In the same way that Halloween candy takes over store shelves in August so too do agencies and brands not just put a big bow on their holiday campaign planning but also wrap up their 2019 plans before back-to-school season is even back in session. But before pressing send on your proposals, consider checking your activations against our predictions for the hottest influencer marketing trends for 2019.

influencer marketing trends for 2019

Top 10 Influencer Marketing Trends for 2019

Based on past experiences and current conversations with brands, instead of simply stating “video is going to be big” (thanks, captain obvious), we’re sharing the following 10 influencer marketing trends for 2019 that will help your brand make a huge splash next year. Additionally, we are giving you ideas on how to implement them into your campaign plans.

1. Implement smart speakers.

Amazon Alexa, Apple HomePod, or Google Home are all the rage, am I right? Everywhere I go, I either see ads for these devices or see the devices in homes. Why? It’s an easy way to have a smart home while having awesome music. What’s not to love?

Based on this trend, mark my word: Voice in influencer marketing is going to be the next big thing.

I mean, have you heard the commercials that speak to a home’s smart speaker device? Brands are trying to think of creative ways to get consumers’ attention. And, you can do the same. But, not with commercials. Instead, think about using Influencer Marketing to drive brand awareness thanks to the help of smart speakers.

How can you hone in on the Smart Speaker Trend with the help of influencers? Focus your efforts on voice and sound instead of images. Here are some ideas:

  • Develop campaigns, allowing readers/followers to chat with their favorite influencer.
  • Have influencers promote a specific skill set. You could create a fun game focused on using the skill set. Who doesn’t love the Jeopardy skill on Amazon Alexa?
  • Engage fashion influencers to create an Amazon “storefront” that can be shopped by their readers/followers using an Alexa skill.

2. Measure ROI.

Thanks to public versus private APIs, metrics tracking platforms, and engagement (to name a few), stats are changing. In terms of influencer marketing trends for 2019, measuring ROI is going to be huge. So, understanding the changes and knowing how to track a campaign’s success is key.

According to Pew Research, as of 2018, approximately 7 out of 10 Americans use social media to connect with one another, engage with news content, share information, and entertain themselves. As a result, your social media campaigns have the potential to reach a lot of people.

Talking metrics at a campaign’s outset and tracking them at completion helps you know which platform best suits your audience and what technique improves your ROI.

In 2019, it will be more important than ever to:

  • Know the benefits of talking metrics before tactics.
  • Choose the right influencer marketing activation to get the right ROI.
  • Know which metrics to track on each social media platform.
  • Know how to track metrics on each platform.
  • Prepare a metrics report that will WOW your bosses and brands.

3. Create live video.

You might be thinking, “Live video has been hot for years now. Didn’t you see the Chewbacca Mom Facebook Live video?” You’re right! Live video wasn’t developed just yesterday, but let’s a play a game called “Did you know?”

  • “Live video is more appealing to brand audiences: 80% would rather watch live video from a brand than read a blog, and 82% prefer live video from a brand to social posts.” [source]
  • “By 2019, video will make up an astounding 80 percent of all internet traffic and, not surprisingly, two out of three marketers expect video to make up the majority of their content in the near future.” [source]

So, how can you make video work for you and your brand’s influencer marketing campaigns?By integrating live videos and stories into them. Followers want to feel like they are with their favorite influencers. And, live stories and videos does just that.

Here are some campaign ideas on how to make live video work for your brand:

  • Behind-the-scenes (for food brands, that could translate to influencer visits to the brand’s farm)
  • Store try-ons with polls (for clothing brands, that could translate to influencer visits to the brand’s store and crowd sources her outfits)
  • Grocery shopping trips (for stores or food brands where influencers taking their followers shopping with them and have them help them get just the right products for their recipe)
  • Hands-on activities (for DIY brands, that could translate to influencer craft time)
  • Moms night out (for parenting brands, that could translate to influencers meeting up with local parents to discuss topics and share products)

With all of those ideas, how can your brand maximize live video to get the most bang for the buck? Cut, share, and cross-post. Repurpose the content and get it out in myriad places across the interwebs. People are loving video and will continue to do so next year which is why video made our list of influencer marketing trends for 2019. So, why not give them what they want while driving huge ROI … across all of social media channels?

4. Work with micro-influencers.

The year 2019 will help us take a good hard look at who we chose for influencer marketing campaigns and make us shift to work with people who remind us of our family, friends, neighbors, etc.

To be clear, I’m not saying that big-time influencers are not authentic. We work with a ton of heavy-hitters that create amazing authentic content that their readers and followers absolutely love. All I’m saying is that 2019 will shine a bright, beautiful light on micro-influencers and their amazing authentic content.

Why work with micro-influencers instead of celebrity influencers? Here are just a few of the reasons:

  • Micro-influencers are approachable.
  • Their content usually ends up having more engagement (music to your ears, right?!).
  • Their opinions are a trustworthy source of word-of-mouth promotions.
  • They are relatable because they are just like everyday consumers.

