How do you decide to book a trip or buy a product online? Most probably by word of mouth – which nowadays happens to be mostly on Instagram.
I am not influenced by influencers, you might say (I hear this all the time).
Think again. I am. And remember that your friends are influencing you too, offline and online. So online marketing is a huge phenomenon and firms are getting more and more sophisticated about it.
Let’s see what are some of the biggest trends to expect in 2019.
1. Genuine Metrics
Long overdue and still in a very imperfect form, this trend is finally picking up. Instagram is starting to get rid of fake followers, likes and comments.
Many (if not most) Instagrammers have bought followers in the past, and up to a certain extent this phenomenon is known and tolerated.
After all, once the fakes are out, there is still a real audience there, a marketing manager recently told me.
In order to justify a marketing campaign, one needs to show some impressive numbers to the boss! Was another explanation.
But is the money paid to influencers correct? Brands that do invest a budget on this kind of advertising start to really question where the right price is – and investigate better. There are also more and more tools and softwares available for them to find out real statistics (or at least to get very close).
Finally social media are making a progress in that direction too.
If you are on Instagram and bought followers/likes etc, stop buying now and start to get rid of robots – long term, this will bring you more results.
2. Speaking with Humans on the Other End
Today consumers expect a lot from the brands they interact with. They want to know that, when they contact a business, they are speaking with people on the other end. Being responsive in a personal way is crucial. This applies to DM messages (Instagram Direct Messages), social media comments, emails etc. The ability to respond to constructive criticism and acknowledge mistakes is part of an efficient marketing strategy.
3. Strong Corporate Image
Firms want/need to be identified immediately and distinguish themselves from the mass.
Brands like Breitling, for example, have chosen to use and underline their vast archive to retain their core customers, and to link their renovated image not to a single testimonial, but to “squads” of influencers or top people in their field. It’s all about people, stories, authenticity. The firm keeps a strong image and identity always very present behind its brand ambassadors.
Celebrities are an important part of this marketing strategy, but often together with a more varied choice of testimonials too.
4. Female Power
Women are finally getting access to some key jobs in politics, corporate, finance and science. This year, a Cern scientist said male scientist were being discriminated against because of ideology rather than merit. While I do think this opinion is total bulls**t (women are still discriminated and this particular case was, from what I understand, a single episode that the scientist wrongly took for a trend), I see from personal experience that firms are looking for more and more women, also in executive positions.
This is starting to be reflected on social media too. Accounts like Livia Firth’s are not huge but highly influential. Role models like Sheryl Sandberg or feminist profiles will draw more and more attention and engagement.
5. Size Doesn’t Matter
There are many profiles out there with big following that, after a quick inspection, look rather tame.
Signs of bought followers and likes/fake engagement/robots: thousands of likes to a picture but then, if you click on them to visit the profile of the person who “likes”, zero posts (or a very limited number) or random pictures that clearly look fake. Other very suspect signs: no possibility to comment, or very small number of comments. Inactive profiles associated to the account, etc.
All this makes a big number of followers very uninteresting to brands that are looking for influencers and visibility.
Micro influencers, on the other hand, tend to have very high engagement, a targeted audience reflecting their geographical position/interests/age/lifestyle, and a direct knowledge of their community. Often their Instagram stories have a surprisingly high number of viewers that attentively follow the profile’s content.
Including micro influencers to marketing campaigns, therefore, can make a lot of sense. And it might cost much less.