The first wave of influencer marketing was all about getting the word out. It was top of the funnel activity. Now it’s time for influencer marketing 2.0, which is about creating deeper relationships between brands and influencers, and about creating useful content that consumers discover when they run searches.
Don’t look for it to happen overnight, as most brands are still getting the hang of influencer marketing 1.0.
These notes comes from an opening day keynote for VidCon 2018, where Brian Solis, principle analyst with Altimeter Group, shared data on the state of influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing 2.0 is about the customer journey, Solis said. It’s about building one-to-one relationships. While 1.0 was about popularity, about working with big names to spread the word on new products, 2.0 is about authority, about creating useful and influential experiences.
“Utility is the new viral,” Solis said. Consider that consumer product searches don’t stop when a purchase is made. People want to know what the best product for their needs is, and once they’ve made a purchase they want to connect with other people who made the same choice. While brands are good at providing awareness content with influencers, they don’t use influencers to create content that supports those later searches.
What if people found content from their favorite influencers when they ran those post-purchase searches?, Solis wondered. Brands that provide that content develop social capital, a measure of the amount of trust and reciprocity they within a community.
Consumers look to their peers for that kind of post-purchase content, but Solis wants brands to get involved. Brands can do this by creating longer term relationships with influencers (something almost no brands do) and building a community of users. Consumers will pay them back with repeat purchases and loyalty.
“It becomes a tremendous competitive advantage,” Solis said.
Do this well and the brand itself becomes and influencer. Now that’s a goal worth working toward.
Solis spoke following introductory remarks from Hank and John Green, VidCon’s founders. Looking at the growth of the online video community since VidCon began in 2010, Hank Green noted that what happened wasn’t inevitable but was the result of choices people made. “Together, we’ve made online video what it is,” he said. The future will be the result of choices, as well. “Online video isn’t just a business, and the business decisions we make don’t just reflect a larger culture but create it.”