The phrase ‘Consumer is king’ has never rang truer than in today’s interconnected world, where one unhappy customer’s rant on social media is all it takes to bring a barrage of bad press to the company. As influencers, consumers today are a discerning lot who expect more than quality products and top-notch service – they’re looking for plenty of readily-available information packaged in the most concise yet engaging manner.
They want to be able to make an informed decisions on the value of a product or service, and will naturally become influencers or brand advocates if they like what they see. This has catalysed the rise of influencer marketing as a key brand strategy for businesses the world over. In this article, we take a look at nine trends in influencer marketing that are all the rage in 2017.
Influencer marketing to become a key brand strategy
Companies are increasingly recognising that influencers are a defining voice in consumer marketing, leading to a rise in the popularity of influencer marketing as a key brand strategy. Consequently, businesses are leveraging on the value of ardent brand advocates to spread the good word on their products and services, and generate precious leads that hopefully become a whole new market. Influencer marketing owes a big part of its success to the prevalence of social media across the globe. Advertising used to be an expensive affair that accessible only to established companies, but with the proliferation of social media, advertising to the masses as well as target audiences have never been easier, or cheaper!
Mobile shopping is set to grow
With smartphones being a must-have communication device and something that rarely leaves the user’s side throughout the day, it’s only natural that many are taking online shopping to the next level by making shopping through mobile devices the new norm. Knowing this, many businesses have stepped up efforts to woo influencers by creating mobile apps that allow users to review product or service offerings, make purchases conveniently, and use online coupons to obtain good deals or discounts. Additionally, websites are now designed to be mobile-friendly to reach consumers that are always on the go. These influencer-marketing strategies have benefitted tremendously from the rise of innovative technologies, and offer a smarter, faster way to capture the target market.
Social media will gravitate towards information
Although it’s often been said that a picture is worth a thousand words, many social media influencers today are leaning towards information consumed in the form of a story. It’s no wonder then that influencer-marketing brand strategies are shifting to social media platforms such as Instagram, incorporating interesting and edifying content with images of their products and services. Through this feature, businesses will not only be able to share photos and videos of their latest events and offerings, but also tell a cohesive and entertaining story in a slideshow format, which can be enhanced with text and drawing tools. This influencer-marketing brand strategy draws influencers looking to share value-added information across their social media network in a fun and engaging manner.
Videos to take centre stage
Instagram Stories is great for influencer marketing owing to the use of slideshows, but what it really tells us is that videos are making influencers everywhere sit up and take notice. More than ever, companies are privy to the fact that consumers today prefer consuming information through short videos. Videos as an influencer-marketing instrument have been around for some time already but today, videos are no longer expensive or difficult to produce, prompting even small time companies to employ videos as a key part of their brand strategies. One way to grow the outreach of videos to influencers is by incorporating in-store and on-shelf digital displays, effectively multiplying the number of avenues that offer information to consumers. Videos can also be disseminated through social media platforms such as Facebook and YouTube to further expand influencer-marketing outreach.
Attention spans continue to wane
Today’s fast-paced world has an obvious side effect, which manifests itself in the form of shorter attention spans. This is the key reason for the popularity of videos as an influencer-marketing tool. Videos offer a complete package comprising content and images in the form of a short story, easily ticking the boxes on engagement and information. As attention spans are expected to decline steadily in the future, brand strategists are now using a combination of popular social media platforms and mediums to draw influencers. This involves pairing short videos and infographics with visually-driven blog posts that contain pertinent information to aid consumers’ decision-making process. Search engine optimisation methods are also increasingly employed to expand outreach and generate high conversion rates and leads.
Memes and GIFs will flood the internet
Influencer-created memes and GIFs have a strong marketing value in that they go viral very easily in the age of the internet. The aim of influencer marketing, therefore, is to create these memes and GIFs with a critical call-to-action for influencers to share them across their social media networks, thereby garnering further outreach and publicity. Businesses whose target market consists of millennials or the younger generation would find this influencer-marketing method particularly effective.
Geotargeting to rise
Geotargeting refers to method of determining the geographic location of a website visitor and delivering content to that visitor specific to his/her location. The variables range from the country or region of the visitor, to the city, IP address or other criteria. For example, renowned beauty retailer Sephora, which has a global presence, offers different promotions, product samples and sales periods for customers according to their country of origin. This lends a touch of exclusivity to the influencer-marketing strategy and helps to draw more influencers across the globe, who in turn, will influence the influencers’ audience.
Niche expertise will be important
The rise of influencer-marketing means that people have come to rely on their peers, family and friends – their trusted circle – for specially-curated information that appeal to their lifestyles, interests and values. As a result, consumers will continue to seek out influencers in niche areas, who have the right expertise to help them make informed decisions on purchases. This means that brand strategies should be primed to interest and convert these experts, prompting them to share their enthusiasm with their audience.
Influencers look to AI and other developments
Artificial intelligence (AI) is creeping into everyday technology to assist people with tasks. Start-ups and established businesses are progressively budgeting for AI solutions to help strengthen their influencer-marketing strategies in a way that only technology can. Machine learning algorithms are a great help in filtering target audiences and learning about their preferences, giving marketers a clearer picture of how to angle their brand strategies.
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