Digital Marketing

How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy step by step?

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Have you ever wondered why social media has gained so much importance? It initially got popular as a communication channel or interaction platform. The paradigm has changed a lot and at the moment, it is one of the strongest marketing modes. Brands and corporate organizations spend the largest portion of their product promotion budget on social media channels. These days, even sellers operating on a very small scale have Updated pages on Facebook. They add fresh posts and pictures to attract the audience. The success of a product/brand is determined by the number of followers and positive comments it has.

Developing a strategy

Every social media campaign does not attract a storm of people. A fact is that a good chunk fails because the right tips are not followed. Therefore, following the right practices is important. Here is how you can design a productive marketing process in a stepwise sequential manner.

1. Provision of quality enriched content regularly

The popularity of a social media campaign depends a lot on the quality of content that readers get to read. To start with, it should be well researched and properly compiled. Other than that, it is quite important to use a synonym changer so that rewriting is up to the mark. Always remember that publishing copied information can be the immediate burial of your brand.

Using a dependable rewriting tool means that you would not have to spend any time on it. Secondly, it would be easy to operate with tight deadlines and produce top-notch content without delays. Each post published should be catchy and provide key insights into the brand. If you are about to launch a product sale, make sure that it is promoted through all social media channels. At times, we see that some posts are stuffed with facts. This practice causes severe boredom and people lose interest. Hence, the goal is to provide unique content in a unique catchy manner.

2. Constant competitor analysis

If you are an online brand, always keep an eye on what your competitors are doing. Even one mistake can place you right at the bottom. Have a check on the traffic rate they are getting. Secondly, when making sure that you are not missing on any of the important keywords. The traffic rate can drop immediately if commonly used search phrases are not a part of the content. Websites lose their ranks because they do not include the correct keywords. Keeping an eye on rival brands can help you in strengthening your own position.

3. Who is your target audience?

Every product/set of services is not purchased by everyone. People have preferences on the basis of age group, gender, need and other factors. It is important to have a clear insight into potential customers. If your product is coffee, most working people would be interested in it. Hence, captions and post titles will have to be created accordingly

  • An integral part of any social media marketing strategy is communication with buyers. If you know who would buy your product, it will be easier to interact in an effective manner. Some brands have a good financial budget if they have established a market position. At times, sellers do not have clarity about the intended audience. In such cases, you can create personas and see which people are showing interest. Go through their comments and analyze their needs. This would help you in creating the right marketing tactics.

4. Imposter accounts can ruin you forever

It is a fact that well-known brands have more customers than newer ones. This difference is not created without years of endless hard work. The journey to survive competition, reach to the top and stay there requires immense dedication. It is good if you have reached that level but be aware of imposters who want a bite of your reputation.

  • Imposter accounts are mostly made by cheap sellers who want to attract people by using your name. They may be selling copied versions of your products at very cheap rates. For them, this is a winning situation because they are able to earn profits without any hard work. However, for any legitimate brand, this can result in a complete shutdown as well. People considering the counterfeiters may think that the original brand is behind the selling campaign. When people begin facing quality problems, the actual buyers would start vanishing.

  • Keep an eye on how visitors are responding on social media. If you see that suddenly people have started complaining about low quality or showing happiness due to low prices, start looking for counterfeiters. A good prevention technique is providing social media links on your website. In this way, buyers would not trust the wrong sellers unintentionally.

5. Choosing the channels that will work for you

A smart mindset is needed to select the right social media channels for a brand marketing campaign. It is not necessary to be active on all modes including Facebook, Insta, YouTube and Twitter. To begin with, check the requirements that your product has. If you only have to post photos and text content is not needed, Instagram would suit you more than Facebook. Similarly, you also need to consider what the targeted audience is using. As a brand, you should be active on the same channel.

Conclusion

There is no doubt that social media is the most powerful platform for product promotion these days. This does not mean that you can achieve the needed success without having the right strategy. There are several factors which you should focus on so that the correct strategy is implemented. To begin with, be aware of the audience you are targeting. This is not something you would be able to figure out instantly. Other than that, keeping an eye on the present competition is important as well.

At times, brands suffer because they do not keep a check on how their rivals are progressing. To prevent them from going ahead, it is important to analyze their performance at all times.


