Digital Marketing is constantly evolving with new marketing platforms emerging almost every day. It is a challenge for marketers to keep up with the latest trends and networks to stay ahead of their competitors.
One such innovative platform of marketing that has emerged is Influencer marketing which focuses on using key leaders to drive your company’s message to the larger market. Companies leverage the influencer’s popularity to get the word out to their audience.
81 percent of marketers who have used influencer marketing judged it to be effective. (eMarketer, 2016)
Influencer Marketing Framework
1. Define your Target Audience
The first step of Influencer Marketing is to define your target customers and understand their patterns of behavior.
2. Find the Right Influencers
Influence being contextual, you need to discover influencers who have the ability to impact your buyer’s decision.
3. Track your Influencers for Opportunities
You should brainstorm about topics like ‘What content do they write and share?’, ‘What questions do their followers ask?’ etc to know what is working for your target customers.
51 percent of marketers believe they get better customers from influencer marketing. That’s because the relationship began with trust in the influencer. (Tomoson, 2015)
As ‘Google Trends’ depicts, there is a continuous growth in Influencer marketing over the recent years. Influencer Marketing escalated in no time in the year 2016 because brands became conscious of the strength of social media joining loyal and engaged fans.
This line graph depicts rise in the popularity of Influencer Marketing in the year 2014-2015 (blue line) against the year 2015-2016 (red line).
Influencer Marketing Trends 2017
Influencer Marketing is at basic stage and undoubtedly, it is going to grow. Here are top Influencer Marketing Trends that experts foresee for the upcoming year, 2017:
Rahul Tripuraneni, Marketing Head, NNNOW.com
Influencer Marketing is currently at an all-time high not just across the globe but also in India. In some of our more recent campaigns, we reached out to influencers to test the waters and the results have made me think of the changes that I would like to foresee in the coming months. I’ve penned top 3 below:
1. Brands to Start Quantifying their Value
The campaigns will start becoming more ROI focused. Brands and marketers will start looking beyond the number of followers and/or the number of likes a post gets. Seriously, a like is not equal to a dollar. One way we decided to quantify their value was by releasing specific coupons for our influencers to see their true influence on their followers.
We are bound to see more such strategies being deployed by other brands as well.
2. Quality vs Quantity
A lot of top digital influencers are getting expensive. Marketers who have limited budgets will start looking at the trade-offs of having 10 top influencers (who come with their own tantrums) versus picking 100s of smaller influencers who might give a better ROI for their campaign, let alone increased buzz for their brand/product.
3. Look at ‘Actual’ Conversions
What this will hopefully lead to is influencers starting to build proven track records. Let’s face it – most influencers are good for a laugh or for entertainment. They cannot assure you a post of a product on Instagram resulting in the product’s sell out. With the stakes high, influencers should start putting their own skin in the game and start looking at actual conversions rather than just conversations.
Swati Bhargava, Co-founder, CashKaro.com
1. Long-term Engagement
Brands should engage influencers on a longer term basis rather than only for one two short campaigns. This will help in better brand recall and overall education of the brand.
As influencer marketing becomes more of a media buy, there is a need for stronger accountability. Currently, when a marketer runs a campaign with YouTube or Instagram influencers, success is measured by impressions. However, going forward as influencer marketing evolves, it is, therefore, essential to set standard monitoring tools to measure positive impact and conversions through influencer marketing. Measuring the number of clicks and the increase in brand engagement will become vital for the brand.
3. Organizing the Industry
Working with influencers is a very manual process. Marketers have to spend time scouring blogs and social platforms looking for the best people to represent them. In short, there is no process or protocol on how to do this; we require a more simplified and streamlined process, in order to ensure a successful influencer marketing practice.
Dr. Vikram Venkateswaran, Marketing Leader
Digital and social media have made the biggest impact on marketing in this decade. Specifically, reliance on influencer marketing is set to grow in the future, as customers seek more value from the products and services they buy. In this context, I foresee three major developments in 2017 in the area of influencer marketing that organizations should leverage for better customer understanding and engagement.
1. Redefine Influence
What influences an individual is very contextual. The Harvard Business Review says customers seek four broad categories of values from brands – Functional, Emotional, Life Changing and Social Impact. Each of these values, in turn, can contain as many as 10-20 sub-values that interest customers. Successful customer segmentation, therefore, should rely on understanding these values and leveraging them appropriately.
However, in practice, most of us tend to segment customers based on assumption and generalizations that rely on traditional methods of customer segmentation.
2. 360-degree Profiling
Today wrong assumptions may prove to be costly, considering the processes, methodologies, and tools available.
- The one process I would recommend to correctly define influence is 360-degree profiling. Building a 360-degree persona of the individual/prospect/customer.
- Creating a 360-degree view would involve initiating a process for capturing customer information at the point of sale and seeking feedback from retailers, distributors, partners and others.
- The data obtained would have to be integrated with other data sources such as social media, blogs, discussion boards, forums etc. This exercise can provide deep insights into key customers and organizations can give them contextual offers that have a greater chance of closure.
