The influencer marketing landscape has evolved over the past few years, and is a key strategy for increasing brand awareness, boosting reach, and making sales. 93% of marketers now use Instagram influencers in their marketing strategies; with 69.8% planning to increase their influencer marketing budgets.
For brands looking for influencers to build a relationship with, it’s no longer enough to simply approach the Instagram influencer with the biggest following. Brands must build a partnership with someone who embodies the same values and identity in an authentic, cohesive way. It’s also important for influencers to expect the same.
Increasingly, brands are turning to a data-driven approach in their influencer vetting procedure, putting faith in the data’s concrete returns rather than an influencer’s “vibe”. Instagram is bigger than ever for brands looking to increase their share of the market, and influencers will always have a role in this.
Here are five of the biggest marketing trends that influencers need to know about.
1. Fake Followers Are A Losing Strategy 🤖
A huge Instagram following looks good on paper, and there’s undoubtedly a short-term benefit when someone visits your profile and sees those big numbers. Yes, it can be tempting to leverage spam bots and fake followers – but that’s unsustainable in the long term. Fake followers don’t engage with your content. And guess what that means? It’ll lower your engagement rate, which will limit your post distribution.
Never underestimate the value of an authentic following and an audience that’s genuinely engaged in your content.
What’s more, brands are vetting Instagram influencers more carefully these days and any hint of a fake following can be off-putting for a brand that values authenticity. It’s getting much easier to tell who pays for followers with tools like HypeAuditor. Even buying followers in your early days before transitioning into an organic trend can leave telltale signs that will have brands running a mile.
2. Seeking: LTR 💍
Influencers who work with brands over longer time frames will ultimately build a stronger relationship: one that’s more fulfilling to both sides of the arrangement. That’s why we’re going to see long-term relationships with brands becoming more important.
Find brands that meet your aesthetic –– and your values –– and aim to work with them on a long-term basis.
“New influencers naturally want to network with as many brands as possible, but this is rarely a winning strategy in the long run. You’ll be stretched too thin and overwhelm your followers with content, weakening your engagement.”Yolanda Fu, social media expert at PaperFellows and Australianhelp.
3. The Rise of Female Gamers 🎮
The soaring popularity of live-streaming has meant that video games have moved out of the bedroom and onto the screens of hundreds of thousands of viewers around the world. And because gamers are so good at connecting with a young audience, they have an essential role to play in influencing across all social platforms.
At the same time, the gender breakdown of gamers is moving towards equality, meaning that female gamers are a rapidly growing demographic.
Women make up 45% of U.S. gamers.
Moving forward, content is going to have to strive for inclusivity for it to appear anything other than outdated.
4. Content Quality And Safety ✍️
Traditionally, content quality on Instagram has been wildly inconsistent and wholly unregulated. Advertisement bodies used to, broadly, leave Instagram influencers alone, meaning that the industry has grown without limits on the kind of content that’s shared.
This can be dangerous for brands who may unknowingly be attaching their name to content that breaches the law or stretches past moral limits for appropriate content.
For the impressionable audiences that brands are seeking to reach on Instagram, this has become unsustainable. The outcry about brands being associated with problematic influencers can have huge revenue implications, so businesses are going to be looking closer than ever before at who they’re working with.
Influencers need to be switched on to what their legal obligations are when producing content.
5. Monetization Is Diversifying 💵
“The opportunities for influencers are multiplying across the web as social platforms are increasingly offering avenues to releasing exclusive paid content,” says David J. Pearman, tech writer at Boomessays and Stateofwriting. “Influencers need to be ready to diversify into new markets as these new business models emerge.”
For influencers, having a variety of revenue streams allows you to be more selective about which brands you work with.
Influencers Are Brands In Their Own Right
Businesses around the world are looking to influencers to boost their brand, but influencers need to remember that they are also their own brand. Cultivating this brand can make or break any influencer’s career, so falling into traps like leveraging spambots or ignoring contemporary trends in demographics are going to be huge setbacks.
Ultimately, the opportunities for influencers are steadily growing – if you keep up with the latest trends and follow these tips you’ll be a leader, not a follower.
Are you a brand looking to work with influencers? Check out our seven tips for working with influencers.