Welcome to 2019, where every animated Disney movie from your cherished memories is getting a live-action re-hash, and people who take selfies with their phones are dominating Internet marketing.
Yes, we’re talking about the mighty power of the social media “influencer,” who use their massive followings to build brand relationships, sway purchase decisions, and bring in earnings to match the lavish lifestyles their profiles would suggest. Whether you like it or not, influencers wield a tremendous amount of power in the digital space, and when the right relationships are leveraged properly, they can offer a much-needed boost to your sales and brand visibility.
To help you with your influencer marketing efforts the rest of 2019, here are five influencer trends that we’ve noticed are making a big impact this year.
5 Influencer Trends on the Rise in 2019
1. The Rise of the Nano-Influencer
Pardon the redundancy here, but a nano-influencer can actually be thought of as an “influencer on the rise.” A shooting star, if you will.
These nano-influencers haven’t quite reached true influencer level, and are even fall a tier below the micro-influencer. Nano-influencers are people who haven’t quite established his or her brand but are on their way toward building a loyal community of followers through their social media. Nano-influencers are categorized as those who have less than 10,000 social media followers. Typically, their following is much smaller, at around 1,000 people, but those 1,000 followers are intensely dedicated to and engaged with the influencer.
But why, then, is the nano-influencer on the rise?
Simply put: because they’re cheaper and more willing to engage with their audience.
Influencer rates have skyrocketed in 2019 and brands have taken notice. Rather than work with one macro-influencer, brands are now seeking relationships with the lower tier of more niche influencers with smaller followings. Brands are able to create valuable partnerships with multiple nano-influencers for the same price as one macro-influencer, and also have had some success establishing gifting campaigns.
In a gifting campaign, a brand exchanges posts for products. Essentially, your company would send the nano-influencer some samples of your product and in return, he or she will post positively about the items you send them. These products will be relevant to their niche following, with the goal of influencing said followers to purchase your product or service.
Nano-influencers present a great opportunity for these gifting campaigns because they are not yet completely established as influencers, meaning they would be more willing to exchange posts for the product, rather than payment. Although they don’t have the largest audience reach, they make up for it through their authenticity, community, and brand loyalty.
A nano-influencer is much more likely to interact with his or her audience, responding to questions and comments on their posts. Building relationships and a real community and becoming a trustworthy source of advice within their niche. They also are more likely to hustle for your brand and will work harder during the partnership so they can build their portfolio and establish long-term relationships with their small handful of brand partners.
2. Amazon Influencer Program
Amazon, not one to be left behind in any area of the Internet, has also taken notice of the rise of the social media influencer and created the Amazon Influencer Program.
This program allows influencers to get rewarded for recommending their favorite products that are available on Amazon. Through the program, influencers can create their own Amazon page with a custom URL and use it to store all of their favorite products in one place.
The influencer can then share the custom URL to his or her followers and encourage their audience to check out the products. When a follower makes a purchase through the influencer’s custom storefront, the influencer will earn a small commission on qualifying purchases.
This can be another great opportunity for your brand, as leveraging an Amazon Influencer relationship can help you generate reviews for your products, which will bump your product up in search results. Much like Google, Amazon values the quality and quantity of reviews on each product.
3. Affiliate Marketing
Brands can also incentivize influencers to drive sales by offering a percentage commission on each transaction the influencer helps to close. This is a practice that’s known as affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing has seen a big shift in recent years as more and more people shop online using their phones. This has made Instagram an incredibly powerful tool for establishing influencer relationships to drive traffic to your e-commerce store. The experience is now much more seamless, as users don’t even need to leave Instagram to make a purchase thanks to the “swipe up” feature.
Within an affiliate marketing relationship, the brand does not actually pay the influencer for anything upfront. Instead, the influencer can only gain commission from driving sales to your brand. The Amazon Influencer Program is actually an example of this affiliate marketing tactic.
This means that your brand will save money up front on the partnership and incentivize the influencer to put in the work to drive your sales since this is the only way they will get paid. It’s a true win-win for your brand.
4. In-store Activations
Several brands focus only on online sales, but there are many other brands that leverage influencer partnerships to drive in-store traffic and sales to their retail partners. They do this by having the influencer encourage his or her followers to shop in-store for exclusive offers or products that won’t be found online.
Large brands such as Whole Foods, Sprouts, Target, CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, and more, all utilize influencers to drive in-store traffic in this manner. It’s a smart way for brands to partner with influencers to show the value in their local, in-store experience. Often, influencers will offer a discount code or coupon that is only redeemable in-person at certain retail stores.
While most influencer relationships are entirely online, there is still value in having in-store activations if your brand has a physical location and does not only exist online.
5. Influencer Events
Another influencer trend on the rise is influencer events.
Often, influencers will host events for their followers. For example, a fitness guru might gather followers for a free class, or a lifestyle blogger may host a talk to help motivate their followers and grow a sense of community.
These events present unique opportunities for brands to put their products in front of their target audience. Your company can send a free shipment of your product to the influencer so that he or she can include your giveaway during the event. This might be in the form of goodie bags filled with your product, samples, and exclusive coupons, or a bigger ticket item to raffle off at the event.
Influencer events offer a low-commitment opportunity for your brand since you are only sending the shipment of your product one time. The influencer events are also a great way to gain exposure for your brand. The influencer’s followers may have seen your product online previously and will now have the opportunity to see and feel your product in person.
And as a bonus, if the influencer streams the event live online or posts coverage to their social accounts (and they absolutely will), your brand and product will likely be featured. This gives you heightened exposure for those in attendance and those following online — a great double bonus.
As you can see, the influencer can play a vital role in your marketing efforts in 2019 and is an area of untapped potential if you and your brand have not yet established an influencer partnership.
To do so, consider your niche market and identify your target audience. Which type of people would benefit the most from your product or service? Once you’ve created your outline, you can start to find influencers for your brand who have dedicated followings within your niche. You’ll want to pore through their content to make sure that their voice, humor, style, and goals align with those of your brand. When your missions line up, you’ll have the best chance for forming lasting partnerships that will improve your brand awareness and drive sales.
Choosing the right influencer to partner with will be a huge part of ensuring a successful influencer marketing campaign, so make sure you do your homework and choose the right influencer (or influencers) for you.