The social media marketing game is huge and has grown to the level where brands engage social media influencers to help their brands gain awareness and attract new customers. This is why it is important to be aware of the influencer marketing trends.

Influencers’ have reach and yields that are not to be underestimated. With social media playing a pivotal role in many people’s lives, it is no surprise that influencer marketing – a once supplementary marketing strategy, has grown to become a primary strategy employed by the biggest companies in the world.

What is Influencer Marketing?

You’ve probably heard of the term “influencers” on social media before. Influencer marketing is a collaboration between a brand and one of these influencers to market the brand’s product or service. The purpose of course is to tap on the influencers’ popularity to gain brand recognition and win customers from the influencers fanbase.

The question that you’ll probably then ask is “What difference is influencer marketing compared to using a celebrity?”. Influencers are different from celebrities in the sense that they can be anyone found on anywhere. They don’t have to be popular movie stars or A-list personalities. It could be a reputable journalist, a respected designer in the fashion industry or anyone in any industry really. What makes them an influencer is the following and reputation that they have because this is what gives them influence. They are known people or experts in their own domain and hence, this makes the content that they share the most engaging and noteworthy. Thus, businesses in their domains will look to reach out to use their influence on the particular demographic that they are targeting.

The Influencer Marketing Industry

Influencer marketing has grown into a $15 billion industry. Despite the problems faced by this industry, such as influencers with fake followers, it is still an industry that continues to grow rapidly. This can be attributed to consumer trends and behavior such as, 74% of consumers trusting social networks when making a purchase decision. Influencer marketing also has shown significantly high returns on investment for businesses with the average influencer marketing campaign earning $6.50 for every dollar spent.

While it is important to grow your business through digital channels like SEO, the influencer marketing industry is definitely a good alternative mean. The figures mentioned above should allow you to grasp how this industry is able to grow into an industry with the magnitude it has today. It should also very likely kindle your interest in trying to grow your business through such a channel. To help you in your influencer marketing journey, here are some trends that your business should look out for in influencer marketing for 2020.

Trend #1: Use of Micro-Influencers

When engaging in influencer marketing, typically businesses would want to be as cost-effective as possible. This means getting the most value out of the money spent on engaging these influencers. At the same time, businesses would require the meeting of certain KPIs like engagement, conversions and leads generated when utilizing influencer marketing.

This brings about the struggle of what is the appropriate kind of influencer to pick. Influencers can be categorized into three different categories: nano, micro, and macro-influencers. Nano and micro refer to the influencers with smaller reach – in the range of 1,000 to 100,000 followers.

Now, your first reaction is probably that nano and micro-influencers probably won’t get you enough traffic and awareness that your business is looking for as they could only get you 100,000 followers, at best. But, do bear in mind that costs for engaging in influencers are not cheap. Engaging influencers usually cost in the range of $10 – $25 per thousand followers for a post. Below is an influencer engagement pricing chart did up by Influence.co. You can see that the rates scale exponentially when it goes into the macro/mega-influencer range.

influencer.co marketing influencer rates
Average Sponsored Instagram Post Rates by Influencer.co

 If your business operates in a niche field that the micro-influencer is actively involved in or has a follower base that may have interest in, it may be more cost-effective for you to use these smaller influencers. This is because consumers these days desire engagement with the brand and it has been proven that engagement rates are higher with micro-influencers who have an engagement rate of 3.6% compared to macro-influencers’ 1.5%. Higher and more genuine engagement is also more likely to help translate the extra reach you’re getting into sales.

Engagement Rates Among the Different Influencer Categories (Source; Later.com)

Trend #2: Emerging Alternative Influencer Marketing Platforms

Typically when engaging in influencer marketing, you would think of Instagram as the undisputed king of influencer marketing and that is probably still true today. However, there are other platforms that are starting to emerge as major channels in influencer marketing.

