Influencer marketing may have seemed all the rage in 2018, but I assure you, this form of digital marketing is here to stay. This past year saw a huge shift in trends and tactics used to achieve success with influencer marketing, and we’re already seeing some major trends shaping the industry for 2019.

If your brand wants to be successful with influencer marketing this year, here are the top 5 things you need to know.

INFLUENCER MARKETING MUST BE PART OF YOUR OVERALL STRATEGY

It’s become clear that for influencer marketing to work, it must be executed as part of your overall digital marketing strategy. If you treat it as a separate entity, it’s not going to work. Campaign integration and continuity must extend into your influencer programs to ensure that your brand and message align with your overall goals. The ideas behind your influencer marketing campaigns must be solid and well-executed if they’re going to be successful.

It’s not an influencer’s job to turn your product or brand into something desirable — you’ve got to do that on your own, and then use the influencer to bring awareness and social proof to your fantastic ideas. The easiest way to do this is to consider your influencer marketing campaign as one of the branches of your overall digital marketing strategy.

FORGET MICRO, IT’S TIME TO GO NANO

2018 was all about the movement of the micro influencers, but 2019 is going to be about the nano influencers. Rather than relying on a small handful of major influencers, top companies are starting to build their own influencer networks that can include thousands of major, micro, and nano influencers.

A nano influencer may only have a few thousand followers, but it’ll be in a very specific niche. They cost less and are sometimes more talented than their more popular counterparts. And if they screw up, it’s less of a PR disaster. Beginning to build your network of these nano influencers is going to be a powerful tool today and for years to come.

GET OFF TINDER AND STOP HAVING ONE-NIGHT STANDS

Building on the idea of creating influencer networks around your brand, you want to seek out individuals who are marriage-material. Your goal should be to seek out people you can forge long-term relationships with and not those one-hit wonders.

These people spend years building out their own audiences and we all know that real trust takes time. If you want someone to be the face of your brand or just represent it well, it’s going to take time, energy, effort, and consistency. Don’t waste your time focusing solely on those one-off sponsorships when your competitors are investing in long-term relationships.

LARGE AUDIENCE NUMBERS ARE NO LONGER GOOD ENOUGH

You no longer need to rely on someone’s audience numbers as proof of reach and businesses are now getting smarter about ensuring they see that ROI from their influencer marketing. While fake followers and fraudulent accounts made major news in 2018, influencers themselves started sharing their own first-party data to show more than those vanity metrics.

Work with influencers who are willing to show you how many people actually saw their posts, and how many engagements they received. Getting access to that data not only proves that actual influence exists, but it allows brands to create payment structures that are more aligned with other traditional digital marketing mediums. For example, you’ll now see some influencers being paid per engagement, and this is something we expect to see more of through 2019 and beyond.

INSTAGRAM IS WHERE IT’S AT

2018 was a wild and bumpy ride for some of the top social platforms — Instagram, conversely, was quietly and steadily thriving amongst the noise. Amidst YouTube and Facebook’s privacy problems and Twitter’s endless crusade against fake accounts, influencer marketing has continued to blossom on Instagram.

According to stats in the Influencer White Paper released by CreatorIQ:

 

 

  • The number of campaigns using influencers has doubled in the last year

 

  • Instagram was part of 93% of all influencer campaigns last year

 

  • Facebook and YouTube were nearly tied as the second most popular influencer marketing 

 

platform but both only have about half the action of Instagram

 

 

So the moral of the story here is that if you want to be successful with influencer marketing in 2019, Instagram is not optional — it’s essential.

As we approach the second month of 2019, the trends shaping this industry are already becoming clear. What’s your plan for influencer marketing this year? We’d love to hear about it!