In the last year, we have seen many trends come and go. Some hit us like a bombshell while others faded into obscurity.
Instagram’s decision to hide likes was one such trend, that when announced, caused quite a stir across the social media community. The app’s justification for the move was said to be in the interest of mental health and the well-being of its users. Rather, they believe in emphasizing the value of posts over quantitative measures. Some have speculated that the motivation behind devaluing likes was not as admirable as initially communicated, but rather it was implemented as a way to wound those that profit off the app. It’s still early days, and we are yet to witness the true benefit of the app redesign, but for those that choose to prioritize valuable engagement over lackluster approvals, will continue to gain the attention and admiration they genuinely deserve.
As 2020 approaches, here are the 4 top trends to be on the lookout for in the coming year ahead:
Social media, influencer, and content marketing join forces
In 2017/2018 we began to see big brands delving into influencer marketing as a promotional add-on. In the coming year, this will be more apparent as brands take on a more holistic approach by merging social media marketing, influencer marketing, and content marketing to form an integrated marketing strategy. In the past they were viewed as stand-alone aspects, however, this mindset is shifting as brands become more aware of their intrinsic value when curated together. This is evident in Fortune 500 companies taking advantage of this growing “pillar” tool to extend their reach and impact. Brands will continue to create their own content and build their online presence, but at the same time, they will partner with influencers within their niche to extend brand reach to new audiences and potential customers.
Building sustainable relationships between brands and influences
Brands are realizing the worth in partnering with influencers that share the same core values and are willing to go the distance. Compatibility is key as brands understand that just because an influencer has millions of followers, doesn’t necessarily mean they will be beneficial to growing the brands’ customers. This selective approach will ensure, to a larger degree, the sustainability and impact of these partnerships in a more positive and profitable way.
More emphasis placed on the power of micro-influencers
At the start of influencer marketing, fame and notoriety were top prerequisites for being an influencer. The problem facing many brands today are the price tags associated with these macro-influencers along with the potential for bad publicity brought on by negative or controversial macro-influencer behaviors. Micro-influencers are often seen as “normal” or everyday people, and although their audiences are much smaller, their engagement rates are high and therefore valuable. Consumers’ trust has also shifted from high profile influencers to more focused industry experts in niche markets.
Nano-Influencers: 1-10K Followers
Micro-Influencers: 10-50K Followers
Small-Influencers: 50-150K Followers
Mid-Tier Influencers: 150-500K Followers
Big-Influencers: 500K-2M Followers
Macro-Influencers: 2-10M Followers
Mega-Influencers: 10M+ Followers
The value of authenticity
Research conducted over the last few years has shown that micro-influencers receive greater levels of engagement as they hold more authentic leverage. Their content is essentially more genuine and relatable to their audiences, more so than macro-influencers who are often thought to be “in it for the money and fame”. Audiences’ attention towards influencer content demands greater transparency and truth than ever before, and these micro-influencers are delivering on that. Followers can distinguish the difference between an advert, a personal recommendation, and an advert masked under a personal recommendation. They have wizened up to these tactical tricks used by brands and larger influencers, including fake followers, paid for endorsements, clickbait and vanity metrics. When marketers and brands curate an influencers voice, authenticity and credibility are lost. This can lead to the decline of followers and loss of faith in the influencer, not to mention failing to deliver true ROI. Understanding the value in authentically driven deliverables is key to forming long-lasting relationships between brands, influencers and audiences; and generating profitable ROI outcomes in the coming year.
What trends do you think are going to make waves in 2020?