Three Tech Trends Transforming Digital Marketing

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Unless people have been living in a cave or on a deserted island, they have not missed the explosion of digital marketing. Every time you get online, you are bombarded with advertisements; and when you access your social media accounts, it is even worse. If you have conducted a search for a specific product or service, for example, all of a sudden, ads for this type of product pop up in your feeds. Obviously, your behavior is being watched and noted.

This is all due to big data technology, something that is impacting virtually every sector of the economy. Oceans of unstructured data can now be gathered from all over the web and then organized and categorized, in order to answer questions businesses have about consumer behaviors, needs and wants, and then be used to predict what products and services should be developed and offered. It is based upon science, not “gut” feelings. The implications for marketing are explosive.

And no marketer can ignore the significance of using social media for their efforts. But using social media involves staying current on the latest technologies that will capture target audiences too. It is no longer enough to be on several platforms to promote products and services. Using data science to understand an audience, to know where and when they are online, and what type of content they want to see is critical.

Beyond data science, there are other digital trends that are also transforming marketing. Here are three of them:

1. Chatbots

Chatbots have been around for a long time. They are used via text, voice and messaging. One of the most successful early bots was Poncho, the Weather Cat.

He was developed by a small team, and the purpose was to give daily text weather forecasts to users anywhere in the world, in response to user requests, combined with lots of humor, horoscopes for a while, and social games.

Businesses took up this technology and began to add it to their websites, primarily to answer the most common questions that visitor’s must-have. A prime example is writing services, which students often use for assignment help. One look at the top-rated writing agencies at PickTheWriter will demonstrate the use of these types of bots.

But we’ve come a long way since then.

Enter artificial intelligence. Anyone who has used Alexa has experienced this. Bots are programmed to “learn” through natural language processing technology, so that they become “smarter” through continued use, as they provide more complex answers/solutions to their users.

What does this mean for marketing? A lot, actually. When customer inquiries and product searches are tracked through chatbots, it allows those bots to send out personalized push notifications regarding products/services in which they have shown interest; it allows suggestions for additional “upsells” to be made; and it allows automated yet personalized customer service, which is more and more becoming an integral part of marketing. When customer questions, problems, issues are resolved, they become loyal to a brand.

2. Voice Search

People are busy. And they are on the go a lot. They are on their mobile devices more than on PC’s now, and typing in search terms is no longer convenient or practical (those tiny keyboards). Fortunately. Google and Siri have that covered. Users can search for anything from a nearby Greek restaurant to ceiling light fixtures and get immediate results.

But there’s the thing about voice searches.

They are a huge challenge for businesses. Voice searches do not give pages and pages like a PC search does. It becomes even more important for digital marketers to ensure that their company is among the top results. It means that content must do the following:

  • No more single-word keywords. Users search in longer phrases and full sentences, and those must be incorporated into the content.

  • Content must reflect the natural conversational language and use vocabulary that your target audience uses. The vocabulary used by a senior citizen may be quite different from that of Generation Z users.

  • Content must absolutely solve a problem or answer a question that a target audience will have.

3. Incorporation of Blockchain Technology

Blockchain technology is already transforming huge segments of the economy because it creates immutable records and documents. This prevents fraud and theft and is the most secure environment for storage to date. Consider, for example, how an international shipment may go through several “hands” on its way to a destination. All along that way, there is the potential for theft or loss. Blockchain will track that shipment through all of these points and record its contents at each stop/transfer. Blockchain also provides permanent secure storage of medical records, voter registrations and identity, financial transactions, legal contracts, and more.

So, how does this impact digital marketing? Consumers are far smarter and far more wary of providing a lot of personal information when they do business on the web. And they want much more control over how their personal data is used by advertisers (sold, rented, exchanged, etc.). When businesses incorporate blockchain into the “mix,” it is the consumer who decides when that information can be shared with any others, not the business. This increases trust.

And there is also the benefit of blockchain for marketers who use paid advertising. Through blockchain, they are able to track all of their ad dollars and confirm exactly who is viewing those ads, when, and how (and there are real people, not bots being “counted”). The point is ensuring that a target audience is actually reached.

There’s More…

In addition to the use of big data, covered in the introductions, these three trends are big, as far as the technology that should be incorporated. Another huge trend is the use of the augmented and virtual reality that will give consumers experiences with products and services.

But new technologies are not the only key components of digital marketing. There are many non-tech trends too, and marketers would be well-advised to stay current on those as well. Just a few of these involve storytelling, feature advantages benefits selling (FABS), use of media, and promoting relationships rather than products.

