Back in early January, Marketing Land asked an important question: will 2018 be the “Year of the Influencer” or the year influencer marketing fades to obscurity? The answer could have big repercussions for digital marketing agencies.
For the uninitiated, influencer marketing is when brands enlist social media users with large followings to promote their products or services. Though not a novel idea – companies have been forging endorsement deals with recognizable faces for decades – influencer marketing has become central to many brands’ social media marketing strategies.
Influencer marketing has many benefits. It allows brands to communicate directly with prospective customers through a voice they trust and admire. Effective influencer marketing also facilitates the creation of trusting relationships between brands and consumers. This form of digital marketing is also relatively immune to ad-blocking software.
There are potential pitfalls, as well. Most importantly, influencer marketing is risky from a brand safety perspective. Social media personalities often do not enjoy the traditional protection of managers and strategists. Indeed, social media’s organic, unscripted nature is a significant part of its allure. So while your influencer may create buzz among an important target demographic, they could also create a backlash with a badly-worded opinion or controversial misstep.
Today, influencer marketing is mostly pursued by companies with large advertising budgets or trendy, social media-savvy followings. But as social media permeates all strata of society, and as today’s regular social media users age into different and more diffuse interests, expect social media influencer marketing to play a growing role in brands’ social media marketing and overall digital marketing plans.
As a Premier Google Partner All-Star Agency with access to valuable insights on Google’s preferred practices, GrowthEngine Media is careful to stay up to date with the latest digital marketing trends, including the use of influencers in social media marketing campaigns.
Image credit: @selenagomez/Instagram