- The Convergence of Marketing and Communications
- More Influencer Marketing/Sponsored Content
- Metrics—This Year, Accuracy in Measurement
- Right-Time (Rather Than Real-Time) Marketing
- Video (More and Better)
Could we be looking at a Kardashian-free future? I certainly hope so.
Probably as much as any digital communications trend, the use of celebrities and social media influencers will be both much hyped and underutilized in 2017. Here is what typically happens (and what smart marketers should avoid):
It begins with the gross and inauthentic use of “megastars” who simply take an Instagram holding a product next to a canned catch phrase thought up by some account manager who probably doesn’t even use the platform. It’s inauthentic and shows just how little regard for a client’s money some agencies have.
Stop doing it.
Paying megastars or so-called social media celebrities is a bubble that needs to burst. It’s WAY overdue. The market value versus the actual ROI is out of control. Only the big brands can truly afford it and the ROI for them is negligible. Coca-Cola has the money to pay these fees, but what would they really get out it? When I see this type of marketing, I immediately think you’re pitching snake oil.
It’s become hokey and too obvious. Seriously. There is absolutely no authenticity and the cost is silly.
Don’t get me wrong. There IS value in real influencer engagement online. I see a huge bargain and upside with ROI in those influencers who are active on social media with medium to large followings—somewhere between 10,000 and 250,000 followers.
But the entire process needs to be re-strategized. Step one: agencies and their clients need to spend time identifying THE RIGHT influencer to fit the objective. A person who can become an evangelist for the brand, rather than just a spokesperson. Think marine wildlife artist/environmentalist Guy Harvey working with SeaWorld, or British chef Jamie Oliver with HelloFresh gourmet food delivery service.
It’s important to note that with these “influencers” (not stars), you have the opportunity to “niche out” the right fit. A company can work with an influencer who actually gives a shit about the company’s industry, and so the influencer’s followers know that there is meaning in the endorsement.
Not only does this make more sense, but also it allows the target audience to experience better engagement with the content. And the content will look and feel less like an ad. That is better for everyone—client, brand and, especially, the audience.
It’s more labor intensive and actually requires marketers to give thought to what they are doing rather than just throwing money at the problem, but the cost is much lower and the ROI can actually be meaningful and lasting.
With apologies to fans of Zoella or Markiplier or Jenna Marbles or Tyler Oakley, 2017 is going to be the year of better influencer marketing across the board. And it’s not getting here a moment too soon.