Influencer marketing is hardly a buzzword – while it’s stillone of the most exciting forms of digital marketing and still in its infancy asa marketing tactic, it’s something us marketers have been hearing about foryears. We’ve seen marketing trends come and go of course but, with its hybridapproach to social media, advertising and content and the widely reportedMillennial and Gen Z distrust of brand content, influencer marketing is moreauthentic, targeted and direct than many other forms of digital.

In short, it’s something you’ll be hearing a lot more about in the next 12 months as the influencer marketing industry gears up to an expected $5-10 billion vehicle by 2022. So, here are a few key trends to be mindful of as 2019 kicks into gear…

  1. A new respect for micro

When influencer marketing first gathered pace, most brands wanted to work with the biggest influencers they could find – those with the biggest social media followings and highest profiles. Now, we’re starting to see this level out and more and more brands are beginning to appreciate the micro influencer. With a smaller following of 5,000 – 100,000 followers on average, these influencers command the attention of a much smaller audience. But that can be a good thing – as they tend to be very niche, which is great for finely targeting consumers.

If your star product is a changing mat for mums, a micro mummy blogger is going to be a perfect fit. You wouldn’t necessarily expect millions of followers given the niche subject but, those followers the micro influencer has built up will likely be extremely closely linked to your own target market and very trusting of what your influencer has to say, do or recommend.

  • New content types

Influencer marketing campaigns of old tend to be very orchestrated, may be months in the planning stages and could require a fairly hefty creative budget. The content format would tend to focus on social media updates, images and blogs. As social networks like Instagram and Facebook have growth their ephemeral content arms with Stories and Facebook Live, expect new content types to also come to the fore in influencer marketing campaigns.

Going ‘live’ on Facebook Live or Instagram will become much more commonplace in Insta campaigns as well temporary content in the form of Stories inclusions.

  • Transparency and authenticity

Influencer marketing is a paid channel of course, with the bigger influencers commanding huge sums for collaboration but, with savvy consumers now on to this and the law requiring paid partnerships to be clearly marked as such, transparency and authenticity take on new importance. In addition to the #ad hashtag and ‘paid partnership’ label on social media, we expect that transparency and authenticity to become central components of the content itself. This could mean more honesty in reviews for paid partnerships, perhaps a more real feel to the content creation (which taps into the Live video content trend too) or fewer staged posts.

There are plenty of opportunities for retailers to run with influencer marketing and use it to great effect but, with new trends emerging, this needs to be a considered channel and one more closely aligned with other strategic marketing goals to be truly successful.