Digital marketing, in total, is a complex and challenging effort if it is to be successful. But it is the one thing that will bring consumers to a company’s doorstep and beyond. No marketer can become lazy in a crowded and constantly changing space.


?About: Angela Baker

Angela Baker is a self-driven specialist who is currently working as a freelance writer at WoWGrade writing services and is trying to improve herself and her blogging career. She is always seeking to discover new ways for personal and professional growth and is convinced that it’s always important to broaden horizons. That's why Angela develops and improves her skills throughout the writing process to help to inspire people. Also, she writes for LiveInspiredMagazine, rounding out her professional writing career.

Intelligent conversions: Understanding the Impact of AI in Digital Marketing

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Did you know that 40% of the marketing and sales teams believe that artificial intelligence(AI) and machine learning(ML) will contribute significantly to their department’s success? Does this mean AI digital transformation will revolutionize the marketing world?

Artificial intelligence has already made its way in every major industry, ranging from automobiles to technology. It is already dominating the customer service segment through chatbots. But how is it affecting the digital marketing services world? Will AI transform online marketing as we see it today?

Today, a significant portion of digital marketing revolves around data. Whether it is social media marketing or inbound lead generation, better data insights imply better sales. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning help to make sense of this data.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning support the creation of micro-moments in digital marketing that enable personalizing the customer experience and understanding market requirements in real-time.

Customer analysis is a massive factor in personalizing experience. Netflix and Amazon heavily utilize AI to understand preferences and provide relevant suggestions to customers. AI-based tools enable a comprehensive study of the audience and help in determining what type of content to create.

Digital marketers are working hard to reap the potential of AI. They are trying to leverage AI for campaign management, budget, strategy execution, and ROI estimation. These are significant factors in determining the success of any activity. By delegating these activities to AI systems, marketers can find more time for productive decision-making and creating a better digital marketing strategy.

The influence of Artificial Intelligence in Digital Marketing

IBM’s Watson is one marketing automation tool that has helped marketers work at a centralized platform with all their customer data.

While automation and AI are two different aspects of technology, they can work wonders for marketers when combined together.

Online digital marketers are still studying the influence of AI on digital marketing, but its role in digital success is growing with each day.

Let’s have a look at some aspects of digital marketing where AI and ML are playing a massive role to augment enterprise profitability and growth.

Data Collection and Analysis

AI helps digital marketers to collect audience data and create campaigns that target specific touchpoints. AI systems, with the help of Big Data and CRM, bring this data to a centralized platform and present patterns that have worked previously for the target audience.

Website Creation

A prime example of AI-based website creation is the Wix’s ADI. Digital marketers often need a dedicated website or landing page for specific campaigns. The Wix ADI creates a fully-functional website based on a few questions. It learns the requirements and works with a template that suitably matches it.

Strategic Advertising

Planning the advertising budget is a principal challenge for digital marketers. AI predicts customer behavior based on the data collected. The insights from this data are then used to create better ads that match the user’s preference. Combined with A/B testing and market research, marketers can almost accurately determine their online ads budget with the best ROI option.

Accurate Evaluation

With the help of AI-based tools, digital marketers can now eliminate the guesswork from their campaign analysis. While earlier, they had to create the next strategy based on the closest pattern - now, AI can provide accurate insights into the performance of a campaign.

Today, there are more customer touchpoints to target than ever. On average, it takes targeting 5 to 7 touch points before a customer is converted.  AI and ML enable making data-based decisions to actively target these touchpoints and prepare a strategy that influences the customer at every stage of their journey.

How To Use Artificial Intelligence in Digital Marketing

There are a myriad of AI and ML use cases in digital marketing. Most of them are directed towards improving the customer experience, predicting the target audience’s behavior, and generating real-time insights. It is helping businesses succeed in the digital world in areas where human personnel is not particularly efficient.

Marketers working in $500M to $1B companies are the dominant adopters of AI, particularly conversational AI systems for customer service.

However, AI and ML systems can only work in digital marketing when combined with human efforts and creative ideas.

Here are a few ways in which digital marketers can leverage these technologies to generate maximum revenue for enterprises:- 

Content Creation

When it comes to inbound lead generation, content is still the king. However, producing more content doesn’t work anymore. Google’s algorithm and the customer’s mind - both are hungry for relevant content that makes sense to their requirements.