Tik Tok, a short-form video social platform has seen a sudden growth over the past year, amassing 2 billion total app downloads. Its young user base – 66% of them under 30 years old, has allowed it to be a platform that is suitable for businesses targeting the younger age demographics. Major brands like RedBull have also engaged in smaller Tik Tok influencers. RedBull hired KeeOh, a Tik Tok content creator with 5,000 followers to create a funny short video involving their product, using humor to make the followers interested in its product. It is a perfect example of using smaller-scale influencers to gain cost-effective yields on TikTok by utilizing memorable content.

 Twitch, which is a video game streaming site, home to the best gamers and internet personalities, is also utilized by non-gaming related brands to advertise their products. For example, KFC has used one popular Twitch PUBG streamer’s (Dr. Lupo) channel to advertise their marketing campaign. This helps their brand be noticed by the viewers and create demand amongst them. Twitch’s platform, while primarily gaming related, also has streaming categories such as “Just Chatting” and “IRL”, allowing these streaming personalities to just stream live feeds of themselves hanging out and talking to viewers instead of playing games. The interactivity for influencers on these platforms with their audience is high because of the live chat in each streamer’s channel, which allows advertisers to also engage almost directly with the influencers’ audience.

These alternative platforms are definitely worth checking out as they may help businesses to be more specific in targeting and could prove to be more cost-effective in terms of gaining engagement and brand awareness.

Trend #3: Long Term Partnerships with Influencers

Another trend that will prove to be effective in 2020 for influencer marketing is long term partnerships with influencers. Brands are going to become more invested in influencer marketing and as such, they start to seek long-term partnerships with influencers instead of a one-time advertisement or endorsement.

Brands will start forming partnerships with influencers and engage them in the long run. This is useful as it creates more touchpoints for the brand with the influencers’ followers, allowing for more content to be produced. The result is a more cohesive campaign with a better brand recall among the influencer’s followers.

gymshark influencers marketing
GymShark’s long-term collaboration with Fitness Influencers helped them grew exponentially (Source)

One trend that will be useful to marketers in 2020 is to go beyond the series of influencers endorsed posts and have the influencers be involved in the products. Brands like GymShark were first to hop onto this strategy early on in their business. GymShark started off its marketing by sending out free samples of their workout clothing to influencers and eventually ended up collaborating with some of these influencers to create the influencers’ own line of products. The partnerships and collaboration with these influencers will help businesses to build a greater sense of trust and commitment toward the brand with their followers, resulting in long term benefits.

Trend #4: Using a Storytelling Approach

Generally in sales advertisements, companies tend to come up with catchy, memorable and short captions in order to ensure that its target audience is kept interested and that their attention is captured. In influencer marketing, however, it has become a trend for companies to do the opposite of the traditional advertising methods.

The use of an influencer would mean that businesses want to create a message that will resonate well with their followers. As such, the best way is to craft a story that details the influencer’s personal experience with their use of your products or services.

Instagram’s caption limit of 2,200 words has allowed influencers to write in detail their story and experience with using the endorsed product or service. Functions like Instagram Stories can also be utilized to craft a cohesive story regarding your brand.

Since followers of these influencers get a glimpse into their daily personal lives, they would be able to understand and see some of the struggles faced by these influencers. By showing how your company’s product or service helps these influencers solve some of the issues that they face or their personal experience with your product, their followers would be more sold and feel more involved with the product.

Trend #5: Utilizing Video Content

Video content in marketing is definitely hot with online marketers now with 87% of them using it. This is probably due to how video content gains on average, 135% more organic reach as compared to other forms of content.

This explains why it is essential to incorporate video content marketing into your influencer marketing campaign. Influencers are able to help you create an array of different video content, from product reviews to short-form stories, unboxing videos and even live streams

By creating content based around your product will allow these influencers to better promote your product and in the case of live streams, they can engage your target audience better as it allows for direct chatting with their followers. The result of these efforts is a greater appeal visually for your target audience.

Conclusion

Influencer marketing is a channel of marketing that should be tapped on due to the number of engagements and brand recognition you can create. These 5 trends on Influencer Marketing in 2020 should be able to help guide and give you an idea of how your influencer marketing campaign should be like.

You may wish to consult a digital marketing agency with these tips in mind to help you run your next influencer marketing campaign!