With the explosive growth of social media networks across the globe influencer marketing has flourished and come of age as one of the most effective marketing & customer acquisition channels. In fact, many marketers rate influencer marketing as their most effective revenue generating tool. A study in 2015 found that for every $1 spent on influencer marketing the company got $6.5 back! With ROI’s like this no wonder influencer marketing is experiencing double digit growth. In 2018 this growth is expected to continue and accelerate as more organizations see strong & relatively fast ROI.
In this article I want to point out three major trends you are likely to come across in 2018 around influencer marketing:
1- SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL:
Traditionally big brands have been signing up big names and celebrities as their spokespersons and influencers. This makes sense from the practical point of view since they have the budget and large, often international, audiences. But 2017 showed to marketers that you cannot ignore micro-influencers (less than 10,000 followers). The data shows that 91% of social mentions come from people with less than 500 connections. It is safe to say that within anyone’s social network, the most trusted and engaged connections are not the national and international celebrities (unless of course you are one of those celebrities).
In recent years marketers have learned that active users in social networks who have less than 10,000 followers have an immense influence in their communities. Micro-influencers often have a stronger and more personal relationship with their followers because they typically have a particular interest and expertise that revolves around a specific niche, such as beauty, business, fitness, travel, and so on. Their enthusiasm for a specific subject allows them to dig deep and establish themselves as authorities, with their own style and personal touch. The numbers show that micro-influencers deliver up to 60% higher engagement rate and run more efficient campaigns by 6.7X than influencers with large following. These micro influencers also got 22 times more conversations a week regarding their recommendations than average social media users.
The takeaway here is quality over quantity. The content of a micro-influencer is more likely to resonate with her followers because she is more approachable & relatable than the Kardashians.
2- VIDEO IS KING:
Q:Who is the second most popular search engine?
The volume of video content on the internet is doubling every few months and many existing and new social channels making it easier to create, edit and share video. With livestreaming, looping, and ephemeral video apps, including Facebook Live, YouTube Live, Twitter Live, Snapchat, Instagram Stories, and Boomerang, we find that video is the absolute king of the Internet.
The average daily amount of time that adults spend consuming digital video content has nearly doubled since 2012, increasing from 35 minutes to 72 minutes across digital devices, with mobile leading the way. New technologies and better infrastructure have made video more accessible, immersive, and engaging than ever before. For video creators, this means a world of possibilities for creating and delivering unique content; for brands, it means new avenues of communication to reach their target audience and stay top of mind throughout a consumer’s buying journey.
Live-video viewership is consistently growing with one-third of online viewers saying they watch live video online. Among millennials, the numbers spike even higher: 63% say they have watched live content, and 42% say they have created it.
What people crave to see is not super-polished productions but real people being themselves on camera, hence the massive success of influencer livestreaming videos that provide that in-the-moment and behind-the-scenes look into their lives.
3- EMPLOYEE ADVOCACY GAINING MOMENTUM
First let’s explain what employee advocacy and why it matters. Enabling your employees to be socially proactive, represent their company and push company content on their personal social media accounts can be referred to as employee advocacy. Doing so will earn you instant access to 100 times the audience on your brand social accounts, and get you past your target audience’s ‘promotional guard’. Employee advocacy can be an asset to your sales, marketing and HR departments.
In the B2B space, as organizations look for fresh and unique ways to improve client engagement and customer experience they come to realize that one of their most powerful marketing tool is something that is truly unique to every organization; their employees! I have been involved in multiple employee advocacy programs for regional and global organizations where we help clients to turn their subject matter experts such as technical staff, industry specialists and Line Of Business leaders into social influencers through sharing their expertise and engaging with a target audience who is looking for exactly what these subject matter experts have to say. Employee advocacy programs can turn into the most powerful source of new client acquisition with minimal or no additional investment.
Stats from Prophet Consulting show that Interest in employee advocacy programs increased 191% from 2013 to 2015, and 90% of brands say they are either pursuing employee advocacy programs or have programs already active.
Think about it. Even if you are a small company with 50 employees your employees alone could have social networks that touches tens of thousands of potential buyers. Companies are already creating contents for different channels, why not enable and empower the employees to use that content and give it more context and personality for sharing via their social networks?
Employee advocacy is a no-brainer and I encourage any company (of any size) to consider a program to build on the tremendous knowledge and network that their employees already possess. There are many employee advocacy success stories that you can read up on. Companies such as Dell, SAP and Adobe have had well-documented employee advocacy programs with large customer acquisition and revenue impacts.
Employee advocacy It is a win-win strategy: Companies gain visibility and credibility, and employees get to build their profiles as thought leaders and feel more engaged and enthusiastic about the company they are working for.
Contact us for a 30 minutes conversation about your social selling strategy and how to generate new opportunities, grow revenue and improve your client engagement.
About the author:
Mark Ghaderi is an author, sales coach, mentor, entrepreneur and social selling evangelist with twenty five years of driving business results across the globe.
Vital Strategies Pte Ltd. Provides Revenue Growth Services to companies across the APAC region, helping organizations to grow their top line through digital transformation and improving sales execution.
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