Did you know that in 2017, brands are spending over $1 billion on influencer marketing? And that’s on Instagram alone. This is no surprise as data has shown that influencer marketing is bringing over 11x Return Of Investment (ROI) compared to your traditional marketing.
Forbes even stated that influencer marketing is the most effective form of marketing. This is due to the rise of ad blockers and a decline in radio and TV viewership.
So what exactly is influencer marketing?
Influencer Marketing is a form of marketing where social media figures who have an active community gathered around them, are being engaged by brands. They have a following because of their strong influence in their passion and the messages they publish to the public.
However, that doesn’t mean you can spend your dollars blindly on any influencer to get your brand message or your product across to their audience.
Finding the right influencers is not a natural process for many brands.
Furthermore, with the existence of bots, it’s hard to measure real results as it gives inaccurate data on the number of followers and engagement the influencers have.
Like any other form of marketing, there are trends that you should be aware of.
Here’s my list of top 9 influencer marketing trends that you should know of (especially if you’re in Singapore).
1) Disclosing Post is an Ad (FTC guidelines)
In 2017, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the United States of America (USA) has made it a requirement for influencers who are engaged by brands for a sponsored post to be transparent and disclose their relationships to brands when promoting or endorsing products via social media.
If you’re not following this guideline, you might face legal consequences.
Instagram has also made it easier for its users to declare that a particular post is a paid advertisement by having the Branded Content Tool.
Source: Instagram Business
Good work Instagram!
Now, remember that this is a guideline by the FTC in the USA, not Singapore. There is currently no news on whether the Singapore authorities would require our local influencers to do the same thing. Nevertheless, it’s better to know that this is currently happening on the other side of the world.
2) An Influencer-Brand Relationship
Brands often forget that the influencers they are working with are humans just like us.Influencer marketing should not be viewed as a transactional-relationship, but a human-relationship.Click To Tweet
Think long-term, especially if the influencer you’re working with resonates well with your brand identity and message.
To see success with your influencer marketing campaign, treat your influencers as partners rather than an external contractor. This will improve loyalty and more enthusiasm when they’re spreading your brand across to their audience.
Think about it! When you build that relationship with the influencers and make them feel good, they might become evangelists to your brand and be willing to voluntarily spread the good word out there for you.
The results of having a great influencer-brand relationship is that the influencer would “give a human voice to brands that benefit from the authentic relationships between the influencer and its audience.”
3) Why Limit Yourself To Instagram?
Based on the 2017 data, Instagram is the platform choice for 93% of influencers.
Instagram has been the platform of choice for quite some time, but do take a look at the data below on what other platforms the influencers are also working on.
Why is this important?
Pricing – On Instagram, influencers charge their sponsored posts based on the numbers they have (e.g., following, engagement, demand). If they’re engaged by multiple brands to publish a sponsored post, their rates will most likely increase.
However, over on other platforms like YouTube, Twitter or Facebook, that same influencer might not have as much following as they have on their Instagram account. Thus, their rates will be lower on other platforms as compared to their Instagram rates.
Here’s a thought: Consider working with your selected influencers on platforms that other brands are not working on. Yes, you might not be reaching the same amount of people as they would on Instagram, but you might generate a better ROI (if you’re paying lesser and getting better conversions).
Here’s another thought: Always do your research and find out platforms your target audience are using. It might not be Instagram after all. It might just be blogs, LinkedIn or even Pinterest, and you can engage those influencers that makes the most sense to you.
4) YouTube Influencers
Large brands used to pump in loads of money into YouTube advertisements. You know, the ones that only allow you to skip after 5 or 10 seconds at the start of the video. However, in 2017, large brands have reduced their advertising budget for YouTube.
This is primarily due to the fact that the brands do not have control over where their ads are shown. Most brands mentioned that they do not want their ads to be shown before or during a video that might be promoting hate speech and extremism.
Although these brands see it as saving a whole lot of marketing dollars, YouTube content creators saw their income from ads radically reduced to over 50%.
In 2018, YouTube content creators are making up for the lost revenue by working directly with brands through sponsored videos such as product reviews and partnership deals.
From our perspective, YouTube influencers have a reach with better engagement from a younger demographic. Based on a recent study, about 70% of teenage YouTube subscribers say that they can relate to YouTube content creators more than traditional celebrities.
The data also shows that 6 in 10 of YouTube subscribers would follow the advice on what to buy from their favorite YouTube content creators over their favourite TV or movie personalities.
YouTube content creators usually know their audience well enough and understand what messages would resonate with them, making branded campaigns seem more genuine.
5) Instagram Stories Continues to Be Effective
Instagram stories continue to reign over its competitor, Snapchat Stories. In fact, they manage to surpass them within a year.
A considerable part of its’ success is due to influencers making full use of the app’s features to creatively engage and gain followers.
Many brands we’ve worked with at Plexxie view Instagram stories only as a sub-feature, of Instagram posts. On the contrary, we believe that Instagram stories is as compelling as Instagram posts, although it is published for only 24 hours.
Many influencers have mentioned that Instagram stories allow them to engage their followers further on a personal level. For example, sharing what goes on during their day.
