typical influencer campaign will no longer be effective. We’ve gathered a few examples of what will no longer work for influencer marketing:

  • Failing to recognise the changes in consumer behaviours
  • Prioritising ‘vanity metrics’
  • Inauthentic content and influencer relationships
  • Not complying to sponsorship regulations

Failing To Recognise the Changes in Consumer Behaviours Will Render Your Influencer Marketing Campaign Ineffective.

Traditionally, increasing exposure meant increasing brand autonomy, and consumers would choose brands they saw all the time and saw other people using. Although this desire for brand familiarity has not disappeared entirely, it is not how consumers primarily choose what to buy, use and talk about. The consumer now researches more and forms more opinions to help them make sense of the vast amounts of choice available.

A person looking at social media on their phone whilst standing in a park outside, they are looking at content whilst walking.

For influencer marketing, this has changed how consumers view the content they are exposed to, and they are less likely to simply make a purchase from a sponsored post. Every day, brands face backlash when they get influencer marketing wrong, and the results can be embarrassing. The sales-driven style of influencer marketing has even been dubbed dangerous, and should be avoided moving forward. Create authentic content, and invest time in it, to attract consumers.

Generalising The Process of Influencer Marketing and Prioritising ‘Vanity Metrics’.

Choosing an overly general process or formulaic approach when selecting influencers for your brand will also no longer work. If you choose an influencer strategy based on ‘vanity metrics’, such as the one with the most followers or the most brand deals, you will not create a connection or elicit the response you are looking for from your target audience. If the influencer is not a good fit for your brand and image, their content will not promote your brand in an authentic way and you’ll be left with forced, weak content that will be overlooked by your target market.

Inauthentic Content and Influencer Relationships.

If your influencer marketing strategy reads like a business deal, you will not receive the results you are hoping for. If the relationship between you and the influencer is simply just to push products, the content will not be effective enough to convert. Think of how you can tailor your approach and the relationship you have with an influencer to ensure the content is more consumer-centric. A genuine relationship between influencer and brand will produce meaningful content and meaningful responses.

Not Complying with Sponsorship Regulations.

We highlighted the changes for influencers declaring sponsored posts in 2017, but brands and influencers are continuing to blur the lines between sponsored content and personal opinion.

This ambiguity surrounding sponsored deals and paid promotions is not being taken lightly with social media platforms such as Instagram, and posts can be reported and removed if the necessary declarations are not made clear.

Sponsored campaigning in itself is not disappearing as an effective tool in influencer marketing, but transparent content has become crucial to the message is accepted by consumers. Consumers do not want to be deceived, rather shown the options and left to make their own decisions.

 

What Will Work for Influencer Marketing in 2020?

Influencer marketing can still be greatly beneficial for promoting your brand or products, and should not be overlooked as something to capitalise on as a business.
Some initial steps should be taken to make sure that you’re using a future-proof influencer marketing strategy.

  • Understanding the term ‘influence’ and what this will mean for your brand
  • Content creation over promotion
  • Setting goals and creating a strategy
  • Measure results against your content marketing campaign

An image of someone entering social media app Instagram, ready to create a new post for content

Understand the Term ‘Influence’ and What This Will Mean For Your Brand.

The ability to ‘influence’ people is a strong statement to make about yourself, and yet hundreds of people, titled ‘influencers’, are sought after by brands and consumers alike to do just that. To make influencer marketing work for you, understand what message you want your target audience to receive and the actions you would like them to take. Create consistent content, build exposure slowly, and increase your trustworthiness and organic following. By working on a long-term strategy with an influencer who has a matching target market to your own, the content will send the right messages and not be contrived, forced, or too focused on pushing sales.

Content Creation Over Promotion.

By forming authentic relationships with your chosen influencers, you will be more likely to receive effective content from them. If the influencer understands your brand, the content they create for you will naturally have more personality and be more influential than the infamous ‘influencer jargon’ style posts. Additional creative content such as videos and reviews can build the credibility of your promotional content and will receive a greater return on investment.

Set Goals and Create a Strategy.

To create meaningful content with influencers that benefits your business and truly engages with your audience, set goals, objectives and KPIs. See influencer marketing as a branch of your overall content marketing strategy, and set your goals accordingly. Popular goals include expanding reach and awareness, increasing engagement, driving traffic to brand websites, and generating leads and conversions. Decide what you want the outcome to be first, and you can reap the benefits of a fruitful relationship with an influencer.

Measure Results Against Your Content Marketing Campaigns.

Make influencer marketing a part of your wider digital strategy; that way, you will improve your overall digital presence rather than run an isolated sponsorship deal. With a well-structured campaign that tackles your goals and KPIs from multiple angles and platforms, influencer marketing will continue to be effective for you. Measure successes and failures accordingly, just like you do with any other marketing tool, and there should be no reason why influencer marketing won’t work for you for many years to come.

 

Want To Make Influencer Marketing Work For You in 2020?

If you want to make sure you are using influencer marketing in the best way for your business and want it to be a part of your wider digital strategy, Active Internet Marketing can help make this happen.

We track, measure, and improve results, and you can be safe in the knowledge that your brand’s image and reputation are represented by the right influencers for you as part of your wider content marketing campaigns. Get in touch to help you get started on your future influencer marketing strategy.