The world of influencer marketing has matured. Costly Instagram posts from the Kardashian-Jenner family might be on the decline, but the influencer marketing industry is growing faster than ever. And it’s a critical component of any brand’s marketing toolbox.
Influencer campaigns used to be a gamble. Marketers and brands based their success off of vanity metrics and follower counts. Now, there’s a more scientific approach to creating successful influencer campaigns, and it’s no longer about how many likes you get.
In 2020, marketers will get even more personal with their influencer campaigns. It’s all about the micro-interactions. Brands are starting to understand how crucial it is to focus on the right audience. It doesn’t matter how many followers you have for a campaign if none of them are interested in what you have to say.
Influencers roles are changing
Most people don’t like ads. The targeting feels invasive, and delaying the content you're trying to watch is annoying. Brands rarely hit the mark when it comes to engaging creative.
This is where influencers shine. They function as the perfect go-between when it comes to reaching a brand's target audience in a way that feels natural. In fact, 4 in 10 millennials say their favorite YouTube content creator understands them better than their friends.
Less about vanity, more about ROI
In recent years, marketers have become much more focused on return on investment (ROI). In other words, fewer vanity posts from big accounts and more long-term campaigns from smaller, niche creators. The value of tapping into this network is the number of touch points your brand can achieve. On average, U.S. smartphone users pick up their phones 52 times per day.
Marketers have started to realize the importance of building ROI-positive campaigns. A shotgun approach doesn’t work with influencer marketing. You need to know your audience. It’s not about how many impressions your campaign generates but about the quality of those impressions. This is where influencers truly shine. Connecting with influencers to promote your product allows you to reach audiences you know are engaged in a particular niche.
Micro-influencers on the rise
Celebrities make waves, but micro-influencers move oceans. Marketers have relied on niche creators to reach specific target audiences for a while now, but expect to see even more of this in 2020.
Social media gives anyone with a smartphone the power to become a creator and build a following. Yes, many topics are oversaturated, but one benefit of this influx of new content is the crossover influencers have between audiences.
When it comes to micro-influencer campaigns, few do it better than MVMT. They’ve built a massive network of photographers, filmmakers, athletes, fashionistas, foodies and entrepreneurs who innately embody their philosophy.
It works so well because most people follow more than one of these influencers without even thinking about it. Creators inevitably like to engage with other creators. Photographers like cool photos. Athletes like to stay current with sports. Entrepreneurs like to learn from their peers. Building a massive network of niche influencers like this allows MVMT to reach the same user with multiple touch points from different angles.
And the best part is that it feels way more natural than creepy voice-targeted ads appearing in your feed after a conversation with your friend.
Stay on top of trends
In the field of marketing, it's vital to stay ahead of trends and stand out. When it comes to the world of influencers, I’ve personally learned the most by attending events like VidCon and IMCX (Influencer Marketing Conference & Expo).
VidCon started out as an event for creators and influencers to build relationships with brands and their platforms. They’ve definitely added meat for the industry pros as well, but it’s still a little more focused on helping creators develop in the community.
IMCX is tailored specifically to marketers (Full disclosure: I’ll be presenting on the rise of LinkedIn as a content platform and the opportunities it presents for influencers). The conference is composed of high-level business executives and advertisers who have seen big success from influencer campaigns. It’s only the second annual event, and the speaker list already includes marketing juggernauts like Jaeson Ma, David Meltzer, Drieke Leenknegt and Shaun Neff.
So, while you should continue following popular influencers on Instagram, follow some niche creators, too. The next time you’re scrolling through your feed, pay attention to ads and influencer spots. See what sticks out and what you slide past without a second thought. The best campaigns are a mix of both. They don’t stop you in your tracks, but they encourage consideration; a subtle touch point that you'll recall down the line, hopefully prompting you to buy. That's the key to success in the influencer marketing space.