Johannesburg, 6 February 2023: While it feels as if there are some things that have returned to normal since the pandemic hit just over two years ago, there are important learnings for brands and businesses that remain relevant – and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future.
One such learning has been the increased adoption of eCommerce by consumers, as more and more South Africans have taken to the internet to meet their needs. As a result of this, some of the more traditional marketing methods have been rendered less effective, while digital marketing and more specifically, influencer marketing, has been on the up and up.
As brands, businesses, and consumers, continue to evolve and adapt in a world where markets are undergoing rapid change and speedy innovation, it’s not enough to simply do influencer marketing, which has increased across all industries globally. Rather, it’s imperative to be smart about it, and to keep abreast of the trends within influencer marketing that can help assure a positive ROI.
Below are five of the influencer marketing trends worth noting to keep your brand and business ahead of competitors, while investing in an increasingly important marketing channel that shows no sign of falling to the wayside any time soon.
- Video Content is King
This isn’t the first time you’re going to read that video content is king and it won’t be the last. Indeed, video content has been on the list of almost every ‘best practice’ digital and influencer marketing piece for the past several years – and there’s good reason for it. As 5G and fibre increase their foothold across the country, and the world, people are consuming more video and audio content daily. This has helped increase the level of influence that content creators have on video-streaming platforms like YouTube, Twitch, and TikTok. When drafting an influencer campaign, it’s important to place an emphasis on the creation of video content alongside static assets because short- and long-form video content is dominating across all industry and influencer levels.
2. Build a Relationship – and Build it to Last
When it comes to the duration of your influencer campaign, it should be about building a relationship that lasts. According to Nael Schaffer, who was named a Forbes Top 50 Social Media Power Influencer for two years in a row, we’re increasingly going to see brands and influencers partnering together for the long-term. Among the many reasons he lists for this, it comes down to the reality that it can take time to make a sale. This means running a long-term campaign with an influencer will likely be more impactful than short marketing campaigns consisting of a couple of posts here and there. Brands and businesses are also gaining awareness of the positive impact of fostering a stronger, long-term relationship with an influencer who matches their ideals, lending a greater degree of legitimacy and authenticity to the communication both parties share.
3. Micro- and Nano-Influencers Lead on Engagement
An influencer marketing benchmark report for 2022 found that while engagement rates in general have dropped across social media channels, this isn’t the case for most nano- and micro-influencers, who continue to show impressive engagement rates that also drive better conversion rates. This makes micro- and nano-influencer campaigns a must for brands and business across all industries, not just because it allows them to stretch their marketing budget a little further, but it empowers them to tap into established target audiences that are deeply connected to the real human being they’re already following. For this reason, it remains important to favour the engagement rate of a micro- and nano-influencer over their follower numbers.
4. TikTok is a Necessity.
While there are only 24 hours in a day, it seems there’s always room for another social media channel! TikTok, in particular, has seen exceptional growth, in part due to the pandemic, which kept people locked up and online. Many influencers have amassed huge followings on the platform and brought brands into the fold by partnering with them to create sponsored ads and posts. With some predictions suggesting TikTok will dethrone Instagram as the leading platform for influencer marketing, the B2BHouse marketers believe marketing teams will double what they spend on TikTok in the next two years, indicating that it’s the place to be, and be seen, for some time to come.
5. The Link Between Influencer and Affiliate Marketing
Many marketers consider influencer and affiliate marketing to be separate activities, but in reality, both involve an ‘outsider’ advocating for a business or brand, and the products or services it sells. Affiliate marketing is considered an arrangement in which a business pays a percentage commission to the person or organisation marketing their products or services for the traffic or sales generated from their activity. Understanding this makes it clear how the line between the two has become blurred, making it necessary to move beyond using influencer campaigns to simply raise awareness and enabling influencers to drive sales, from which they’re able to make a small profit as well. This not only enhances the positive impact an influencer can have on a business’ eCommerce, it also adds a degree of increased authenticity to their message because it will tend to be reserved for a product or service they use themselves. By viewing influencer and affiliate marketing as interconnected, the results are win-win for both the influencer and the business, while making the shopping experience for the customer more efficient and convenient as well.
In light of these and other reasons, it’s clear that influencer marketing is here to stay. And while there is no one-size-fits-all solution to devising a winning influencer campaign, the challenges and opportunities each campaign brings are the perfect motivation for some out-of-the-box thinking that ensures you place your energy, attention, and ad spend, exactly where it needs to go.
OP:ED BY ALBERT MAKOENG, HEAD OF SALES AT THESALT
TheSALT is a digital platform that uses in-depth lifestyle information to connect businesses and brands to the right influencers. With more than ten years’ experience in the industry, the team at TheSALT have amassed a wealth of knowledge empowering them to assist with connecting brands to the right people to generate and distribute authentic content that inspires meaningful brand conversations. Their platform can facilitate the effortless creation, management, and tracking of influencer campaigns, while enabling influencers to market themselves and monetise their online activity.
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