2017 is proving to be a breakout year for influencer marketing.  While most publications are sharing strategies and tactics for brands we wanted to take a minute and dive into what this growth means for you as an influencer. We’ve sorted through dozens of predictions and trends about what to expect this coming year and distilled them down to the top 5 that we think you can capitalize on. 

The rise of micro influencers: As influencer marketing establishes its long term position in the marketing channel mix, engagement metrics and ROI will become increasingly important metrics. The shift away from impressions and reach means brands are becoming less concerned with the size of the audience and more with its quality and relevance. Micro influencers – those with 10K or less in reach – have that ability to provide a targeted and niche audience. Our data shows what is intuitively true, smaller audiences tend to be more engaged and open to an influencer’s message – sponsored or not. How to capitalize on it: As marketers look to work with more micro influencers, those that bring the same level of professionalism as large influencers will stand above their peers. Know your rates, have a professional media kit and stay true to your authentic voice by working with brands who align with your audience. Influencers like @thepdxbelle prove micro influencers can be just as professional as those with larger reach.

Understanding of rules and regulations: Every day we hear from influencers and marketers who are worried about the changing guidelines from the FTC. There’s no need to fear these – many of us in the industry view this increase in regulation as a good thing. Guidelines create legitimacy. How to capitalize on it: While the guidelines themselves can be slightly vague the number one thing to keep in mind is to clearly and conspicuously disclose any post that is sponsored. This means including #ad or #sponsored on any sponsored post. Research has shown that 48% of the time, marketers don’t directly ask influencers to include disclosures on their posts. That does not mean it is ok to skip it. Regulators have indicated both the brand and the influencer are responsible for knowing the guidelines and they will not shy away from reprimanding influencers who are not using proper disclosures. If you are receiving anything (not just straight cash compensation) in exchange for a brand post, regulators will consider that arrangement sponsored and you are required to disclose.When in doubt, #ad won’t hurt and will keep you covered.

Authenticity. The unprecedented growth of influencer marketing means audiences are more aware than ever that content they are consuming is sponsored. Many readers and followers are ok with this. As long as the content is educational, entertaining and provides value in the same way your unsponsored content does, your audience likely doesn’t mind. What they will mind however, is if your content becomes inauthentic, if you lose your voice, start posting only sponsored content or otherwise “sell out” to make a buck. How to capitalize on it: Great influencers know how to balance the amount of sponsored to unsponsored content and to maintain their voice throughout. Look for brands whose products you already use and try to establish long term relationships with brands. Know your editorial calendar inside and out – you don’t want to post for competitors within a short period of time. If you use a thoughtful approach to plan your editorial calendar for each week and month you’ll set yourself up for the most success. Last but not least, if you have a negative experience with the product, don’t lie. Talk to your contact and figure out a solution that treats their brand and your audience with respect. In short, be the you your audience loves, influencer marketing works because of authentic voices and storytelling, use that as your guiding light.

Standardization of prices. In a lot of ways, influencer marketing has been the wild west, especially in terms of influencer rates and payments. As influencer marketing becomes mainstream, prices will standardize and the good news is that the influencer hold the reigns. How to Capitalize on it: If you haven’t already established a standard rate card, now is the time to do it. While there will always be circumstances where your rates need to be flexible, you should go into every conversation with a brand knowing your minimum rate for creating or distributing content on every social channel. If you need help determining what your rates should be – check out this great resource created by a longtime blogger.  You can even use influence.co to search for influencers similar to yourself  and you’ll start to get some idea about what other influencers in your field might be charging.

Diversification of content, using rich media and real world activations. The days of brands asking for a standard blog post and some social media amplification are long past us. Brands are increasingly looking for new ways to push the envelope, make an impact and reach their audience in an authentic way. This is the prediction we are most excited for. It will lead to brands handing over more creative freedom to the influencers, just as it should be. As brands look to make the most out of their investment in influencers, video will continue to rise in popularity – both long form stories on Youtube and short snackable clips on Snapchat and Instagram will increase. We’ll also start to see more offline activities that tie into online promotions in terms of events, social takeovers and live video. How to capitalize on it: If video is a new concept to you, get started now. Even just establishing a presence on SnapChat or testing out Instagram stories is a step in the right direction. Invest time learning what performs best with your followers. The more prepared you are to take creative control, the easier it will be to collaborate with brands in the coming year. Don’t forget you can add video content to your influence.co profile and really show brands what you are capable of creating!

It’s shaping up to be an exciting year!  Make sure you are ready to take advantage of the growth by claiming your profile with influence.co. Already a member? Login today and ensure your profile is up to date.