What trends will dominate influencer marketing in 2018?

The end of 2017 brings a raft of predictions for 2018, but now that the new year has started, what trends are brands going to use to increase market share?

Video: Social marketing secrets: Going from nobody to noticed

Throughout 2017, influencer marketing grew significantly. Although a comparatively new form of marketing, influencer marketing enables brands to increase awareness, and reach new audiences through influencers communicating with their followers across social media platforms.

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By using highly targeted influencers, 63 percent of marketers increased their budgets for 2017 and over a third of marketers spent up $5,000 on influencer marketing.

For 2018 a Linqia survey predicts that 39 percent of marketers will increase influencer marketing budgets, with the majority planning to spend between $25,000 and $50,000 throughout the year.

It will be rare for a brand to launch a campaign in 2018 that does not include at least one influencer.

Old tools rule the new year

Video will continue to dominate influencer marketing. Whether that is beauty vloggers sharing tips on YouTube, or brand-based video campaigns, we need to see more visual content throughout 2018.

Expect to see this media dominate -- just as Facebook has predicted video will dominate our feeds. In 2017 it launched Facebook Watch to enable users to watch shows uploaded directly to its platform, and diverting views away from YouTube.

Influencer videos are extremely effective at driving sales. Increasingly brands use influencer-created content in their campaigns.

According to a recent gen.video study, the Influence of Influencers, 90 percent of social media users are influenced to make a purchase after seeing content on social media and 33 percent of survey respondents reported that social media influencers are their most trusted sources when shopping.

So for 2018 two tools will rule for influencer marketing. The Linquia survey shows that 92 percent of respondents say Instagram is the most important network for influencer marketing followed by Facebook at 77 percent.

Relationships need to last

It is vital for a brand to have an on-going relationship with both mega, and micro-influencers. Micro-influencers have changed the way that brands do social marketing.

Social users recognize when an influencer has been hired for only one campaign to promote a brand or service and are quick to condemn if the influencer does not show authenticity and a steady relationship with the brand.

This means that the pool of influencers will be more in demand as more and more brands seek their services. Influencers will no longer be happy with produce giveaways. Brands will need to think of other value-add services and incentives to keep influencers engaged with the brand.

Brands should watch out for fake influencers that could harm their brands and campaigns. Due diligence should be carried out as each new influencer is brought on board.

Longer-term relationships with influencers who have worked with the brand for a while, will continue to strengthen influencer relationships.

Return on e-commerce investment

Successful campaigns are measured on increased sales, or service subscription take-ups. Shopping on Instagram, which allowed customers to browse Instagram, click and purchase, proved to be successful in 2017.

Amazon Spark enables customers to follow influencers, and with one tap, purchase the item that they saw on the app.

Brands should focus on detailed metrics which enables them to accurately track ROI and other key performance indicators through good analytics tools.

Whatever the focus this year, brands need influencers to help them extend and amplify their reach. Savvy brands already have their 2018 influencers primed to go. The rest will need to act fast before the best influencers are all snapped up.

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