During the last five years, influencer marketing has grown into a very popular way to boost a company’s overall brand and product line. Working with industry professionals that have major cache in a particular field, or a high number of social media followers, is a great way to drive awareness and sales. However, due to heightened industry regulations and a few influencer debacles, companies should be on the lookout for a new era of influencer marketing in 2020.
The Dawn of the Micro-Influencer
Long gone are the days of Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton ruling the influencer universe. Sure, celebrities still can sell a lot of products. Still, many brands are starting to recognize the power of the “micro-influencer” or someone that is far more affordable and relevant to their target audience. Brands should look for subject matter experts within a particular niche that can help promote products or services vs. someone that just has a lot of online followers.
Brand Values Will Reign Supreme
Some of the most popular influencers have gained acclaim due to shocking or controversial behavior. But shock value can come back to haunt your corporation. Look to partner with influencers that align with your company’s values and overarching message. 2020 best practices will bring about more in-depth research into an influencer’s background, online presence, and ability to align with the values of the organizations that are hiring them to promote their products and services.
Long Term Relationships Will Become a Necessity
Until recently, most brands chose to work with influencers on a campaign by campaign basis. The nature of this set-up meant that relationships tended to be short-term and fleeting; resulting in consumers perceiving the brand as being inauthentic and nearsighted. As influencer marketing trends continue to grow, brands are coming to the realization that long term relationships with an influencer are highly beneficial. Consistent relationships with influencers allow that person to build goodwill and trust with consumers – ultimately leading to a greater ROI for all involved in a company’s overarching marketing strategy.
Integration Will Be the Name of the Game
Influencer Marketing has often been relegated to campaigns that had an online focus. However, as more and more brands struggle to capture the attention of consumers, integrated campaigns where influencers are present in print, video, radio, and TV will become the norm. Anyone considering partnering with an influencer should have a strategy in place to maximize the effectiveness of the influencer agreement by making sure they have an integrated presence in a number of marketing vertices.
More Regulations Are on the Horizon
While the world of online marketing is still sometimes referred to as the Wild Wild West, the FTC has taken a new interest in how influencers operate. According to FTC regulations, influencers now have to clearly state in all of their social posts that they are paid spokespeople for any brand(s) they promote. Additional regulations should be expected in relation to influencer claims on what a product can or cannot do, how the influencer really feels about a certain product, and how effectively disclosures are noted when an influencer makes a social media post.
Jackie Wright is the president of Rainmaker Integrated, a public relations and marketing firm with a specialization in restaurants, retail, hospitality, multifamily housing and niche healthcare.