3 Influencer Marketing Trends That Support Excellent Customer ServiceAdd bookmark
Influencers have seemingly taken over as individuals now spend more time scrolling Instagram than having real interactions with friends. Because of this, social platforms have become a sacred place for brands to get key messages across and reach out to loyal customers.
Customers, however, are not blind to the fact that these platforms promote both authenticity and consumerism, and they’ve grown accustomed to operating on these platforms as both their true selves, interacting with friends and family, and as consumers, using the platform to seek out product recommendations and resources. This intersection makes sense; influencers don’t consist of just one type or category of person, and individuals in your personal lives often count as influencers too.
According to author Jason Falls, consumers have three types of influencers in their lives. These are broken down into people they know, which include family and friends or anyone they associate with their personal or professional lives. Trust in this category, he notes, is implicit because they have a meaningful real-life relationship with this person. The second category defines people who are like them, which in this case can be a standard Instagram influencer who they share personality and lifestyle traits with or even a celebrity the individual connects with. Trust is gained from commonality in this category, the individual finds it in the feeling of shared identity. The last category and potentially least influential, are people who are trying to convince them -- which can just as well be a traditional social media influencer. In this case, however, they have seemingly no connection with a brand beyond pushing their products in a typical sales-like pitch. In this category, there is little trust evident as there are so few emotional and identifiable ties.
After classifying these three categories it’s important to identify brand partners and influencers who fall into the first two. When customers seek advice from influencers they actually have confidence in, they have the potential to become extremely loyal, active customers. Here are a few ways to establish relationships that reflect these levels of trust:
One of the biggest influencer trends in 2021 is an emphasis on ongoing partnerships over one-off transactions. Most note that the main motivation behind this trend is the time needed to make a sale. However, thinking more broadly, these smaller-scale influencer projects allow for more credibility in the space. If an influencer is operating with every company on a kind of ‘one and done’ basis, their following can see right through this; it becomes quite obvious. It is detrimental to both parties, as the brand doesn’t gain genuine engagement and the influencer ends up positioning themselves as a salesperson.
Longer-term partnerships allow visibility of the product and brand while increasing authenticity and engagement. If customers continually see a brand or product being promoted on an account, they’re more likely to assume the influencer actually values the item they are highlighting. Additionally, this more extensive partnership actually gives brands the opportunity to educate influencers on their brand values and voice to form a more authentic alliance.
These continued partnerships also offer an opportunity to produce highly curated collections of content with valuable demonstrations like photoshoots, makeup tutorials, and haul videos. Meaningful and creative content opportunities solidify more genuine partnerships that help transfer the loyalty a customer may have with the influencer, to the promoted brand. This kind of promotion comes off as organic and fun, rather than forced. To be successful, these partnerships need to offer a sense of authenticity to avoid coming across like a spokesperson, acting structured and overly commercial.
Focus on Video Content
Video content has also become a major trend in influencer marketing with the rise of platforms like TikTok and YouTube. The video format gives viewers greater insight into their favorite influencers’ lives, personalities, and overall goals. Influencers that utilize video as a medium often gain incredibly loyal followings as viewers begin to see them more like real-life friends and acquaintances over unattainable social celebrities.
This format can also offer a greater sense of engagement within these loyal followings and offer a level of customer support if framed correctly. With the rise of short-form interactive Instagram stories influencers now have the opportunity to request insight or questions from followers about their personal lives or even a brand or product. The FAQ format is extremely popular on Instagram and users can submit their own questions to be answered live or through prerecorded film clips and text-based answers. If leveraged correctly, influencers can not only act as brand ambassadors but also uncover common questions and concerns about your brand. Additionally, they can use their platform to work with the product within this kind of Q&A framework, establishing an authentic and trusted social knowledge base.
Creating A Unified Experience
Influencers became popular for a reason; from the beginning, users genuinely resonated with them and formed an unprecedented sense of trust. And while we’ve strayed from this narrative a bit, it can still be revived. Brands that focus on partnering with influencers that actually promote a level of authenticity rather than ones that boast high follow counts will likely benefit in the long run.
Additionally, identifying influencers that share the same values as your company promotes a more unified customer experience. Influencers are now an extension of your company and customers should feel the same level of excitement and compassion on every public front. Therefore, finding influencers that align with your goals and standards will allow for a more seamless experience for all customers.
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