Influencer Marketing: The Trends Of 2018

Ashim Dutta, Co-Founder & Head Marketing, AB HospitalTo explain it simply, Influencer Marketing resembles a hybrid of marketing tools, taking the concept of celebrity endorsements and placing it in a present day content driven marketing campaign. The only difference being campaign results are collaborations between brands and influencers.

Inlfuencer Marketing is the In-Thing in 2018
Influencers can be anywhere. They may be anyone. What makes them influential is their big followings online and social media. These people may not be on your favourite movie or Television show, but they're generating content that your consumers are seeing and discussing in droves. Their version of small and silver screens are the most notable networks on social media like YouTube, Instagram, Vine, Twitter, Snapchat, blogs, and others. To digital marketers, this new military of on-line experts, extroverts, and personalities reach audiences in a way other traditional marketing applications can't. More so, they are perhaps more relatable and seemingly approachable because they share their real life on social network and present a more authentic, collaborative form of engagement. This is really where influencers have the capability to live up to their nickname. To consumers, they can be bonafide influencers. They fortify social proof even when they are not paid to do so. What they wear, ride, listen to, where they go, intrigues and inspires communities. This sparks trends and drives transactions, not as traditional celebrities on the right circumstances.

Digital influence and affect generally may convey social proof, also known as informational social influence: a phenomenon in which folks take the actions of others in an effort to reflect correct behavior for a given situation. Social Media has become the vehicle for influencer marketing. Social media is a collective of consumer-to consumer networks which democratize relationships, connections, information as well as the capability to influence and be influenced. It is an incredible phenomenon. Social media is a great equalizer and it shifts the balance of power on almost every front away from any one entity to anyone with the ability to share.

Trends of Influencer Marketing in 2018
Return on investment (ROI) of influencer marketing is the top challenge for 2018. Nevertheless, advanced marketers are starting to look at the full consumer journey, holding influencer marketing accountable for driving
lower funnel metrics in addition to awareness and engagement. When measuring the achievement participation, efficiency indicators.

A Shift in Ownership
Influencer marketing has traditionally been seen as a PR/communications tactic and is used as a reach and awareness tool. Nevertheless, as the business evolves, there is a clear shift in ownership. Most of influencer marketing owners are on advertising/media teams, whereas only few are with PR/communications, a decrease from prior years. Media teams are taking ownership of influencer marketing as targeting capacities evolve and budgets continue to increase, and are managing programs with the same rigor that they use to manage other digital advertising channels.

Working with Influencer Marketing Partners
Influencer marketing programmes can be time-consuming to handle, and marketers have to make room for influencer marketing in an already bustling schedule. Consequently, the period of time it can take to handle influencer marketing programmes is ranked as one of the top challenges of 2018. To alleviate the strain on bandwidth, majority of marketers partner with managed services or "turn-key" solution providers to run their influencer marketing programmes and another few rely on their agencies to plan and execute campaigns. Few manage programs in-house and some use a blended approach.

Integrating Influencer Marketing with other Channels
Influencer content is effective due to its authentic character, which makes influencer-marketing programs a strategic content investment in addition to a media channel. Majority of marketers are using influencer content in other channels, with more than half are reporting that it outperforms brand-created content. Marketers who haven't tested influencer content against brand generated content yet, must be planning to do this in 2018. Marketers must try to utilize it to improve the performance of other digital channels.

Influencer Marketing Strategy in 2018
If you ask which influencer marketing trends marketers should plan to adopt in 2018, running influencer marketing programs that leverage multiple types of influencers (celebrities, top-tier, micro-influencers) should be a part of an integrated strategy. Also plan to use influencer content to improve the performance of other channels and plan to incorporate influencer content with e-Commerce to drive product sales. Almost on 3rd of marketers will shift from one-off, strategic campaign execution to a & always on & influencer plan while others will plan to contract exclusively with influencers to be brand ambassadors.

Marketers are concerned that social algorithms will make organic influencer content less visible, as Facebook demands that influencers tag all of sponsored content on Facebook and Instagram through their branded content tool.

As influencer marketing evolves, marketers are beginning to use the medium strategically to impact lower funnel metrics such as clicks, conversions, and product sales. They're also incorporating influencer marketing with a few other digital channels and leveraging influencer content beyond the initial program to improve the performance of their paid, owned, and earned media.

Marketers are starting to benchmark the performance of influencer content against brand-created assets, and social networks that make content easily discoverable and re-purposable are currently taking a larger part of the influencer media plan.

Influencer marketing is not just for the beauty, retail, and physical fitness industries only. It works in healthcare too. In this digital age of the educated patient, healthcare businesses need to find innovative strategies to reach their varied audiences.