The Essential Evolution of Your Influencer Marketing Strategy

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Influencer marketing has been around for decades, but it is always evolving.

The rise of social media has seen an explosion in the popularity of using influencers, with many companies implementing an influencer marketing strategy into their plans for brand growth.

However, as competition intensifies, the game is changing.

If you want to get the most from partnering with influencers, you need to know just what is going on in the current digital landscape.

How Influencer Marketing Has Changed

Today, you need more than a decent Instagram presence to be a credible influencer. Brands expect more, and as a result, influencers need to work harder to deliver the goods.

Influencers Are Buying Followers

Advertising giant Unilever is leading the charge for greater transparency with influencers. This is in response to the flux of “fake influencers.”

People are buying up bot followers to pad their social media accounts in an effort to dupe brands into believing they have a much larger audience.

By doing this, these influencers command a higher paycheck, which will inevitably yield a poor return due to this fabricated following.

Content Reviews Are More Common

Growing concerns about brand safety motivates companies to demand more, as they want to make sure they get value for money.

It’s becoming more common for brands to ask for content reviews, which means influencers could find themselves redoing work more often.

Considering 94% of consumers will show loyalty to brands that are transparent, it’s a smart move to make sure your influencer partnerships run smoothly.

5 Steps to Implementing a Successful Influencer Marketing Strategy

As with anything in marketing, a solid plan will boost your chances of success. With influencer marketing, that concept holds true.

1.    Define Your Vision of Success

Your influencer marketing strategy needs to lay out the end goals, and then chart the journey towards achieving them. You must have a clear vision of what you want before hiring influencers.

2.    Find Influencers Who Are a Good Fit for Your Brand

Ideally, you should look for someone who:

  • Is trustworthy

  • Is passionate about your products

  • Has a genuine audience that is large and engaged enough to help you achieve your goals

  • Knows how to create great content that reaches your target audience

3.    Look for Long-term Partnerships

If you only focus on one-off projects, you’ll always be wasting time looking for a new influencer. Save yourself the time, money, and stress by developing long-term partnerships with authentic influencers that can help build your brand over time.

4.    Focus on Instagram

The world loves visual content nowadays, and it’s likely to stay that way. More than 90% of influencers prefer Instagram over any other platform.

So, if you want an influencer marketing strategy with a mind on the future, then Instagram is your best bet.

5.    Be Unique

As with any other channel, influencer marketing is becoming congested. To cut through the noise, you need to find unique ways to connect with your customers.

Cosmetics giant L’Oréal decided to work with a group of micro-influencers instead of more well-known social media stars. The gamble paid off, as it helped them nurture trust with a much wider audience because people found the micro-influencers more relatable.

The Right Influencer Is Worth Finding

Some of the trust has been lost in this form of advertising because of misleading engagement and dishonest practices by some influencers.

However, having an influencer marketing strategy is still a viable, cost-effective method of spreading brand awareness and establishing a position of authority in many industries.

The stakes may be higher now, but if you can find influencers who are aligned with your brand and goals, they could become great brand ambassadors and take your business to the next level.

Why Social Media Reach is Really Dying

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Having trouble reaching your audience on social media?

You’re not alone.

Over the past decade, social media marketing has become one of the most powerful tools in the modern marketer’s toolkit, allowing businesses to build an audience with relative ease.

However, times are changing, and it’s no longer easy.

Social media reach is being hampered by several factors, from saturated markets to an ever-evolving digital landscape.

Now, your company must adapt to survive.

How the Facebook Algorithm Has Changed the Game for Marketers

At the start of 2018, Facebook announced some big changes were afoot.

The platform was to shift focus back to connecting people, rather than giving preference to media consumption.

The new algorithm effectively put marketing content in the backseat, which was bad news for marketers hoping to grow their brand on social media.

Since then, some companies have reacted well, while others have made some mistakes. Specifically, they’ve bought into the widespread belief that organic social media reach is dead. 

One of the Most Harmful Social Media Marketing Trends

Research from BuzzSumo found that content engagement on social media has dropped by 50% since 2015. With less interaction on their posts, many companies have turned their attentions to other marketing streams, such as email.

While that in itself holds vast potential for building a loyal audience, you shouldn’t close the book on social media marketing just yet.

A common trend now is for companies to manage their social media marketing in-house, as opposed to hiring an agency. While this certainly cuts on costs, there are drawbacks to employing an avid social media user fresh-out-of-college.

Sure, they’ll know a few things that the rest of the office might not, but when it comes to strategy and marketing skills, you could find yourself falling behind the competition.

Unfortunately, many small businesses persist with this venture, which more often than not, leads to a flood of low-quality content that delivers little return on investment (ROI).

5 Strategies to Boost Social Media Reach in 2018

So, just how can your business deal with the issue of declining social media reach?

Here’s what you should be doing:

1.    Video

When Facebook say video content boosts engagement, it’s worth taking note.

Facebook Live is another option. Although it doesn’t have the same social media reach as native videos do, studies indicate it still trounces text posts.

Native or live, video content is the indisputable king of content now, and it’s here to stay.

2.    Visuals

From GIFs to infographics, catchy images to thought-provoking photos, visuals make a big difference to your content, as proven by the 87% increase in engagement.

3.    Ask for Engagement

Sometimes, to get more likes and shares, all you need to do is ask. But beware of bait-like posts. Instead, aim to incite genuine discussion and conversation.

4.    Paid Ads

With social media reach on the wane, many marketers are exploring paid advertising.

Facebook ads don’t cost much, and with some clever strategy, you can target specific segments of your audience. Ultimately, this ensures your content reaches the people you really want it to.    

5.    Use Brand Advocates

Social media marketing still has the power to build networks. By reaching out to friends, family, and trusted associates, you can get help to amplify your content.

Teams who post their content on personal pages can harness this potential, as people are 16 times as likely to engage in content from a friend rather than a brand.

Quality Over Quantity Is What Matters In Social Media Marketing

Social media reach is not what it was, but it isn’t quite dead yet.

The game has changed, and companies must evolve with it.

Focus more on quality rather than quantity.

By embracing new social media marketing strategies, your company can still build a strong brand on social platforms. Over time, these methods will deliver a solid ROI, and help you achieve real growth.