I have a prediction to make that I think will change the way businesses, from all industries and types, and of all stages of growth, will market in the near future. And it’s already happening.
Influencer marketing may or may not be a thing yet, but the concept has already begun to manifest itself in the current market. Marketers
are always should always be alert to trends and shifts in the direction of how to connect businesses to their customers. From billboards, newspaper advertisements, email marketing, etc. there is always a medium that can be used to accomplish this. In more recent memory, these mediums have become more social.
With Facebook blurring the lines of social networking platform and full-blown ad agency, and other popular networks following suit, both marketers and businesses will have to look towards other less saturated areas to deal with the ever-changing way consumers (people) choose to communicate, find information, and share the things they care about with others. Social media has created an environment in which the consumer and the business are using the same channels to be seen and heard; essentially giving rise to the Influencer. Instagram, Vine (rest in peace), and SnapChat have become the perfect incubators for these influencers to emerge.
Influencers are authority figures of a certain interest group that typically inhabit digital communities, have a significant following, and have influence over the other “citizens” of the communities of which they are associated.
People connect with brands, not companies. Influencers are brands themselves that are not necessarily tied to any one product or company. They are special because marketers view Influencers as the gatekeepers to the audiences they need or want to target. As a business, Influencers can activate your ideal customers with targeted campaigns to champion your product or service. Marketing from Influencer marketing resonates better with consumers because the messaging comes directly from a person they are already connected with, both in the digital and emotional sense.
But even the concept of the influencer is not new. Celebrities have been used to endorse products since the beginning of time. The only difference now is that the medium has changed (more social, peer-based, and digital) and one doesn’t need to be an athlete or actress.
If influencer marketing is my prediction for 2018, then my prediction for 2018 & 2019 is that influencer marketing will become a standard for even micro and emerging businesses. As with all things marketing, some things start out great and then become oversaturated. Just as Facebook has popularized their way of marketing through paid ads, boosts, and other campaigns we should expect the same to happen with Instagram and Twitter. As a business, anytime you have direct access to a large, captive audience you have the opportunity to leverage that moment to sell to them. Instagram, Twitter, Youtube and other social platforms have amassed large audiences that they can instantly tap into and convert. Identifying the popular voices among them and nurturing the relationship can be a key asset to designing more effective and impactful campaigns.