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What You Ought to Know about Influencer Marketing in 2018

A report from the frontlines of influencer marketing
February 26, 2018

2017 was the year communications and marketing leaders embraced influencer marketing.

In 2018, they’re doubling down. In fact, several industry sources report that half of all organizations engaged in influencer marketing are doubling their budget this year due to the tactic’s cost-effectiveness.

And it is not just Fortune 500 brands that are adding influencers to their marketing and communications repertoire. Issue-focused organizations—like our clients—are investing in influencer marketing, too.

If your organization wants to move the meter on mission-driven marketing, behavior change campaigns and public policy initiatives, there is a place for influencer marketing in your communications and marketing strategy.

Here are a few new trends for 2018 that you’ll want to keep on the radar:

1 | Micro-influencers become the “it” group

Identifying influencers who had a massive reach and who focused broadly and on many projects was all the rage in 2017. And it still is to some degree, because that approach continues to provide value for organizations with massive budgets and issues and/or products with mass appeal. However, we’re observing and supporting a shift toward micro-influencers.

Micro-influencers are just what they sound like: they have smaller audiences and are focused on niche topics. They may not have the mass reach of other influencers, but their followers are extremely invested and highly trusting of issues and causes they support, which results in higher campaign engagement and click-through rates with the same (or even smaller) investment.

2 | Influencers use the slow build to intrigue and engage

Hiring influencers to disseminate your messages works. But the influencer campaigns that really move the meter tell the story over time.

An example: we’re currently working with real smokers and following them along on their quit journeys. Their stories, which illustrate the power of addiction and their daily struggles to quit or stay tobacco-free, make the issue incredibly personal and break through the noise.

Telling a story over time, whether it is about quitting smoking or changing a community to make it more accessible to families who want to get active (as we did with on influencer marketing campaign for LiveWell Colorado), builds investment, interest and intrigue. Followers can’t wait to see what happens next—and that’s hard to do with paid advertising.

3 | Measurement goes mainstream

Prior to 2018, many organizations were still experimenting with influencer marketing—and therefore measurement was nice to have but not required.

Now that they’ve had promising tests and are consciously diverting significant funds from other tactics to support influencer marketing campaigns, organizations are demanding to see the same KPIs they’re used to for more traditional tactics, allowing them to make apples-to-apples comparisons of tactics.

This is where investment in influencer campaign measurement tools becomes essential. There are currently a few influencer marketing platforms that help organizations identify, engage, support and monitor and track campaigns. More are in development.

Take time to do research and demo those tools and talk to organizations currently using them before committing to one, because as we have seen, some are still very much in beta phases and create more headaches than they are worth. (We’d love to discuss our favorite tracking tools. If you are interested in learning more, contact us.)

So, there are three latest happenings in the world of influencer marketing. Did we pique your interest? Do you want to learn more? Download our guide: How Three Issues-focused Organizations Used Influencers to Drive Awareness and Action.

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