Don’t get me wrong. We love a good celebrity campaign. But, 2019 will be the year of the micro-influencers.

5.) Go retro-ish.

Fashion styles (like bell bottoms) seem to move in cycles throughout the years. Walk into any Target right now and you’ll feel some 80s vibes, am I right? So, let’s go retro-ish with social media when talking influencer marketing trends for 2019, shall we?

What was huge back when this whole thing started? Twitter parties (Twitter chats or socials as some brands call them). Years ago, Twitter parties were everywhere. But, if you think Twitter parties are a thing of the past, think again. Twitter parties are not going anywhere in 2019. Why? With so many people on Twitter nowadays, brands are able to hit an incredible amount of impressions and reach within even just a short 1-hour Twitter party. Brands can get panelists to join, hit the goals they need to achieve (and/or exceed), share their hashtag and messages, and get new followers. What’s not to love about a good ‘ole fashioned Twitter party?

Not loving a good old fashioned Twitter Chat? Find other ways to use this platform. Promoting your blog posts and other content on Twitter helps boost its SEO. Or, have you heard of Twitter threads? This 63-tweet Twitter thread went viral just last week.

What else was also going by the wayside, but should still be on your radar? We’re looking at you, Google+. Although the platform is not very popular for social connection, social media marketers love it because like Twitter, it helps increase search engine results rankings. Promote your content there as just one way to get greater views.

The moral of the story is: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Twitter parties still work. Google+ still works. So, don’t ditch them in 2019.

6.) Love IGTV.

If you haven’t traveled to the land of IGTV yet, then make plans to vacation there in 2019. Yes, the growth seems to be a bit slow, but here are a few reasons why your brand will love exposure on IGTV and why it made our influencer marketing trends for 2019 list:

  • “IGTV is a great tool to provide longer form content to your audience, which is hard to do on a post or story. (80% of Instagram users would rather watch a video than read a blog post from a brand.)” [source]
  • “While only verified accounts or accounts with 10,000 or more followers can use the ‘swipe up’ feature on Instagram Stories, accounts of any size can now add a swipe up link to IGTV videos within Instagram Stories.” [source]
  • “When you add a new IGTV video, your followers will get a big orange notification across the top of their screen about your new video. At a time when there are 1 billion Instagram accounts for your posts to compete with, being singled out on these notifications is a great perk.While professionally produced videos also look great on IGTV, any account can make use of the feature, regardless of video budget.” [source]

Additionally, the opportunity to cross-promote between Instagram posts, Instagram Stories, and IGTV is a big reason why you should use IGTV as a tool for influencer marketing campaigns. Are you sold? If so, how can you make IGTV work for your brand in 2019? Here are some ideas:

  • Repurpose existing video or high-performing IG Stories (just make sure the video is in 4:5 vertical format).
  • Have influencers host sponsored recurring segments and incorporate feedback loops and polls that tie into their sponsored IG post(s) and IG Story as well.
  • Run a weekly “TV” series with an influencer or a group of influencers.
  • Collaborate with a group of influencers who can create a talk show type setting across their IGTV accounts.

IGTV is so new for the influencer marketing industry, but we predict good things are to come. So, why not be the brand that embraces it and sets the standard for an awesome IGTV-sponsored experience?

7. Venture into the world of podcasts.

Is it strange to think that podcasts are the new black, I mean the new blog? They are all the rage and will become even bigger in 2019. Because of this, influencers are the perfect hosts and followers want to hear from them. Influencers are fully aware of this and many have shifted their focus, making their blogs secondary and their podcast primary to drive traffic, increase followers, and engage with fans. Why? A podcast gives their readers and followers the feeling that they are hanging out with the influencers.

Simply put: When it comes to 2019 influencer marketing trends, you’ll want to find a way to work with influencers via podcasts. However, an important thing to keep in mind is that podcasts, although they might seem like radio, should not be treated like radio. Although they are both audio channels, radio is local and broadcast so everyone hears it. Podcasts are national (and even international), but audiences are targeted and opt-in. [source] Here are some ideas:

  • Sponsor a podcast (e.g., you could send product to an influencer and have them share their thoughts/opinions on the product).
  • Arrange an interview (e.g., instead of having the podcast host read messages off of a cue card, invite a person onto the podcast who can talk first-hand about the product).
  • Invite an influencer to take over your brand’s podcast for one or more segments and promote it to his or her followers, encouraging them to attend. Then, put paid advertising behind the segment, tagging the influencer, to increase the listens.

8. Maximize engagement.

What do we love? Engagement. When do we want it? NOW … and even more in 2019. So, how can you increase engagement on your sponsored posts and shares? First of all, you will need to find a way to optimize and maximize the content.

So, in terms of 2019 influencer marketing trends, I think we’ll see brands developing long-term relationships with influencers. What are the benefits of long-term influencer relationships? Trust, reliability, confidence, organic endorsements, authenticity … the list could go on and on. Readers/followers will see the influencer posting organically about the sponsor over a longer period of time which will only help to increase engagement. Instead of one-off sponsored content, ambassador-like partnerships will be one of the 2019 influencer marketing trends.

