Influencer marketing is a hot trend creating brand awareness, sales, earned media, a gain in social media presences and more. And because it’s a powerful tool to get in front of target consumers in an authentic way, it shows no signs of slowing down.

So, based on what I’ve seen this past year and what I have planned for the new year when it comes to influencer marketing, I’ve compiled a list of 10 influencer marketing predictions so that brands can stay ahead of the game and run the best influencer marketing programs possible.

Let’s take a look at the market trends and predictions so that you can design a profitable influencer marketing strategy for 2020.

TikTok Will Become More Popular and More Profitable

TikTok has quickly become a strong presence on the social media scene. It’s a short form video channel and has exploded this year. Popular types of videos include music clips, beauty tips, sports actions, food and pranks.

This platform has a young audience so partnering with TikTok influencers is a great way for brands who want to reach a younger demographic. In fact 66% of their users are under the age of 30.

When working with influencers on TikTok, brands need to give the influencers a lot of creative freedom as videos that come across like ads don’t perform well on this platform. Authenticity is key and brands need to keep this in mind and let the influencers authentically incorporate the brand in their videos.

Long Term Influencer Partnerships Will Be More Lucrative

Studies show that the more an influencer recommends a brand, the more weight the brand recommendation holds, and conversion rates increase.

I’m seeing more and more brands sign contracts with influencers to work with them for a whole year. This can be a post per month or a post per quarter. But, establishing these long-term relationships is a smart move.

Working with the same influencers throughout the year cuts down on time it takes to constantly recruit new influencers. It also ensures that you’re working with influencers who have familiarity with your brand making them great brand ambassadors.

It’s crucial to nurture these relationships with ongoing communication, new product from your brand and making the influencers feel like a part of your brand instead of an extension of your brand. The happier the influencers are with your brand, the better their posts will be.

The FTC Will Crack Down More on Disclosure Laws

The FTC is beginning to pay closer attention to whether or not influencers disclose their relationships with the brands they post about. In fact, they recently released this easy to understand guide on how influencers should disclose that they got compensation from a brand for their post.

It’s your job as a brand to vet that the posts you earn contain popular disclosure. Usually a statement at the beginning of a blog post stating that the influencer was compensated by your brand for the post or a #sponsored hashtag on a social media post will suffice. If proper disclosure is missing from your brand’s earn media, both you and the influencer can get in trouble.

The “Mid-Level” Influencer Will Become More Popular

The “mid-level” influencer has between 10,000 and 100,000 followers and are becoming the most sought-after segment in influencer marketing programs. For a lot lower cost, mid-level influencers can move the needle for brands when it comes to brand awareness and sales.

The theory is that they have a manageable sized audience and can thus engage with them more than celebrity level influencers and this engagement increases trust with their followers.

Between the lower cost and higher engagement, the mid-level influencer should be the focus of your influencer marketing program.

B2B Brands Will Hop on the Influencer Marketing Bandwagon

Traditionally influencer marketing is for B2C brands. But, more and more B2B brands are finding success from this form of marketing.

Many brands like software brands are finding experts in their vertical to try out their product and blog about their experience and how it made their business better.

There are less experts for any given niche in the B2B niche, so these campaigns are run at a smaller scale but their still seeing a lot of positive results.

Audio and Video Content Will Be on the Rise

Podcasts and YouTube videos are becoming more popular because they’re more engaging than blog posts or static photos.

67% of people report that they watch videos from brands making them a great avenue for brands to appeal to their target consumers.

As for podcasts, 25% of people report listening to at least one a month.

There are many ways to work with podcasters and YouTubers. Your brand can send them product for a dedicated video or episode about your brand and how they integrate it into their lives. Or, brands can send them products to be showcased at the beginning of their video or episode in a sponsorship relationship.

Storytelling Will Become More Important

Consumers are becoming more ad-blind and turned off by traditional advertising methods. So, when your brand works with influencers, it’s important that your product is integrated into their content in an authentic way. A plain product review no long cuts it. Instead, influencers need to tell stories that include your brand as a solution or benefit to everyday lives.

Coming up with creative campaign themes is a must. Think of it this way, your brand sells clothing. A post where the influencer takes selfies of themselves in your clothing and writes a blog post saying that your brand sent them clothing and here are some pictures is too blatant of an advertisement. Instead, writing a post about updating your fall wardrobe or listing your product in “must have” items for Fall is a lot more engaging than the former scenario.

So, work with your influencers and come up with ways that their content can authentically weave your brand into their posts with storytelling methods to ensure the best results from your influencer relationships.

A Multi-Channel Approach Will Become a Must

There are a variety of ways to reach your target consumers through influencer marketing. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out which channels will offer the most benefit, so I recommend working with an influencer on all of their channels.

A blogger with a strong presence on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest is what I look for in a qualified influencer. This way they are reaching consumers where they want to be reached.

I’m seeing more brands take this approach because earned blog posts can show up in search results for years and help with SEO while social posts create a quick spark of brand awareness for brands.

Luckily there are tools like Dialog Feed to help you monitor the power of your content on the different channels that your influencers post on.

Influencer Generated Content Will Be Used in Various Areas of Branding

We discussed influencer marketing being a great way to create brand awareness and generate sales, but it holds other benefits as well such as producing earned media that can be used in brand assets. More and more brands are using influencer generate content in a variety of ways. Some of them include:

  •         Paid social media ads
  •         Organic social media posts
  •         Images on websites
  •         Newsletters and emails
  •         Marketing materials

The theory is that when a consumer is doing their brand research, they want to see how other consumers like themselves use your brand. Influencer generated content is a great way to help consumers along the buyer’s journey when they’re doing their brand research.

Influencer Marketing Budgets Will Increase

As brands are seeing great results from influencer marketing compared to traditional advertising methods, they are diverting more of their budgets to influencer marketing.

In fact, 17% of companies plan to spend over half of their budgets on influencer marketing!

Between 2018 and 2019, we saw a large jump in terms of what brands spent on influencer marketing. In 2018, only 39% of marketers increased their influencer marketing spend and in 2019, 65% of marketers increased the influencer marketing spend and we are expecting to see that number jump even more in 2020. This shows just how confident marketers are becoming when it comes to influencer marketing programs.

What influencer marketing predictions do you have for 2020? We’d love to hear from you on Twitter @eAccountable and chat about what’s in store for the industry this upcoming year!