5 Trends in Influencer Marketing That will Dominate 2018 and Beyond

The reach of digital ads are all but snuffed out by the common ad blockers– resulting in very close to zero impressions of that ad. The alternative, if you look around (and it is hard to ignore these days), is the number of online buyers being influenced by recommendations and opinions of other friends, family, and celebrities (both in Hollywood and out. Industry experts and the familiar face).

According to Hubspot, more than 70% of online consumers now make a purchase by getting influenced by a social media reference. According to Twitter, 40% of Twitter users say they made purchase influenced directly by a tweet.

 

The person with the high follower count (at least 100k) has a significant influence. These influencers vary from industry stalwarts to niche experts to people with significant following and celebrities. They can quickly turn a conversation, draw the attention of thousands and drive opinions in favor of something. We call it influencer marketing.

 

But even influencer marketing evolved a lot as marketers continued to take advantage of this. Here we have tried to summarize some of the critical trends of influencer marketing for the coming year and beyond.

 

  1. Influencer marketing will surpass other channels

 

Influencer marketing as of now has proved itself to be the budget solution with most effective results to reach and engage the target audience. This is why all small and medium business brands who are not in the position to afford expensive media ads succumbed to influencer marketing. But as their success almost set a robust trend, almost all major brands across the niches are also now stepping in to reap the benefits of influencers. With the influencers showing their credible power to make or break a brand’s reputation, in the time to come, they can actually surpass all other channels.  

 

  1. Evaluating the metrics will be crucial

 

If you think influencer marketing is just a low-cost alternative to traditional media ads and marketing channels, you are terribly mistaken. In fact, influencer marketing is popular principally because it is easy to evaluate and track results. As you continue your investigation of influencer marketing, start also considering how you will track the success of this campaign as well. There is an array of sophisticated tools and software that allow businesses to track the results if each influencer marketing campaign especially if you are using a digital medium like email, website, video, etc. Using a free tool, Google Analytics, you can see exactly where your viewership originated from, their demographics, and much, much more.

 

  1. Influencers are going to charge a premium

 

A Tap Influencer study revealed that close to 70% of influencers find earning as their main source of motivation. So, those days of getting recommended and discussed for free are practically over.

 

By far, influencer marketing has been cheaper compared to most other channels. But as more brands including tons of reputed and globally acclaimed ones are eagerly going after niche influencers if their niche, influencers are increasingly gaining the weight and reputation of separate personal brands just as celebrities. Naturally, with a growth of this channel, we can find influencers more sought after charging a premium for lending their weight behind a campaign. We can see influencers to grow as key movers in many big budget online campaigns and that is not going to be cheap as before.

 

Here is what one source suggests for cost–Digiday suggests paying $1000 to an Instagram influencer who has 100,000 followers. In some cases, however, if that influencer is particularly motivated by your brand, they do it at no charge.

 

  1. The phenomenal growth of B2B influencers

 

Influencer marketing is mostly seen as an emerging channel to influence the opinion of consumers through social media and other touchpoints. But despite that, there are many B2B marketers who successfully leveraged influencers for their business audience. When B2B marketers take help of this channel it is rather common to partner influencers and at the same time launching campaigns on business-specific channels like LinkedIn. Solutions like Buzzsumo has become particularly popular for B2B influencer marketing. In contrast to influencer marketing for the consumers B2B influencer marketing focus on building long-term partnerships with valuable industry influencers.

 

  1. The rise of micro-influencers

 

Who are the influencers you really count upon when spreading your brand message? Obviously, the people whose opinion holds real value for your target audience should be the right influencers for your business. Now, depending on your business niche and audience there can be several options including industry-recognized stalwarts to influencers who can make a difference within a limited number of audience. While the first can be more expensive and not easily available, often the other option proves effective and easily reachable. We call these second group of people as micro influencers. Typically with less than 100,000 followers and a limited budget for outreach ,they can quickly deliver a great campaign.

 

Micro influencers are getting popular as they enjoy neat microspheres of followers seeking an opinion. These Micro influencers are more likely to represent a niché speciality. Marketers can choose micro influencers as per the suitability of their campaign in respect of audience and outreach. Often such influencers can be quickly engaged without actually making a professional offer. Even when you need to pay them for their output, it is never an expensive deal.  

 

Apart from all the above, influencer marketing in the time to come will also observe a rapid growth of tools and software to make the job influencing much easier. What was just merely about creating buzz has now become a standalone and sought after marketing channel. Influencer marketing will continue to grow and gain influence for everyone in the years ahead.

Getting Found Through Voice Search — Hey Siri, Play me a Song

Thanks to Apple’s wonderful marketing we have all used Siri, or some type of digital assistant. Most of us have at least done fun or silly searches. My own kids crack up when they ask Siri what her favorite color is, but seriously, this is going to change the future of business marketing as we know it…

Public vs. Private Usage
While many of us are embarrassed to use Siri or a voice assistant in public, it is guesstimated as many as 20% of people use them regularly in private (in the car, at home, while your hands are dirty/greasy). While Apple is sitting tight on how much Siri is actually used, they recently just hired an employee or multiple employees with the job description of giving Siri much more personality.
If you’d like the specifics on the ubiquity of siri, check out thenextweb.com (for more on Siri, Google Now, and Cortana Microsoft use in public)
Multitasking is at an all time high, and all of us at work, home, or on vacation pressed to do much more faster, and connect quickly; it comes as no surprise that we are using digital assistants much more than ever before.

The digital world is gearing up for this explosion of new ways of searching more quickly. It will narrow the funnel and get our customer to reaching our more specific niche easier.