What are other ways you can increase engagement in 2019?

  • Start conversations (e.g., ask people to caption a photo and maybe throw in a giveaway).
  • Make social videos to attract readers/followers and create an experience that builds community.
  • Create short, fun product videos that can be shared by influencers.
  • Partner with influencers who are or have published books. Because of their established voice and following, many influencers are becoming immediate best sellers. Brands have a huge opportunity to sponsor campaigns around a popular influencer’s book, partner with them on the book tour, satellite media tour, or otherwise maximize on the publicity the influencer is sure to get when promoting his or her book. Authors need support when first promoting their book. And brands need visibility. This strategy is a match made in heaven.

Another way you can maximize engagement is by diversifying and creating opportunities. Well, that seems broad, right? Let’s play another game of “Did you know?” Influencers are now creating their own product lines. That’s right. Influencers turned their passion into product lines that their readers and followers are LOVING. Here are a few examples:

  • Amber Fillerup, the woman behind the blog https://www.barefootblonde.com/, took her passion for hair and launched her own line of hair extensions that sell out within minutes of new product launches.
  • Jordan Ferney, the woman behind the blog http://ohhappyday.com/, partnered up with Alaska Airlines on her museum: Color Factory. She started as a blogger and social media influencer, got big on Instagram, moved into owning a party supply store, and now has a popular museum in Manhattan, Manhattan Color Walk.
  • Rachel Parcell, the woman behind the blog http://pinkpeonies.com/, took her passion for fashion (love a good rhyme) and launched her own clothing line, Rachel Parcell.

Nutshell? Influencers are savvy, educated, and business-minded. Discover the right ones, establish those long-term relationships, and you never know how far you’ll both go together.

9.) Integrate AI.

Now, I’m not saying that the future will be made up of artificial influencers (yikes!). Remember, we’re all about authentic and genuine content and real human beings over here at FORWARD. But, one of the benefits of AI, especially in relation to influencer marketing, is that it can create segmentations for influencer attributes based on data ranging from audience breakdown, past performance, brand affinity, and sponsorship saturation. [source]

Here’s the final game of “Did you know?”

  • “AI can sift through past performance data, assess what types of brands influencers have worked with in the past, and which influencers continually drive high, qualified engagement around specific types of products or types of content. All of this enables advertisers to focus less on execution and more on making the right marketing strategy decisions.” [source]

The important thing to keep in mind is that even with all of this AI talk, there is still a need for the human element (and no, I’m not just saying that because I work for an influencer marketing network). The human element is key when it comes to managing influencer marketing campaigns due to the influencer selection process, as well as to drive innovation around content and social media strategy.

AI can certainly streamline the functionality of business and influencer marketing in 2019, but continue to use humans to ensure creativity, innovation, and quality.

10.) Work with Gen Xers.

Move over, Millennials. The year 2019 will shift focus to working with Gen Xers. What’s the difference between Millennials and Gen X?

  • “Millennials (also known as Generation Y) are the generational demographic cohort following Generation X. Millennials are sometimes referred to as “echo boomers” due to a major surge in birth rates in the 1980s and 1990s, and because millennials are often the children of the baby boomers.” [source]

During 2018, a lot of focus was put on working with Millennials due to their reach, engagement, and familiarity with the hottest trends. In terms of 2019 influencer marketing trends, the focus will remain on the Millennials, but we’ll start to see brands shifting focus back to Gen X thanks to things like the Gen Xers’ disposable income. Why will you love working with Gen X influencers? Typically, Gen X influencers (and their readers and followers) [source]:

  • Embrace the Internet.
  • Love to search far and wide for the information they need.
  • Expect inclusion.
  • Demand reliability.
  • Favor DIY projects.

With all that being said, one of the greatest obstacles in the marketing approach to Gen Xers is that they tend to shop more conservatively than other generations. As a result, they’re more skeptical about marketing tactics, which means they won’t be fans of flashy advertising. Instead, they want practicality and proof of performance. In other words, Gen Xers will thoroughly research and use search engines, online reviews, and social media before purchasing a product. [source] So, this mentality will fit right inline with your influencer marketing campaigns because honest explanations and product usage by the Gen X influencers will draw in their followers and readers. Hello, ROI.

Wrapping It All Up

In short, social media is not going away and the use of influencers in marketing is only going to continue on the upward trend in 2019. So, how can you be ahead of the trends and set apart your brand’s influencer marketing campaigns? Focus on these 2019 influencer marketing trends:

  • Implementing smart speakers
  • Measuring ROI
  • Creating live video
  • Working with micro-influencers
  • Going retro-ish
  • Loving IGTV
  • Venturing into the world of podcasts
  • Maximizing engagement
  • Integrating AI
  • Working with Gen Xers

What 2019 influencer marketing trends do you see on the horizon?

This post has been modified from the originally published article on ForwardInfluence.com.

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