The Best News for Influencer Marketers in 2016

2016 was a year filled with trend after trend after trend on social media. Some were short-lived (mannequin challenge, anyone?) but some left a lasting impression and will only continue to gain speed as we move into the new year. One of the most poignant social media trends we saw this year was the continued rise of social influencers. In fact, one Instagram star, Cameron Dallas, just signed a reality TV deal thanks to his overwhelmingly successful influencer status. So to say that this trend has some levity is definitely an understatement. Even calling it a trend seems incorrect…we think it’s definitely here for the long haul.

If you are even a little bit tuned in to the digital landscape, you’ve definitely heard of the term “influencer marketing.” If you are a digital marketer like us at Social Tribe, you’ve not only heard of it, but you are probably employing it as one of your top growth strategies of 2017. The good news for us is that we’ve learned some things about what really makes influencer marketing work, and which tools allow us to tap into its potential. Below are some of our findings. We hope they work for you too!

Instagram Shopping

Instagram Shopping made its debut in November as a way to transform the traditional e-commerce experience. Similar to Pinterest, Instagram is tapping into the idea of “discovering” goods while on the app, much like you would in a brick-and-mortar store. When you see a product on Instagram that you’re interested in purchasing, you can click on it and it takes you to the retailer’s website that offers the product.

This functionality allows brands to work with influencers in a different way that can be linked directly back to sales. Instead of gauging their social media success by number of likes and engagements, brands can take it a step further and see how many sales are referred to them directly from the Instagram app. This is a big deal for consumer brands. The list of retail partners for this feature includes names like Abercrombie, Warby Parker, Kate Spade and Macy’s, and will only grow in 2017.

Facebook Live

Facebook Live  made a big splash on social media this year. The ability for anyone to record live video right on their Facebook feeds opened up myriad opportunities for individuals and brands alike to gain more exposure. For brands especially, it provides a more dynamic place to capture interviews, behind the scenes tours, etc. with influencers. Whether it’s at corporate events or giving influencers an opportunity to conduct a Q&A with your FB audience, the new functionality makes engaging with your brand and their influencers even more compelling.

While there have been mixed reviews on whether or not Facebook Live is a necessary component of your overall marketing strategy, we expect to see its popularity continue to grow. Pro tip: make sure you have compelling content that makes sense to broadcast live in the moment before turning on that camera, and prep your audience by promoting the Facebook Live session ahead of time. No one wants to see a lackluster live stream.

Influencer Program Tools

Social media marketers have long relied on tools that make our jobs easier to do, from scheduling software like Sprinklr and Sprout Social to content curation tools like Feedly and Buzzsumo, we simply couldn’t live without them. Now, we can add influencer tools to that list of things that take our marketing services to the next level.

Robust influencer program tools like Traackr help brands (both Enterprise and Consumer) identify, engage, and measure influencer programs. We’ve seen a major uptick in clients asking for influencer programs in 2016. Anecdotally, we believe that’s due to the success of reliable tools like Traackr that allow marketers to add a new level of sophistication to their influencer programs. In fact, brands that use Traackr have more than doubled their level of influence. We can’t wait to see how we can make a major impact on our clients’ businesses by using tools like Traackr to measure influencer success.

Looking Forward

I think we can all agree that 2016 was a year of learning for us digital marketing professionals. The above are just a few of items that were game-changing for the world of influencer marketing and we look forward to seeing what’s next. Bring it on, 2017, we’re ready for you!