With AI-based tools, content marketers can easily identify their best performing content. They can get insights on what is working for their customers and create more content around that. There are AI and ML tools that help to plan content and suggest which channels work best for different audiences. Companies are also using AI to generate content for specific touchpoints in their customer journey. (Tool: Concured)

Grammar is an important aspect that determines the quality of your content. AI tools like Grammarly help to frame content with proper grammar and eliminate any spelling errors. It also helps in proper sentence framing to help eliminate the “sales-y-ness” from the content.

Customer Behaviour Prediction

Today, digital marketers know that targeting everyone in your niche is a waste of resources, time, and effort. But how do they tackle this problem? AI systems enable them to identify prospects that are most likely to respond to their offer.

AdWords professionals require better analysis to identify prospects that can be converted from expensive advertising on Google. By determining the campaign objectives and analyzing previous data, AI can provide an effective strategy for AdWords.

AI and ML models used to identify customer behavior help in identifying patterns and creating digital marketing strategies according to them. These models are based on the goals you want to achieve from your marketing activity, including website traffic, specific action, or generating leads. Through predicting customer behavior, AI enables digital marketers to use fewer resources and target the right prospects at the right place and at the right time.

Customer Experience Enhancement

Customer trust is solely based on the experience they get from a brand. AI and ML can help personalize the content for users based on their history, location, and preferences. It leads to the impression that the brand is taking care of their specific needs and enhances their experience.

Retailers like Amazon, Warby Parker, and several others allow customers to take a free “try-on” of a product. It is a result of combining AR and VR with AI. The result is an increase in sales and customer loyalty as they can now understand whether they want to purchase a product or not.

Ask any digital marketing agency and they will say that improving the customer’s online experience is their first priority. A significant driver in this could be voice-enabled AI searches to give the user a better experience of a brand’s website. It will amplify the user’s visit on the website and provide an augmented version of the brand using voice-based algorithms. 

Online Advertising

Digital Marketing AI will certainly benefit marketers to target audiences better with online advertising. Platforms like Instagram and Facebook have already incorporated AI and ML to understand the audience that any brand is going to advertise to.

Artificial intelligence tools help to augment online advertising by showing marketers what’s important to their target audience. They help to develop a comprehensive understanding of how ads need to be created and what people they should target for maximum conversion.

Advertising online isn’t for everyone these days. But combined with the right AI tools, it can increase the ROI twofold. How? By helping marketers plan an advertising budget based on proper analysis of their customer’s data and developing campaigns specific to their target audience’s requirements. With AI, rapid decision-making during a campaign is possible to avoid underutilization of money spent on ads.

Real-time Tracking and Insights

Measuring digital marketing efforts is crucial to understanding what worked and what went wrong. This is important because customer acquisition costs are much higher than customer retention costs. Tracking each campaign using AI will provide better insights into which customer segment marketers should target.

Through AI and ML, digital marketers can track their audience’s behavior and communicate better with them. They can analyze customer conversations in real-time and identify why people are talking about them (There are tools to track customer conversations on Twitter, Facebook, etc.). This helps to target customers better using the activities that work for each audience.

AI tools also provide insights by comparing past customers and new customers. This data is invaluable as marketers can learn how they can retain new customers. It also equips them with the capability to target their past customers better and improve their experience. AI provides relevant information on what each customer wants and how they should be targeted.

The AI Digital Marketing Transformation is Here

Whether marketers believe it or stay skeptical,  the future of AI in digital marketing is brighter than ever. As RPA continues to work its miracles, combined with AI and ML, digital marketers will drive quickly towards intelligent marketing.

We are looking at a digital marketing world where marketers will be monitoring the activities executed by AI digital marketing tools and come up with better and creative ideas to serve their customers.

Artificial Intelligence will not only save money and time but most importantly, assist humans to target customers in an intelligent manner. Using data and analytics, AI will revolutionize how digital campaigns are executed and measured. 

Many marketers, however, also hope that AI will integrate sales and marketing for creating a centralized environment where customers experience intelligence marketing from the stage of prospecting to after-sale services.


About: Harsh Sahu

Harsh Sahu works as a Content Strategist at BoTree Digital and has been a Content Marketing Professional for nearly 4 years now. He is all about innovations and how to capitalize on the latest trends in content marketing.