Picking the right influencer – Go Narrow, not Broad.
- Too often, companies tend to assume that influencers are synonymous with celebrities who have large social media following (number of Instagram likes or the page rank of their blogs etc).
- A true influencer is always trying to solve a problem.
3. Focus on Customer Engagement
For an organization, what does a customer merely following an influencer really mean? Nothing quantifiable, if the customer doesn’t buy the organization’s offerings. What they tend to forget is that meaningful engagement has to occur between the customer and the influencer.
This means a dialogue between the influencer and the customer – not mere following of the influencer on social media or subscribing to his/her blog posts. The energy drink Red Bull today follows a similar strategy, using extreme sportsmen as influencers.
I believe 2017 will herald a new era for India customers with more competition in the retail space jostling for wallet share, greater disposable incomes, and better growth. To reap the benefits, brands need to identify their customer segments, pick the right influencers and provide opportunities for interaction and engagement.
Amit Ranjan, Co-Founded, Slideshare.com
1. Innovate Ways to Tackle Mobile App Saturation
Mobile marketing has been on steroids the last few years, but that’s now getting stagnated. Time spent by consumers on mobile apps is not growing and regular usage of mobile apps is increasingly confined to a few top ones. Given this challenge, it is imperative for marketers to devise ways to tackle this mobile app saturation and figure out ways to re-engage consumers.
2. Embracing New Technologies
Upcoming areas like location-based marketing, IoT, augmented reality etc offer tremendous scope for unleashing unimagined experiences and marketing ROI delivery. How can marketers get started with harnessing these trends in their marketing programs?
3. Omni-Channel Marketing Strategies
Companies are increasingly adopting omnichannel marketing strategies given the limitations of doing standalone online or offline. How can marketing programs and messages be tailored to the omnichannel world to deliver a consistent and engaging message to consumers?
Jaydip Sikdar, Marketing Lead, Adobe
Influencer marketing is at the heart of content marketing. Marketers benefit a great deal from an influencer-focused approach in content marketing. CMOs are constantly exploring influencer route to strike content partnership that provides that provides mutual value. According to a recent research done by TrackMaven, content production has gone up by 78% in last two years, engagement has fallen by 60%.
Moving into 2017, I would like to see three existing threads covering up more ground:
1. Approach Influencer to Create Content & Distribute
More and more brands should loop in influencers to co-create content and distribute them to their respective audiences. This would help them improve credibility and extend their reach to new segments, thus delivering better returns on their marketing investments.
2. Short-Form of Content Will Work Well
Brands should focus on strengthening their assets inventory by generating more short-form of content including quotes, tips, pics, or insights from individual influencers
3. Get a dedicated Group of Influencers
Marketers should consider activating a dedicated group of influencers who would participate and contribute both short and long-form of content and build a strong content inventory
Avijit Arya, Chief Mogul, Internet Moguls
I love predicting the future.
1. Changed Definition of Influencer
For 2017, the definition of influencer will change these are not celebrities but people who have a niche targeted audience that your brand can benefit from and have no competition with each other.
2. Social Media to Realize Importance of Influencer Marketing
Facebook and other channels will recognize the importance Influencer marketing and charge premiums and allow you to post on people’s walls after charging you a few based on reach followers etc of every single account will have a dollar value and will be a smooth e-commerce exchange.
Influencer request forums and tools will cop up to automate influencer marketing making this the mainstream of social media after paid ads.
Excited to have the industry evolve from a caterpillar into a butterfly and then something.
Ravi Trivedi, Founder, PushEngage.com
1. Easy Tools to Calculate ROI
Easy Tools that help with attribution, and thus help in calculating ROI of an influencer marketing campaigns. Especially for campaigns that have multiple touch points, and require several interactions before a conversion event
2. Tools to Identify Right Influencers
Easier and Affordable tools to identify the influencers for your product/brand, especially the influencers which have medium to low reach.
Khushwant Sharma, Head Digital – LG Electronics India
Top 3 changes in my opinion around influencer marketing are:
1. Steady partnership between influencers and brands
I expect a lot of brands to formulate detailed strategies for Internal Influencer Management Programs to co-create content with influencers over associations ranging longer than a typical one campaign stand.
2. Performance against brand metrics
Beyond vanity metrics like twitter trends and reach in impressions, the industry would need performance against brand metrics viz uplift in awareness inquiries generated; content efficacy etc.
3. SaaS-based platforms
SaaS-based platforms to give custom recommendations to brands about key influencers and top platforms based on industry and geography.
Key Takeaways on Influencer Marketing Trends 2017
- Influencer Marketing Platforms like Tomoson and TapInfluence are making it a cake walk for marketers to target influencers.
- However, research should be your first step before you approach an influencer.
- Ensure that the influencer has wide reach and relevance. The influence marketing works so well is because the message delivered is authentic.
- Though Influencer Marketing requires investment and time but the returns can be amazing!
How are you planning to leverage Influencer Marketing in 2017?