Influencer Trends for 2017 - What To Look Out For

22 June 2017

Influencer Trends for 2017 - What To Look Out For

If content marketing is at the top of the marketing ladder, then influencer marketing is probably the highest rung – when done properly. Brands seeking to maximise the value of their influencer marketing strategy need to be aware of the dynamics pushing this area forward and, with that in mind, here are what we consider to be three key trends for influencer marketing in 2017 and beyond.

1. Trust and authenticity will be paramount

The concept of trust is closely related to the concept of authenticity. These days, it’s common knowledge that brands work with social media influencers and this in and of itself seems to be perfectly acceptable to social media users.

The problem comes when brands and/or influencers attempt to conceal the relationship and/or when an influencer’s content becomes skewed too much towards brand promotion at the expense of content creation and relationship building.

Successful relationships between brands, influencers and the influencer’s followers depend on genuine synergies between them so that influencers are promoting brands they sincerely love and to which their followers can relate. It is also important that the influencers integrate brand promotions into meaningful content rather than just shoehorning in adverts.

In fact, social platforms are taking on the challenge of how to enable influencers to share their content while not misleading their fans or dodging the question of whether their posts are sponsored content or not. Instagram, for instance, has introduced a way for users to tag a brand (giving the brand access to reach and other metrics for the post) while acknowledging that the post is part of a paid promotion.

2. Successful influencers will become niche experts, working in partnership with brands

Targeted advertising based on social media profiles and the platform’s algorithms is definitely improving, but brands looking to target particular niches, whether they are demographic or geographical, will probably be actively looking for influencers who already have a presence in that area, since the engagement and trust will already be in place.

Brands of all sizes will open up to the prospect of working with micro-influencers, people who have a small but relevant following. The influencers will have some degree of expertise, be it product knowledge, area knowledge or follower knowledge, probably at least two out of these three and will pool this expertise with that of the brand to create a genuine partnership of equals rather than influencers simply being paid to promote any given product.

3. Snapchat will adapt radically or lose ground to Instagram and Facebook Stories

Snapchat is far from dead, but it is certainly under a lot of pressure. Instead of spending hours analysing the technical differences between the platforms, let’s take it down to what matters to brands.

Snapchat built its brand on being different to the main social media platforms and quickly found favour with the much-coveted 18-24 demographic, where it still has a loyal following. Instagram is also popular with the young adult demographic, plus it attracts older users.

Hence, while Snapchat may be the place to go if you really need to precision-target 18-24-year olds, if you’re looking to target on other factors such as interests or geographic location. Those looking at a slightly more mature demographic will find a home on Facebook.

Getting the balance right when working with influencers can be a fine art. Brands must respect the following an influencer has built up, acknowledging the importance of their hard work in gaining a loyal and trusting audience. At the same time, brands need to get value for money and avoid working with wannabe influencers who will actually deliver little in terms of results. Tech advances, such as those now promoted by Instagram, as well as more traditional metrics and data from Analytics, can be essential for brands to manage and measure their campaigns, so that future spend is wisely invested.