4 Tips to Blend Print and Digital Marketing

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Ever since the world fell madly in love with all things digital, brands have started focusing almost exclusively on their online existence. As useful as it may be to invest plenty of effort and creative energy into delivering marvelous digital marketing solutions, too many companies neglect the importance of print media and marketing channels, to their own detriment. Whether you’re utilizing a range of social media outlets, your website, or paid ads across the online world, you could be missing out on certain undeniable benefits of combining all of these and many other digital tactics with your print media. Why? Because of print matters now more than ever.

In this digitally-dominated world, people are becoming more responsive to tangible outlets and face-to-face interaction. The key failure of digital strategies is that they can only do so much in creating a warm, personalized experience, which is where more direct, print options step in to save the day. In order to further humanize your brand, maximize your marketing potential across the board, and give your customers an experience to remember, you should combine the best of both worlds. Here are the four key tips on how to accomplish just that.

Don’t forget QR codes

The most seamless, brilliant way to help your mobile-focused customers interact with your print media remains adding QR codes to each and every outlet you can. This simple solution has enabled many a company to invite their customers to visit their mobile-friendly web stores by adding this single digital footprint on their printed outlets.

Their use can be tracked and then measured, allowing you a glimpse into customer behavior, so that you can gain more understanding of these interactions, which ones convert the best, and what kind of content attracts the most users to actually use the code. This will further help you refine your strategy for the future, and hopefully give you a more seamless way to connect with all of your followers.

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Amplify the effect of your brochures

Nowadays, most brands focus almost exclusively on designing beautiful and appealing digital presentations, be it a new landing page or a video ad for a new product. However, your brochures and other print outlets have the same potential to boost sales and followers when you design them with the right intent.

Brands that are aware of this potential have started turning to experts such as Infostarters to make sure that they can infuse your brand’s look as well as its tone of voice into every print they create. It’s important that your customers can instantly recognize that the brochure or the flyer comes from your business, much like they need to have the same level of recognition as soon as they land on your website. Achieving this consistently can be challenging, so working alongside design professionals can be beneficial.

Infuse your print with CTA

Wherever your customers look when they glance over your digital channels, there’s yet another call to action for them. It can be in the form of a button to check out a new product line, a blog post ending with a powerful CTA, or simply a cross-selling action just below the product they’re looking at. Alas, few brands use the same with print.

Look for ways to invite your customers to check out your latest digital campaigns with the help of print. A social media icon printed on your handouts can be enough of an initiative to get more followers for your business. How about adding a unique promotional code on a personalized letter for your digital store? Or a gift certificate sent to their doorstep, but inviting them to your online store? All of these are legitimate ways to increase the effectiveness of both of your outlets.

Cross-offer digital and print

Each industry operates differently, and as a result, each brand has different potential to utilize a wide range of digital and print channels for the sake of greater exposure and loyalty. Depending on where you stand with your audience, and if you want them to consider opting into a different marketing outlet, you can utilize them both to promote them equally and effectively.

For instance, if your customers love your brochures and printed flyers they pick up directly in your store every time they purchase, or you send them a monthly catalog of discounted items they might love, you can use the print material to invite them to follow you online, too. Add your social media pages, your latest active campaigns, hashtags, your website address, and your email subscription option. The same can apply in the opposite scenario. Should your customers subscribe to only digital outlets, offer them the printed variety through your email newsletter and see what happens.

Wrapping up

Truth be told, there’s no one-size-fits-all for any form of marketing, and the same applies to mix print and digital solutions. That is why you need to remain creative, keep getting to know your audience, and always go that extra mile to give them the experience they’ll enjoy the most. Use these tips to enhance your ongoing strategy, and you will hopefully connect to your customer base more than ever.


Ranking Higher: 5 Effective Ways to Find and Implement Niche Keywords

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Unlike many business leaders, SEO experts understand the importance of proper keyword research and implementation for the success of your content, PPC, and digital strategies in general. No matter if you’re launching a new business venture, or if you’re running a well-established operation and are trying to develop your competitive advantage, it’s imperative to rank for those terms that are relevant to your industry, business, and niche in order to elevate your brand’s visibility and reputation.

That said, successful SEO is not just about ranking for those general industry-wide keywords that everyone is searching for, instead, it’s about discovering those niche longtail keywords that will attract the right customers, put you on the first page of Google, and incentivize people to venture onto your site. With that in mind, here are the five effective ways to find and implement niche keywords into your digital presence.

