Influencer marketing is more than just a passing fad. It’s here to stay, and before you undertake your own influencer marketing campaign in 2020, it’s a good idea to understand the latest trends when it comes to this particular marketing channel.

Let’s chat about the latest with influencer marketing: why it works, what it is (and isn’t), and how you can attract the right influencer to work with your brand in 2020.

It’s Not About Celebrity

When older generations think about the people who influence their purchasing decisions, they may picture a traditional television commercial or print ad featuring one of their favorite Hollywood stars. Millennials and Gen Zers, however, are looking to a different kind of influencer to help them make purchase decisions. Nearly 90% of people in those younger generations rely on social media influencers to help them make purchase decisions.

For Millennials and Gen Zers, it’s not about the cachet but rather about trust and authenticity. These influencers have built a brand around their personal life story, and younger folks follow them because they feel a personal connection. The good news for brands is that while the average small business would never be able to afford the kind of fee an A-lister would command to be in a commercial, influencers (depending on their following and position in the online world) are much more accessible.

Look to Micro-Influencers

When I talk about these more accessible influencers, I’m not referring to the Kardashian-Jenner clan. Top-tier influencers like Kim and Kylie still command six or seven figures for promotional social media posts.

However, smaller brands can look realistically at micro-influencers. These are people who have built a following in a specific niche. And in fact, studies have shown that influencer marketing featuring these micro-influencers actually gets even greater engagement than posts created by the big influencers.

So even if you’re not in a position to partner with a star in the influencer game, your brand can still gain a lot from influencer marketing. You just need to target the right micro-influencer.

Craft a Specific Message for Your Brand, & the Influencers Will Follow

So how do you convince a micro-influencer to partner with your brand? It all starts with you creating smart, specific messaging on your own social page.

Influencers work hard to cultivate their own organic following, and they do it by building a clear, authentic personal brand. Because influencers are essentially selling themselves and their lifestyle, rather than a specific product, they’re naturally protective about their brand.

They don’t want to do business with a company that’s not the right fit for their online persona. When you’re clear about your own brand’s mission and message, you are more likely to be the kind of brand influencers in your space want to work with.

Let’s say you sell nutritional supplements for women. It’s not enough to state what you do; you have to speak to the why behind it.

Maybe your brand is designed to help women who are looking to improve their fitness. Then, your messaging becomes about empowering women to be their happiest, healthiest selves.

Instead of generic messaging about your product, start creating messaging about who you are as a company. And with messaging like that, you can attract influencers with a similar ethos who believe in the same things you do and share your values.

Influencers & Brands Are Growing Closer

For some influencers, it’s not just about partnering with a brand to help sell their existing products. A trend we’re seeing take off in the influencer space is cross-collaboration between brands and influencers.

Once brands and influencers discover that their goals are well-aligned, some are signing on for deeper, longer-term partnerships. Take the clothing brand Revolve as an example. They partnered with one of their early-adopter influencers, Aimee Song, asking her to create a collection for the brand.

The collection is sold under the brand’s name, but it’s representative of Song’s personal style. In the same way that a major celebrity like Sarah Jessica Parker might partner with an established brand to create a line of shoes or sunglasses, we’re now seeing influencers do the same thing with the brands they champion.

What We’re Measuring Has Changed

It used to be that brands who partnered with influencers were concerned with metrics like impressions and likes. But in reality, those metrics don’t translate into sales.

Now, brands have moved away from tracking those vanity metrics and look instead to KPIs tied to specific goals. Each influencer campaign you start should have a concrete goal attached.

Say you’re a women’s supplement company. If you partner with a fitness influencer who creates healthy recipes that incorporate your supplements, track the sales of the product featured in the ads.

Today’s tracking tools and CRMs make it easier than ever to understand where traffic is coming from and why people are interacting with your brand. Taking advantage of these tools allows you to get even more out of influencer marketing campaigns.

Influencer marketing is not going anywhere. Brands continue to invest more and more in influencer marketing, so if you haven’t approached any influencers to tout your own brand, 2020 might be the year for you to start.

It’s important to remember that the term “influencer” is so much broader than those top-tier influencers who command big fees to promote brands. Today, even small local businesses can reap the rewards of influencer marketing by forming smart strategic partnerships with micro-influencers in their space.

If you’re still perplexed or overwhelmed by the world of influencer marketing, we’re here to help. Check out our social media marketing solutions and reach out to learn more about how we can guide you through the creation of a smart influencer strategy.

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