Brands are also thinking creatively and can create ads on Instagram stories, including hashtags, “swipe-up” links and adding Call-To-Actions. This allows influencers to develop creative content for the brands and driving results.
Psst, here’s an idea: One great idea that we’ve come up with at Plexxie is to have brands use influencer marketing to conduct market research for them using Instagram Stories.
In mid-2018, Instagram Stories launched the “Ask me a question” feature that has gotten influencers and their audience to connect on a whole new level. Let’s say the influencer’s audience is your targetted audience. Ask the influencer to post your product on their Instagram story and ask their audience questions like “Would you buy this?”, or, “What do you think about this?”.
You can make full use of the data collected to improve your product further!
However, when you are using Instagram Stories, remember that the content will only be published for 24-hours. To make Instagram story posts as personal as they can is the most effective way to get their audience to react to the brand. Also, by making it more personal, there isn’t a need to spend much time designing the ads.
6) Creating Content That Is Useful
When you think of branded Instagram posts by an Influencer, what’s the first image that pops into your head? Pretty sure it’s an influencer taking a photo holding your product or taking a picture at your business store. Don’t forget the accompanying generic sales caption about how much your product or service has helped them.
That’s boring, typical and you kind of get a feeling that they’re only saying that because they’re getting paid.
The trends in 2018 are becoming apparent; influencer marketing shouldn’t be looking like paid advertisements; instead it should be similar to content marketing.In fact, storytelling will be the heart of influencer marketing in 2018.Click To Tweet
Instead of a generic post mentioned above, you can go a bit more in-depth into your product or service.
For example, publish a video instead of a review by the influencer of your product or service. The video can be a comparison to a competitor’s product or a how-to guide on using your product.
The most important thing to remember is that the audience trust the influencer’s opinion, making them authentic and genuine in their audience’s eyes. That’s why influencers are also known as Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs)!
As a marketer, do not forget your basics of marketing:Great content has to educate, entertain, and evoke a certain level of emotion to the audience.Click To Tweet
7) Larger Pool Of Influencers
With the increase of influencer marketing all over social media platforms, everyone is starting to realize that anybody can become an influencer, even with a 9-5 day job.
Yes, we’ve worked with multiple influencers who have day jobs, some you wouldn’t even believe.
For brands like yours, it means more influencers to choose from! So there’s no excuse on why you can’t try it out. Although you might not be able to afford the top influencers in Singapore or in your region, you can still afford micro-influencers (approximately 10,000 followers and below).
Reminder: Again, it’s not about the number of followers they have. More reach does not equate to more conversions of paying customers.
8) Tools For Influencer Marketing
What are the most significant challenges you face when starting out with influencer marketing?
Based on our experience, brands come to us with the same questions:
How do they find and get in touch with an influencer that works for them?
How do they manage the relationship with the influencer?
There are multiple paid platforms out there that allow you to find and manage your workflow with influencers on your own. In the USA, this includes platforms such as Tapinfluence.
Just like social media marketing, brands started off by managing directly on platforms like Facebook Ads. However, with more demand and complications throughout the process, companies like Plexxie can help by handling the end-to-end process of influencer marketing.
With the rise of influencer marketing, brands are also finding it difficult to find authentic and credible Key Opinion Leaders. Believe it or not, some of them do buy fake social media followers, likes and comments.
To some of these influencers, it’s just part of their expenses to improve their posts. Buying followers, likes, and comments will still allow the influencers to maintain a healthy profit margin anyways.
When you work with “fake” influencers, you’ll get nothing in return for your investment. I encourage you to be more cautious when selecting the influencers you plan to work with. Here at Plexxie, we also make use of paid tools like Social Blade and Phlanx to track the followers and engagement count on a daily basis.
From there you will then be able to tell if their growth is truly organic or not.
9) Measure Your Data for ROI
Clients often come to us, and the first thing they would ask is the potential ROI for their upcoming campaign if they engage us to run their influencer marketing campaign.
Based on the data, S$6.85 of revenue is generated per dollar spent on influencer marketing in Singapore, providing a higher than average ROI.
However, to ensure you have a healthy ROI on your campaign, you have to commit to tracking your data consistently.
There are various types of data you can track, and it all depends on how you design your influencer marketing campaign, goals, and objectives.
One exciting project we have previously worked on was to promote a branded hashtag for Funan, a Singapore shopping mall owned by CapitaLand, through Instagram influencers.
While it was nice to have Funan’s Instagram account have an increase in the number of followers (700 organic followers within ten days), the primary goal was to increase the engagement on the use of their hashtags to the influencer’s audience.
Thus, that was the most critical data that we needed to track.
What we did next was to measure the impact the influencers had on the campaign and compared it against our KPIs. This includes post insights and other data that are available to us.
Many marketers are still doubtful whether influencer marketing works. Well, it does. And that’s the reason why so many brands have spent over $1 billion in 2017. However, depending on your goals and objectives and where your business is headed to, it might not be the right time for you to run an influencer marketing campaign now.
Are you still unsure about influencer marketing? Drop us an email here, and we’ll get back to you as quick as we can!
Regardless, you have to continually stay on top of the trends to ensure your marketing campaign will be successful.
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