Getting found with voice search 
What does this mean for any business? How will this affect how we market our businesses? How do we get our sites, brands, or products updated so we are at the top of our SEO (search engine optimization), and ready for this shift in the digital world?
Let’s understand a little of what is going on here, I’ll try not to get too technical….I leave that up to my husband at Francis Ventures 😉
Siri is basically getting a brain update and will be more in tuned to what her customers actually want. Google+, Google+ Local, and Google Now are using more predictive searches, they are gathering information from our location, searches, Gmail, google calendar, google +, google finance, and interactive posts. Your digital assistant will be taking all these bits of information and more easily giving you the answers to your questions or finding the specific information you want faster.
There is so much information, so as a business how do we sort this all out?
Here are a few tips to get us started being found, so we can meet a need, fulfil our niche, and gain customers or growth.

Three tips for voice search to use your website

1.  Customer focus on how they are searching for you
First, we need to get found when people are looking for us or a service we provide. We will start focusing more on customer orientation and less on page orientation. How are our customers searching for us? What questions will they be asking to find us? We will be going through voice searches looking for common pronunciation errors and making sure our business will be found. This is especially important for a business that doesn’t have English names, as mispronunciation may happen more often.

2. Customers are using natural voice patterns
The next main thing to remember is that our customers are using natural voice language and not typing their request in a search like Google. We need to set ourselves up to be found when they ask, “Where should I get my nails done?” vs. typing in a search “Nail Salon.” With voice search we will be using longer tail queries, and question based searches. Another example of this is when you search for a home for sale, Siri or your digital assistant could open Twitter and show you homes for sale through that app. There are many possibilities depending on the specifics or your brand, company, or product and who you are trying to reach.

Google Search Statistics

Customer Searches for local businesses online 97%
Searches are affected by Geo-location or location specific searches 69%
Searches through Google are for local information 20%

3. Location, Location, Location
Voice searches like Siri, Cortana, Google Now all use location and time as a key element when searching quickly for what is most relevant. Make your location clear to the search engine is a necessary step. Making your businesses purpose and authority clear to the search engine is crucial.
Which brings us to the next thing of taking a step back and understanding how customers or consumers interact across all their devices. Once we have an understanding of how they search for things and how they are finding our products, or services then we are well on the the last step of making a strong connection with them and being found in all this information!
Maybe you need to make some pins on Pinterest, maybe it is time make your own company app to inform the voice search engine. Maybe it as simple as getting yourself found by adjusting your links, spellings, backend structuring, navigational structure and adjusting how your brand shows up in voice searches. Keyword optimization is going to be even more important, as well as negative keywords that are relevant to your service, brand or company.

Let’s use this information and shift in the digital world to do what we love better and easily connect with more people!

G.J. Francis

Identifying Your Digital Maturity: From Youthful Adolescence to Scholarly Adulthood

Each step in maturing a website is a must. Remember in the days of your adolescence? adolescence in the late 80’s for me was full of life and adventure. But when I look back at those family photos, I find it embarrassing. Why is that? Why would anyone be embarrassed at who they were?

Step 1: Adolescence

Would you rather skip adolescence? Would you rather skip the first launch of your website and just launch it three iterative steps closer to maturity? I would have said yes. But is this wise?
Early on, we had protection with being around mostly our family and a smaller sphere of friends. Our influence was small, so we had an opportunity to learn, have fun and ultimately grow.  If you’re going to make mistakes (and you will), make them early on. If you’re going to forget to learn of your target audience’s pain points, then realize it quickly and learn quickly so you can grow quicker.
If you skip the adolescence step of a website, you’ll realize later on, much later, that your business is failing because of a few critical mistakes that were never uncovered early-on. Taking small steps towards a larger goal is very wise advice. You’ll grow quicker in the end if you taking steps and not leaps.

Just like you may look back at the start of your website. Perhaps the tagline was off and mistargeting customers. Perhaps the colors were less refined than you’d have liked. Perhaps the content did not speak.
For example look at Apple’s first website, what do they sell? And Amazon, what’s up with the river of books? Some other examples include TheFacebook and Twitter. Take a look below at some screen captures of these major business’ first website!

Step 2: Young Adulthood

Remember when we were all young adults? We wanted to reach out and connect with others. We wanted to see what the world can offer. Just like being a young adult, a business’ website reaches the same stage. Where, we want to reach out and connect with others digitally. We want more leads coming to our door step. Now we are connecting with others in a slightly more coordinated method. But we don’t yet know what works. Tactics in this stage aren’t cohesive, nor are they sophisticated.

Step 3: Young Family

We aren’t mature yet–but at least we realize it. We may have finally realized that the world isn’t going to offer us much… Rather we have so much to offer the world. It is more fulfilling to give than to get.
Just like those sentiments, a digital website should be serving the customers. It should be helping the pain points of customers and leads. The website should be addressing and anticipating customers problems. At this stage, a business learns how best to nurture leads.

Step 4: Nurturing Adult / Family.

By this stage, we are attracting leads to our site. We have reached these leads by numerous methods: print media, social media channels, blogs, newsletters, etc. They’ve been drawn to our site in hopes to solve their problem. We resonated with their problems and we can help solve those problems.
We have retained their attention. Perhaps they’ve used our services already. Perhaps they have returned several times. We are now engaging them digitally on a regular basis. We are on the cusp of turning them into a brand advocate.

Step 5: Scholar

Now that your website is helping your target audience (addressing their problems), knowing who and where your audience has been on your website last week, a month ago; knowing what devices that they are using to view your website; knowing that they are receiving emails and being reached on social media channels with the exact information of their interest. You now are converting customers into lifelong brand partners.
Now that you know where you and your website stand, feel free to comment below (tips, advice). If you’re ready to take the next step, but need some hints, the comment section is open to you as well.