BUSINESS

Is Influencer Marketing Becoming Even More Popular? 

Influencer marketing has been a tactic for about as long as there have been influencers. For several years, brands have worked hard to take advantage of celebrities and social media mavens to promote their own products and services.

But what does the future of this tactic hold? Is it possible for influencer marketing to become even more popular and valuable?

The Popularity of Influencer Marketing

It’s no secret why influencer marketing is such a popular social media tactic. Influencers are people who already have massive audiences and the collective respect of the people they communicate with. These are often people with millions, or at least hundreds of thousands of followers. If they make a recommendation for a specific product, or if they state a specific point of view, there’s a good chance that a portion of their audience will be persuaded.

On a big enough scale, even a single mention of your product could lead to thousands of new customers. On a smaller scale, partnerships and collaboration opportunities with relatively new influencers can still yield a high marketing return on investment (ROI).

Reasons to Suspect Further Growth

So does influencer marketing have the momentum or potential to become even more popular in the future?

There are many reasons to be optimistic about this:

·       A bigger internet-connected population. There are roughly 5 billion regular internet users in the world, with a total global population approaching 8 billion. In 2012, there were only 2.4 billion internet users. Every year, more people start using the internet for the first time and many of the people who use the Internet start using it more often, thanks to more reliable and faster connections. In other words, every year there are more people joining the ranks of following influencers. Your audience is getting bigger and your opportunities are getting more numerous as a result.

·       More social media channels. Similarly, we are seeing an ongoing expansion of the number of social media platforms available. Back in 2005, MySpace was dominant and Facebook was just emerging. Today, most people have a profile on each of the most popular platforms, which include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, TikTok, and more. Each new social media channel introduces new influencer marketing opportunities – and the opportunity for more influencers to rise.

·       Demand for authenticity and personality. People are sick of inauthentic messages and living inauthentic lives. Accordingly, there’s more demand for authenticity and genuine personality than ever. That’s one reason why people have flocked to influencers so consistently – especially when those influencers are true to themselves. This trend isn’t likely to go away anytime soon.

·       Niche opportunities. Influencer marketing could also see a rise in the near future because of the rising number of niche opportunities available. We’ve already looked at the growing numbers of aggregated internet users around the world, but savvy influencer marketers are looking at the data more granularly. Within each social media platform are countless niche audiences – diehard fans obsessed with a specific topic, people with strange and obscure viewpoints, and small subsets of larger populations (like people who live in a specific neighborhood). If you’re willing to dig into these niche opportunities, your influencer marketing strategy could yield much higher relevance and face less competition.

·       Demographic and viewer data. Most people know that social media platforms are functionally designed to collect data; subsidization of consumer data is a big reason why so many popular social media platforms remain free to use. Marketers have been using this gathered data to fuel their marketing and advertising strategies for decades. As time passes, social media companies gather even more data on their users, giving influencer marketers even more tools and information they can use to plan effective campaigns.

·       Long-term arrangements. Influencer marketers and influencers alike are also seeking longer-term partnerships. Marketers save money, influencers get a consistent stream of revenue, and because these arrangements sometimes span many years, the future relevance of influencer marketing looks amazing.

·       User generated content and micro-influencers. Influencer marketing isn’t just about getting people with millions of followers to promote your brand. It’s also about taking advantage of people with small and growing followings – and people with no followers whatsoever. With the help of user generated content, contests, and other engaging campaigns, you can recruit tons of “micro-influencers” to your cause – and raise brand visibility without spending much money.

Even with so many factors going for it, there’s no guarantee that influencer marketing is going to remain useful forever. Lower levels of interest in social media, skepticism of influencer marketing tactics, and declining returns are just some of the things that could stand in the way of advancing influencer marketing. Still, there are more reasons to be optimistic than pessimistic if you’re in the influencer marketing game.