Content marketing and its spin-off, influencer marketing, are big business and, if you haven’t already got in on the game, it’s time to make the leap. You don’t want to miss out on what influencer marketing can offer you and your brand, so here are three key developments we expect to see:
Mobile is becoming even more influential
There are lots of subtle indicators that mobile is becoming increasingly important to the world of digital marketing. One reason is that the ability to geolocate and geotrack mobile users opens up all kinds of possibilities; brands are eager to take advantage of them and platforms want to do their best to give brands what they want. Hence we’ve seen the rise of “mobile only” features, some of which openly take advantage of location data, such as Snapchat’s controversial SnapMap and Instagram’s location stories. Some apps are even “mobile only”, with Periscope apparently being in no hurry to move to the desktop environment, while Instagram offers minimal functionality in the desktop environment.
Micro influencers and niche platforms are both becoming more valuable
Pretty much by definition, there will probably always be a place for celebrity name “social media royalty” and mainstream social-media platforms. But, right now, brands are beginning to grasp the benefits of working with “micro influencers” and are also more willing to look at niche platforms.
The fact of the matter is that brands are starting to understand that the number of people who follow an influencer is much less relevant than the influencer’s level of authority (for which, essentially, you can read: credibility), the level of engagement between the influencer and their followers and the overall value the influencer offers.
Similar comments apply to choosing social-media platforms. While Facebook can boast massive headline user numbers, brands are now learning to ask what benefit, if any, this has in practical terms for them and what their other options are. Facebook has certainly noticed the competition from niche platforms and recently seems to have been fighting a war on all fronts in response. It has bought Instagram, incorporated Snapchat-like functionality into its own apps and started flexing its muscles at YouTube and Periscope with Facebook Live.
Nevertheless, it is still a very open question as to whether or not this strategy will help Facebook to win the hearts and minds of influencers and their communities and hence increase its income from brands.
Professionalism has become paramount
In this context, the word professionalism really means “respect” rather than necessarily indicating the very highest production values. It’s still perfectly possible for people to get started on social media/in blogging with very basic tools such as a smartphone or basic digital camera although, as influencers “move through the ranks”, they will probably start to place more emphasis on the mechanics of production.
What matters most, for influencers of all levels, is that their followers trust them and engage with them and this means that every single piece of content the influencer publishes must show that it has been produced with care.
Influencers should also remember that, if an influencer fails to work with brands in a professional manner, the chances are the brands will move on to find someone else who will. There is plenty of increasing competition all the time in this space, so slicker content such as directed videos and professional photo shoots can attract the cash and attention of sought-after brands.