Some 47 percent of those between 13 and 34 say they've bought something that an online celebrity has spoken about or recommended. As a result, 48 percent of marketers plan to increase their influencer marketing spend this year.
And when Facebook cited those two facts in a recent blog post, it was to highlight their latest feature, which connects marketers to influencers through the social media giant.
“Through the ability to boost creator posts, control posting of branded content and see what's working using additional insights, marketers can now collaborate more effectively with influencers,” is how Facebook framed it.
It might be surprising, then, to hear that some fear this move could be more harmful to micro-influencers than it is helpful. What harm could result from connecting marketers to Facebook's over-two-billion-users-strong social network? I'm glad you asked.
What Do These New Features Mean?
The new Facebook marketing features will be great for brands: They can now streamline their influencer marketing, relying on Facebook's data, campaign control, and ability to hyper-target niche audiences.
Here's how Justin Kline of influencer marketing firm Markerly explains the impact the new Facebook marketing features could have on the industry.
“With our clients,” Justin says, “we’ve noticed this control shift in the way brands are building and owning their own data and white-labeled influencer networks so as to create a custom influencer team & strategy that reaches target audiences who will actually be more engaged and interested in a brand’s product or service. This could range from a beauty guru promoting a new makeup product to a food influencer recommending a new restaurant to their interested group of niche followers.
“With Facebook, brands will now be able to leverage any size influencer, whether it’s a micro-influencer or a larger celebrity, and still reach the ideal audience through the platform’s targeted ad capabilities and a brand’s direct ability to boost an influencer’s post without having to post from the brand page first.”
The end result looks great on the marketer end, but comes with one catch for them.
Brands Boost ROI… But Pay More
The pros? Facebook marketing is a great way to target key consumers and boost ROI. The cons? It'll cost ya.
“This option will likely be more expensive compared to micro-influencers who, while they have raised their rates, have proved themselves valuable through their direct connection to target audiences at lower costs. What it will come down to is what a brand can afford, and whether or not brands would prefer to hit a larger audience provided by the influencer before using Facebook’s technology to add a targeted component,” Justin says.
The Future of Micro-Influencers
If brands opt for a larger influencer, micro-influencers might lose out. So how will micro-influencers be able to survive in this changing media landscape? By evolving with the times. Influencer marketing is still continuing to grow and transform as social platforms continue to add new features. Justin names a few of those changes.
“Up until this point, brands and influencers have proven to be very adaptive to the latest changes in strategies and technology, whether it was the FTC crackdown on disclosures, which led to more organic and natural looking content, or the emergence of video in addition to photos on platforms like Instagram and Snapchat. We’ve seen brands evolve their marketing strategies and budgets to include influencer programs when they realized the opportunity influencers present.”
In this shifting landscape, Justin expects to see the savviest micro-influencers remain valuable by understanding their loyal followers and creating “premium content” that directly caters to them. And since micro-influencers have high engagement on platforms like Instagram, many will remain the first choice for brands marketing through Facebook's new features.
In short, any micro-influencers who can maintain a genuine voice will do just fine.
Read more about advances at Facebook at TechCo