Thursday, January 19, 2017

7 Influencer Marketing Trends For 2017

  7 Influencer Marketing Trends For 2017
 
Influencer marketing is probably the fastest-growing marketing channel at present. As the relationship of trust strengthens between brand and influencer, it seems likely that 2017 will be the year that brands will gain more confidence in handing over creative freedom and narrative control to influencers. I think it’s time to emphasize again “quality will win out over quantity”, and no doubt brands and influencer alike will be more selective than ever about who would they choose to work with.

In recent, UK-based Fashion and Beauty Monitor have conducted a research, which after compiling the data revealed ‘7 hottest trends that will shape influencer marketing in 2017’:

1.    The emphasis on personal brand will prevail
In 2017 the focus on building a personal brand will continue to be the main area of focus. What the Fashion and Beauty Monitor found from surveying a large group of fashion and beauty influencers is that majority will only partnering with brands that offer a good fit, and are of specific relevance to their audience.  In addition, building long-term sustainable relationships with brands is the second biggest priority. The finding shows that while one-off endorsements dominated the collaborative space in 2016, this year influences would like to be forging more meaningful partnerships.

2.    The rise of ‘influencer’ squads
Influencer squads can be a savvy marketing move by brands, enabling them to widen their circle of engagement by piggybacking off the connections and social following of the influencers they have a relationship with. Moreover, the diversity of the ‘squad’ brings added value to the brand campaign, providing they align with thee brand values and operate in the same market. Influencer squads are where you really begin to tell the same story from many different angles, and you see different opinions but all on the same story. This is particularly true with celebrity influencers – Such as Taylor Swift’s 4th July party, for example, which had so many celebrities there all Instagramming their moments from the party. Suddenly you have quite a unique story taking shape, because of her squad.

3.    The rise of mid-tier influencers
The ‘magic middle’ is a term originally defined by David Sifry, founder of Technorati, and has also been widely used by industry thought leaders Brian Solis. It refers to an untapped genre of influence, providing the ideal alternative of complement to A-list influencer outreach. In many ways, these mid-tier influencers are the ones the general public aspires to more than Hollywood celebrities or super models, for example, as they’re more within their reach. It’s with the mid-tier that brands can start to engage on a much more personable level with consumers, and talk of a lifestyle they can aspire to. For example, yoga instructor Patrick Beach had just a few thousand followers on Instagram, yet H&M Sport recognize that they were highly engaged bunch of followers who cared deeply about what he had to say, owing to his passion and commitment to his subject. The high street fashion brand approached him with a partnership opportunity, which over a short period of time has proved itself to be incredibly successful for both parties. Fundamentally, it has brought Patrick a new respected fan base, and he now boasts over 300,000 followers.

4.    A layered approach
Influencers and agencies agree that brands need to be thinking beyond product reviews and gifting, taking a more interesting, layered approach to influencer marketing. Savvy consumers want insider access, behind the scenes previews and insight into the lives of brand and its people. For example, Benefit Cosmetics’ Lisa Potter-Dixon, head make up and trend artist, shares tips, tricks, product previews and demos, as well as backstage shots at Fashion Week and QVC. Not only this, she also often helps with out-of-hours customer service across Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat, as well as featuring brand on her own YouTube channel. Not only does this help raise the profile for the brand, but also positions Lisa as an influential figure in the industry, and in turn offer the brand even more exposure.

5.    A smarter approach to research identification
Interviews with influencers confirmed that even in the digital age, it remains surprisingly difficult to seek out and established relevant brand partnerships. In the majority of cases influencers are sitting back and waiting to be contacted, but then they say that more than half of the brand approaches they receive are generally poorly researched and untargeted, and not relevant to them nor their audience. It’s an inefficient way of working, and moving forward, brands will be required to find better tools and methods to identify suitable influencers to work with, who they can established a more meaningful relationship with long-term.

6.    Video will prevail
Video provides brands with greater scope to be creative, while offering a broader storytelling arc. It’s also the format consumers are demonstrating an insatiable appetite for right now, as if done well, it allows them to access a lifestyle, rather than just a moment via an Instagram image, for example.

7.    A lighter legal framework
Contracts have formalized the influencer marketing industry, to a degree. Many influencers said increasingly, they are being asked to sign contracts for paid collaborations, so that everyone is clear on what’s expected of them. Let’s be honest, most influencers lack management or agents, it’s important the contracts are short and easily digestible. To clear up any remaining confusion around disclosure rules, it seems inevitable that moving forwards, brands will begin including these requirements within their contracts, if they are doing so already. For this reason, it’s crucial that brands keep up-to-date on the regulations specific to their country, which inevitably will tighten up further as the industry matures.
 
 
xx Do the things you are passionate about; Learn from ones who inspire you; Strive to become an expert at what you do xx
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