According to a Geometry Global survey, 33% of purchasers believe that social network influencers are the most significant source of trust at the time of making a purchase.
Among the platforms on the cutting edge of influence marketing, 92% of respondents to another survey launched by Linqia quote Instagram as the most powerful network, followed by Facebook for 77%.
Figures that well illustrate the growing power of the said influence in the small world of digital marketing. Even if 2017 was an effervescent year for influencers with expanding business and new social functionalities facilitating a new type of storytelling (live, story, filters…), 2018 is set to be the year of consolidation. Influence is becoming industrialized and there are new trends emerging to make influencing more efficient and better. Allow us to explain.
Micro-Influencers in High Demand
These are influencers concentrated in niche markets and who can offer advice based on specific expertise in a clearly defined field, whether it be lifestyle, beauty, IT, general culture or musical/artistic geek culture. They are followed closely and are encouraged by a less numerous networking group than the conventional major influencers but the said group is much more involved. In the role of both specialist and expert, with their unique authenticity, micro-influencers are increasingly targeted by advertisers who wish to fine-tune their strategy of influence. It must be said that they are far easier to access and are more inclined to authenticity than to the perfect appearance (substance over form?). Their content is systematically very solid, interact a great deal online and more than anything else, they want to share their passion.
Influence is Becoming a Trend in B2B
Even if B2C has been the prime market of influence, the latter is increasingly developing in B2B. However, tone, style, and expectations are different because even if B2B marketing professionals have the same priorities as those in B2C (lead generation, lead nurturing and conversion), the decision-making process is very different. It involves several persons and can require much more time… Which is precisely there where influence marketing becomes a lever that can prove to be very efficient. Take this solid example with SAP, the well-known producer of professional software. The company works with influencers that might be consultants, business analysts, keynote speakers, authors or lecturers through the joint creation of content to be shared and by getting them to participate in great public events. A way of bringing together several networking groups around a common cause.
The Power of Live Communication
Formerly reserved to Periscope, live feed is no longer exceptional and is part of a raft of tools available to influencers. An ordinary smartphone enables shooting and sharing a live video at any time. On Instagram, it’s integrated into the influencers production flow and are part of techniques used to ensure the emotional connection with their audience. FAQ, unboxing or participation in an event, live feed sets up a strong affective-emotional connection by living the present moment even more intensely.
A World at the Mercy of Algorithms
The reduction of the organic reach of brands on these platforms also has an impact on influence marketing. All the more so, as at any time, a unilateral decision by GAFAM could hurt numerous brands by reducing their online visibility. This was incidentally the case early in 2018 when Facebook changed its algorithm to limit the display of pages and to strengthen that of profiles. The impact is immediate: to be seen on this social network you have to dip into your purse! A further reason to rely on a safe strategy, diversifying your marketing tools, your social platforms and not hesitating in investing in advertising to highlight the content built with your influencers.
Integration of Influencers in the Conversion Funnel
Among existing marketing levers, influence has for many years been perceived as an organic promotional approach that ran simultaneously with very structured online and lead generation advertising operations. It should be pointed out that influence is becoming more structured and organized at present day. It is becoming a valuable step in a sales approach that must be monitored, analysed and calibrated with tools optimized for cross-device marketing. KPIs are defined based on precise economic criteria, such as the cost per engagement, cost per client acquisition, etc, turning the growth of the number of followers or subscribers a secondary variable that has to be interpreted within the global context. “The measurement of influence campaigns performance has already been mentioned by our clients over the last few years. Beyond just discussing the matter, they now wish to analyse the performance of their influence marketing actions. In our role of a performance marketing player since 2003, we have built up an ROI culture enabling us to offer our clients appropriate responses in this field.” points out Julien Tournier, Head of Influence Department. Influence marketing also enables adapting and customizing content depending on whether it involves discovering a new brand, presenting a new product or testing a collection, a product or a new functionality.
Live content that systematically results into greater engagement, influence structure within conversion tunnels and in B2B, to the emergence of micro-influencers and the impact of algorithms are shaping this new world of influence marketing. You will have realized that influence is shown to be a new channel capable of playing a huge role on your brand’s image and reputation, as on sales conversions and growth. A two-in-one approach to be tried out or to be thought about in depth, but urgently.