This past week, the world of social took over a new stage — our television. Dubbed #SocialMediasBiggestNight, The American Influencer Awards Show was unlike any award show before. It was an entire evening dedicated to the celebration of influencer accomplishments. This was just one way that influencer marketing has been stepping off Instagram and into our homes. 

These influencers are experts in their respective categories, from beauty to food to mommy blogging. They’re both credible and authentic, people you can rely on as a trustworthy recommendation. 

The influencer industry is booming: The market is projected to reach between $5-10 billion by 2020. With 92% of people stating that they trust recommendations from friends and family over any other type of advertising, it’s easy to see why more brands are building relationships with influencers. 

D2C growth marketers may be heads down with their holiday campaigns now, but with 2020 quickly approaching on the horizon, marketers need to think of how they’ll be injecting influencer marketing into their digital strategies. 

As marketers build their 2020 plans, they should check out these four trends to help inform their influencer marketing strategy.

“Micro” Influencers Will Continue to Gain Popularity

Due to rampant fraud in influencer marketing, companies looking to invest in this channel lean heavily into the old adage, “quality over quantity.”

Micro-influencers have smaller followings than the mega or macro-influencers (with the likes of internet celebrities like Lil Miquela, Kandee Johnson, Savannah LaBrant, Doug the Pug, and Minimalist Baker). The exact number of followers required to be considered a micro-influencer is likely a guesstimate, but can range between 10,000 and 100,000 followers.

There are a few reasons why, despite their smaller followings, micro-influencers are more effective when it comes to your influencer marketing strategy

  • You can widen your selection pool with micro-influencers — there are an estimated 157 million to choose from
  • Micro-influencers tend to have more targeted audiences with a higher rate of engagement with their followers than macro-influencers.
  • Micro-influencers are more approachable. Macro-influencers can sometimes seem like celebrities with their millions of followers. 

New Laws Will Separate the #ADs From the #AD-Nots 

For a long time, consumers have questioned influencers’ real relationships with brands. Despite attempts to standardize sponsored posts, it’s been tricky to tell when a post is truly an #ad. Luckily, earlier this month, the FTC released important new guidelines, and a video aimed to show influencers how and when they need to disclose connections to brands to their followers.

We are trying to make the guide more influencer-friendly,” says Michael Ostheimer, attorney in the division of advertising practices at the FTC. “Many consumers rely on influencers for their purchasing decisions. We want to do everything possible to ensure that experience is transparent.”  

Since it now falls on the influencers to be familiar with the guidelines and laws, there will be a surge of new interest in influencer marketing. With less fraud risk, brands and marketers will feel safer planning for and executing their influencer marketing campaigns. 

Look Out For Other Platforms

Instagram will continue to be the go-to platform for influencer marketing. However, D2C brands are now looking at other platforms, especially those with video capabilities, to reach new audiences. These platforms include:

    1. Tik Tok: They recently had an incredibly successful Tik Tok campaign with MAC Cosmetics.
    2. Pinterest: Check out their popular marketing campaign with Krylon spray paint. 
    3. YouTube: Dove had one of the most viral campaigns ever on YouTube. 

Influencers Will Make It Personal With Storytelling 

People develop an affinity for specific brands based on their brand promise. Brands can no longer just put out a product alone — the audience needs to be “bought-in” and feel like they believe in the company’s mission before buying. 

Influencers are focusing on storytelling (primarily through the Instagram Stories channel) to connect with their audiences more authentically and genuinely. Make sure to take include the following Instagram Stories features in your influencer marketing strategies: 

  • Take advantage of the polls. Interactive polls are a fun way to engage your audience, and it’s also an easy way to collect customer feedback.
  • Use links in your Stories to drive up sales and generate traffic. What sets apart Instagram from other platforms such as Snapchat, is that you can tag and link. It’s an excellent way to capitalize on the connection you’re forming with your followers. Note: Instead of linking to your webpage, you can link to lead-generation forms to populate your email list. 

The Era of the Influencer Is Evolving

The influencer era isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Sure, Instagram is experimenting with removing the “likes” feature, but that doesn’t mean influencers will be any less effective. And while many people are quick to say that influencers have less sway on social media users, Maddie Raedts, the Founder and COO of influencer marketing company IMA doesn’t think so — she simply thinks there’s been a shift. “People are looking for unique feeds – less polished, but much more real, interesting, and artistic. This makes you stand out from the tough-to-beat algorithms these days.” She believes that this means the audience is now migrating towards micro-influencers to “follow real, cool people, with a story to tell, a passion and a specific talent they have or own.” 

With the combination of micro-influencers, the new guidelines to protect marketers, and new storytelling platforms, influencer marketing should definitely be a component of your marketing strategies for 2020. 

For tips and tricks on how to effectively build your micro-influencer strategy, read more here

Aly Kline
Author