By Frank Emanuele In recent years, the emphasis in social and digital marketing has been on paid media. By and large, brands are concerned with determining the budgets necessary to meet their goals and hit their KPIs. In 2013, I predict that we'll see a shift toward earned media as the more likeable brands continue to look for meaningful and genuine ways to connect with consumers. We saw the beginnings of it in 2011 and 2012 with the rise of Klout, and trends indicate that influencers will be more important than ever in 2013. But are you doing everything you can to leverage the opportunities presented to you by influencers? Let's take a look and see, shall we?
Good Content Comes From Data
It's a cycle, folks. You create the content, you analyze the data, and you use it to create better content. And the more content makes its way out into the world, the more data there will be to analyze. Marketers now have a wealth of invaluable information at their fingertips to help determine what does and doesn't work for a whole host of niche audiences. Use it! Evaluate the quality of your content (no matter its form) and strive to publish only the best of the best. Achieve maximum virality by combining paid, owned, and earned media where appropriate to get the best bang for your buck and make the biggest splash possible.
Influence Will Be Predictable AND Measurable
In 2013 and beyond, you won't just measure the engagement, sentiment, and reach of an influencer program after it's over. Based on past trends, marketers will be able to reasonably project the outcome of an influencer program with increasing levels of sophistication. As with content, modeling and measurement will improve as more data is collected. As time goes by, predicting consumer influence and audience affinity will be as common as predicting Facebook fan growth. Hop aboard this train early and you'll be far, far ahead of the competition.
The Content IS The Ad
Perhaps the most basic component of influencer marketing is somehow the most difficult for many old-school marketers to grasp: there is a wear-out factor with traditional marketing. Bigger, louder, brighter, bolder, flashier ads are not always the answer. They are a turn-off, and worse yet, consumers have learned to tune them out entirely. Many (though not all) have begun to embrace the power of targeted advertising. Of course, this is nothing new to those of us in the social media space; we live and breathe targeted ads. However, too often overlooked is the idea that brand stories and messages can be a fully-integrated part of the content created by influencers. You don't need to settle for that banner ad off to the right. Now you can be part of the main event! Tell stories that people want to hear, and the influential members of your community will be happy to share them. Does it get any more targeted than that?
Will influencers disrupt old-school marketing in 2013? Tell us what you think!