What’s Ahead for Marketers and Influencers in 2018?

Opinion: Brands must keep a keen eye out for trends and be ready to shift their strategies

Influencer marketing has maintained its value through the existing influencer-follower relationship
Ildo Frazao/iStock

A new year always brings about much speculation in the world of marketing. Recent years have seen a seemingly endless stream of new technologies, platforms and tactics that marketers and brands can leverage to stay ahead of the curve.

Throughout 2017, influencer marketing has maintained its value through the existing influencer-follower relationship, and it has continued to evolve.

While the end of 2017 brought with it new technologies and opportunities for brands that incorporate this marketing tactic, we expect to see some of these developments really gain their momentum and mature in 2018.

Below are a few trend predictions and tips for marketers and brands that want to start the year with strong influencer marketing strategies.

Influencer network as a service

By now, most marketers now know what an influencer is and have already incorporated these content creators into their marketing strategies and budgets. A recent survey revealed that 61 percent of brand respondents had worked with digital influencers within the past year.

As brands become more comfortable with the influencer marketing process and better understand the additional value that brand-tailored campaigns can provide, some are looking to take a more active role in establishing their own influencer relationships and managing the entire campaign process.

One way that brands are taking more control is through a new model known as influencer network as a service. This model gives brands the tools they need on an easy-to-use platform so that they’re fully equipped to manage their own campaigns and influencer relationships directly, making for a more streamlined experience.

Additionally, brands have the option to build their own custom-created networks from scratch, catered to a specific niche audience or designed for a select campaign.

These influencer networks as a service give brands a new way to create meaningful content by working with influencers whose values are aligned with those of the brand. This type of custom fit cannot always be achieved with a premade influencer network.

Social platforms catered to influencers

Brands aren’t the only ones taking note of the power of influencers. As more marketers plan to launch influencer campaigns or increase their influencer budgets, social media platforms are stepping up their games to provide a better overall experience when working with sponsored content.

In 2017, we saw social platforms create features and updates that simplify and enhance the influencer marketing process in an attempt to draw in more brand and influencer activity.

Big changes came to Facebook marketing, including a feature that allows brands to share influencer posts directly with chosen audiences and an option to select which influencer can tag the company in branded content.

Instagram rolled out a new way for influencers to identify sponsored posts, which make it easier for brands and influencers to comply with Federal Trade Commission disclosure policies, and it added a new polls feature giving brand and influencer followers a new and exciting way to engage with these accounts.

And Snapchat released a long-awaited, influencer-friendly feature that allows users to add external links to their videos.

Social media is the go-to place for many shoppers these days. A recent survey found that almost one-half (47 percent) of social purchases are made via Facebook.

Going into 2018, we’ll likely see more influencers and brands adopting these platform changes in an effort to engage their followers in new ways, while also streamlining their own efforts so that campaigns can become even more targeted to audiences.

Increased product involvement from influencers

More customers than ever are trusting influencer opinions on products. A recent survey found that 49 percent of consumers rely on recommendations from influencers they see on Twitter.