Getting Real: Influencer Marketing Predictions
As the social media marketing industry has grown over the better part of the past decade, one undeniable truth has emerged: Change is inevitable and it’s important to adapt. New platforms pop up—think Snapchat and Vine—and algorithms tighten—thanks Facebook! And like in any other field, trends appear, as innovative thinkers craft nifty new ways to promote brands that seem to be effective—until Facebook tightens its algorithm again.
To keep you in the know, here are a few predictions we have for the “influencer” sector of the biz, one of the best methods in social media marketing right now:
There could be more avatars.
With graphic design software becoming more affordable and user-friendly, and people learning how to better exploit digital capabilities every day, there could be a number of non-human influencers completely thought up and created by ad agencies. There’s already Lil Miquela, a virtual reality construct with 1.5 million Instagram followers. This “19-year-old girl from Los Angeles” not only models cartoon clothing, but “voices” support for real-life causes, like Black Lives Matter. With avatar influencers, brands can conduct even greater control over their messaging because they can manipulate the influencer’s likeness, not to mention any image’s accompanying text, any way they please. Plus, they wouldn’t even have to put anyone new on payroll.
Users will rally around greater authenticity—and campaign managers will respond.
This observation might seem to completely contradict what we just wrote; however, the human race still seems to be quite a ways away from eschewing person-to-person interactions altogether. People will still want to know that other breathing individuals care about certain products, and that they can communicate the impact a brand has on their real lives. Of course, influencers have been doing that all along, but there’s something very jarring about a person who’s posted 8,000,000 images and never mentioned their affinity for high-end watches until one mysteriously appeared in a post tagged with the watch brand’s handle.
That kind of advertising is so obvious, even when it’s trying to be organic. It’s almost insulting, really. So the non-lazy marketers will begin to do a better job of finding influencers where the integration of their brand into the influencer’s posts will feel more natural.
Influencers will not only be those with massive social media followings.
If there’s going to be a greater favoring of authenticity, marketers will want “the right” influencer, not just the one with a million-plus followers. These influencers will be people who, when they post about a brand, it will feel genuine because their followers already know who they are and what they like, and the brand naturally fits their persona. The sponsored posts will then integrate more seamlessly into their feeds, ultimately generating better return on investment for the brand.