The Year Influencer Marketing Evolves: A Change in the Wind
I’ve watched countless celebrity scandals freak people out this year. Kathy Griffin, Roseanne and even the YouTube superstar Paul Logan all took nosedives from grace due to their actions. These behaviors certainly hurt their careers, but I’ve also seen the damage they inflict on companies they represent. Guilt by association isn’t exciting, so brands will demand more from influencer marketing in the coming year.
Stricter Influencer Marketing Rules Coming
CNN dropped Kathy Griffin, ABC parted ways with Roseanne and YouTube removed Paul Logan from its premium advertising program. Of course, all these actions were reactive in nature. By the time the companies took punitive measures against the stars, heads had already started to roll (not a Kathy Griffin reference).
To avoid these situations altogether, brands are reviewing their influencer marketing contracts to utilize stricter language and ensure influencers avoid bad behavior. Some companies are even changing entire aspects of their business. YouTube, for instance, has started using manual vetting and requires preferred partners to meet new eligibility requirements. That’s right: celebrities ruined it for all of us.
Branded Content Won’t Sneak By
Thanks to the public relations nightmares a few celebrities caused over the last year, marketers have also decided that their branded content must be more transparent. After all, any perceived link to a person or organization that decides to go full-on stupid can damage reputations.
I’ve already seen this trend beginning with the “paid partnership” tag on Instagram. Any time a commercial relationship is behind an image showing up in someone’s feed, the photo will be labeled as such. Facebook is also taking proactive steps and states that an inability to recognize branded content can cause anxiety in a user.
“Anxiety” might be a strong word, but I get the sentiment.
Less is More
I get why some people think that snagging several influencers for a one-time blitz would be ideal. I’m not saying it’s smart – I just get it. In truth, brands are beginning to realize that long-term relationships with fewer influencers is the way to go.
Companies will be pickier about who they ask to represent them. There was a point in time where businesses would jump at the opportunity to work with influencers who had millions of followers. All the fans in the world, however, mean nothing if the influencer doesn’t share a brand’s values.
Because of this, companies will become more focused on building long-term relationships with fewer influencers who actually espouse their values.
Risk and Reward
Influencer partnerships are the direction marketing is currently heading. They make it easier to reach your target audience while increasing customer loyalty and brand awareness. Always remember, though, that handing off brand control can be a big risk.
If we’re being honest, most entrepreneurs find the benefits of influencer marketing well worth that risk. You just have to be careful about who represents your company. At GroMo, finding the perfect ambassadors for your brand is what we do.
If you’re ready for influencer management that can reduce the risks you face while bringing in all the benefits, get in touch with us today!