Brainstorm topics related to your industry

Of course, there’s always the easy way, and then there’s the right way to do keyword research. You could simply pop a few general phrases into the Google Keyword Planner and act on the results it dishes out, but just keep in mind that your competitors will probably get the same results, the same suggestions, and therefore make similar if not identical decisions to yours. That’s no way to rank high for niche keywords or to get ahead in the competitive industry.

This is why you need to get creative (rather, your digital agency needs to get creative), and brainstorm alternative ways to get a hold of niche keywords. The goal of your marketing team should be to identify the smaller niches that are relevant to your business and your industry.

These sub-segments will yield interesting and unique topics that have their unique, niche keywords. It’s important that you put yourself in the minds of your customers, and think about the niche phrases they might be typing into the search engine. You can then plug those niche keywords into your keyword tool and see how they stack up.

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Integrate a keyword research tool

If you’re not using a keyword research tool, then you’re just playing the guessing game, and chances are that your guesses are wrong. This will invariably lead to subpar performance and will fail to rank you higher in the relevant search engines, so you shouldn’t leave such an important element of your digital presence to chance. Now, there are many popular keyword tools out there, and many of them are free to use, however, you need to choose the best one for your needs.

Most keyword tools will display a basic list of relevant search terms, one that’s not broad enough to provide you with all of the phrases you could use in your copy. No, you need a whole host of niche keywords that you weren’t able to come up with on your own, so be sure to test out several tools to see how they compare, and choose the one that delivers the biggest number of keywords while preserving keywords quality.

Use niche keywords in your content strategy

Once you have managed to discover some intricate longtail keywords, it’s time to integrate them into your content strategy. This doesn’t just mean that these keywords should find their way into your blogs and articles, it means that you should integrate them into your entire digital presence, including your site’s headings and meta tags, PPC campaigns, landing pages, and more.

It’s important that this content is created by people who are knowledgeable about your niche and business, to make it as natural and appealing as possible. For example, law firm SEO content should be written by real lawyers in order to make the content as credible and authoritative as possible, and optimized by law SEO strategists to maximize the site’s ranking within its niche. Keep this important tip in mind when optimizing the content for your own business with niche keywords by having experts from your niche guide it to fruition.

Prioritize keywords according to your needs

When you’re optimizing your content, it’s important to prioritize your niche keywords. You can try to integrate every single keyword you found into the copy of every page on your website, but chances are that you will get penalized for keyword stuffing, and you might even get penalized for trying to rank pages that aren’t relevant to the keyword. That’s why you have to prioritize and know where to put your keywords.

Start by grouping keywords according to the types of services or products you offer. You should put niche keywords on the pages that are relevant to the phrase – such as “windshield repair “on the “auto glass repair” page instead of the homepage or the “about us” page. Bottom line, be sure to sprinkle niche keywords throughout your site wherever it feels natural, but make sure it’s relevant to the page.

Consider running an SEO audit

And finally, keep in mind that keywords, especially longtail ones, are constantly evolving with the online trends. This is why they require continuous monitoring and optimization. SEO is a long-term investment and a long-term commitment, so it’s important that you perform regular SEO audits and track the performance of these keywords on your site and assess whether or not they are helping you reach your goals. If not, it’s important that you act instead of hoping that things will change on their own, because you don’t want to lose precious time on the keywords that aren’t converting. Simply repeat the research process, and integrate new keywords into your content and site.

Wrapping up

While it is important to integrate those general industry terms everyone is searching for into your digital presence, finding and integrating niche keywords becomes even more important if you’re trying to surpass your competition and develop a strong competitive advantage. With these tips in mind, you can discover those keyword opportunities that your competitors haven’t found yet, and integrate them into your content with professional optimization to build brand awareness and reputation, boost organic traffic, and incentivize conversions.


5 Trends in Influencer Marketing that You Can’t Afford to Ignore

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Influencer marketing is here to stay. That’s hardly surprising considering that it typically delivers an ROI 11 times greater than other, more conventional, marketing methods. What company wouldn’t want to take advantage of these numbers?

Some forms of influencer marketing have been around for a long time. But today we have the technology that makes becoming an influencer a lot easier. It also means that gaining recognition can happen at lightning speed.

Here are some of today’s trends in influencer marketing to keep your eye on.

1. Brand Ambassadors

In the past, you could have quite easily had a one-off campaign with a specific influencer to get a quick boost. Going forward, however, it’s best to work with one or two influencers on a long-term basis. Considering that  47% of buyers will only make a purchase decision if they’ve seen three to five pieces of content, it makes sense.

By turning the influencer into a brand ambassador, you’re taking the first steps to create a long-term relationship with their followers. It could also be the key to making your campaigns more authentic.

2. Authentic Campaigns

Most consumers realize that influencers want to earn money doing what they love. So, they generally expect some advertising. That said, they’re also on the lookout for fake endorsements. They want to know that the influencer truly believes in the product. Essentially, followers want to know that the influencer would use the product, whether or not they are being paid to do so.

Creating more authentic campaigns is a top priority. To make your campaigns seem more sincere, it’s important to get your influencer’s input from day one. This is an area where you’ve got to hand over some control. The influencer needs their voice to shine through in your campaigns instead of being handed a strict script to follow.

The results might be a little less polished than a professional ad campaign, but, in this instance, it’s going to work for you.

3. Fake Followers

Marketers have been cottoning onto the benefits of influencer marketing. As a result, influencers can rake in some serious money. This, in itself, has boosted the “influencer as a business” model as well. There are a lot of would-be influencers out there and a lot of people peddling courses on how to become one.

The problem with this is that there’s a real drive to take shortcuts. Most influencers are paid according to how many followers they have. The downside is that it’s possible to blur the lines here. In one study, researchers found that 24% of influencers had manipulated their numbers at one stage or another.

An influencer might, for example, join an online community designed to boost page stats. These usually work on a reciprocal basis. The community gets together to promote each other’s pages and to increase engagement. So, I’ll like your page, if you’ll like mine. I might also engage with posts on your page on the same basis.

Another issue is the outright buying of engagement. You can find a follower platform that uses bots to increase engagement. These bots can be quite intelligent – they will like a page, and then share or engage with posts over a period of time. This mimics how real users might react to posts. The influencer will pay for the number of shares and posts.

It’s something that was, up until now, difficult to detect without digging into each follower’s account. It’s becoming easier, though, as social media platforms are cracking down on fake profiles.

There are also companies tackling this issue head-on using AI. Companies like Social Chain are offering their services to audit influencers. This is a good thing for the industry because it’ll make it possible to get verified reports on followers.

Good influencers will be happy to have their statistics verified. Those using fake followers will soon get sniffed out. While it will still be possible to trick the system, it will continue to get harder and harder to do so.

4. Improvement in Measurement Tools

At present, it’s not that easy to measure the organic results of a campaign. You can see how many likes and clicks there are. But how can you measure the organic exposure you’re actually getting?

Last year, Facebook made a step in the right direction.

By allowing marketers to use first-party cookies, Facebook has made it that much easier for marketers to track their progress. Users do need to opt-in to allow marketers to use this type of cookie. If they do, though, you’ll get a whole lot of statistics to draw from.

5. The Importance of ROI

Part of the problem with influencer marketing is that it’s difficult to quantify the ROI of each campaign. But things are changing. Social media platforms are now able to calculate the ROI of each campaign if they have API access.

Reporting measures will improve as we go along. This will allow companies to calculate exactly how much financial value they’re getting for their campaigns. This, in turn, allows companies to be more effective when it comes to tailoring their campaigns. If they see that the campaign is not delivering the required results, they can tweak their content and strategy.

Final Notes

Influencer marketing is a firm favorite amongst marketers today. It’s effective because it’s seen as a recommendation from a real person who has gained the trust of their audience. This is not some far-removed celeb that lives a glitzy life.

These are real people like you and me. They have attained some sort of celebrity status, but they’ve also built a good relationship with their followers.

Taking advantage of that relationship could lead to a profitable alliance between your company and the influencer. As long as you’re willing to put in the effort upfront to find a good match, you should see some promising results. But, be sure to keep an eye out for more influencer marketing trends to know what to avoid, and how to best optimize your strategy.

The Secrets of Chris Abraham’s Marketing Genius

Chris Abraham is a master of the digital marketing field. He’s considered a pioneer in the realms of content marketing, online collaboration, blogging, and consumer-generated media, all of which he practiced in the ‘90s.

His expertise in online marketing garnered him a place among Forbes’ Top 50 Social Media Power Influencers in 2012. He also runs his own media marketing agency called Gerris.

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