Much like the masses of people who use the start of a new year to hit the reset button, businesses do the same exact thing. Most of them rolled through Q4 of 2016 knowing that there were bottlenecks in the social media strategy but just wanted to get through the rest of the new year and use their 2017 budget and strategy to do more of what did work in 2016 and a lot less of what didn’t work. Let’s take a look at where this year is going to take lifestyle blogging and how we can be more mindful of our efforts and results for 2017.
Micro Influencers are the New It Girls
Let’s be real, 2016 was the year we all wished that we would become the next Barefoot Blonde and could massively scale our brand and social following to be as big as the top players in our space. But before you hold on too tightly to those aspirations for 2017 you might want to consider getting a little comfortable with your current influencer level. The more followers you have, the greater algorithm updates will affect your account. Everything you do at that level is put under a microscope-more so than if you are a mid-level influencer because your benefit to a brand is the ability to go from one to many. But this year, brands are starting to look at mid-level influencers for not only the breadth of their reach but also the depth of their impact. The talk around the water cooler is that mid-tier bloggers have a smaller(micro) but highly loyal group of followers. They might get less comments and less likes but comparatively the cost-per-action for a mid-tier blogger can be a much better value proposition for brands.
Community Will Be Key
While all of trends might appear a little overhelming there is a silver lining – influencer communities. Now more than ever bloggers are teaming up to join collectives, Facebook groups, and membership sites with the intent of educating, empowering and helping each other out. StyleCollective is my blogger community of choice and is where I can learn from and collaborate with thousands of lifestyle bloggers, who also take advantage of the StyleCollective library of resources and community forums.Even a year ago, a lifestyle blogger would be hard pressed to find another blogger who was willing to give up their secrets and share all the sweat education they learning building their blog. Now, everyone is uniting and helping a sister out. No one person has all the answers, so the exchange of tips and tricks within our community of bloggers is of continuing to benefit to us all.
There Are More Opportunities for Influencer Income Than Ever Before
Despite how doomsday some of these trends might feel, there are going to be more opportunities for influencers than ever before. Even at the start of last year, unless you were a blogger or brand, you were clueless to people getting paid to push products on social media. By the end of 2016 people became more and more aware of it. But that’s not a bad thing because it’s also put the concept on the radar for many more companies. This year, you’ll be able to reach out to much smaller brands with collaboration ideas and will be greeted by a brand that already sees the value in working together. From an easier sales pitch, to more opportunities coming to you, 2017 is a great year to be an Instagram Influencer and lifestyle blogger.
Followers, Likes and Engagement are no Longer the Key Performance Indicator
Let’s all acknowledge the elephant in the room or more like “on our newsfeed”. Lots of public Instagram accounts bought more followers, likes and comments in 2016 than ever before. With the advent of better bots and automation it’s a natural progression that probably will continue on for years. But engagement presents a huge obstacle for brands wanting to work with influencers. That’s why in 2017 your blog traffic will matter more than ever. In the 2nd half of 2016, I shared my Google Analytics tracking codes for every paid opportunity I had. It wasn’t to measure the reach of my sponsored post but to help them vet me to see my actual audience reach. While this might sound like a huge bummer, it resulted in me getting more advertising opportunities in the 2nd half of 2016 than ever before.
Social Media Advertising Will Continue to Be a Rising Star
Before you get too excited at the prospect of more paid sponsorship opportunities, I’m not talking about that kind of social media advertising, I’m talking about Facebook and Instagram ads. By daily profession, social media advertising is my lifeblood and what pays the bills and keeps a roof over our head. So I can see first hand over the years just how many bloggers are not only dipping their toes into Facebook ads, but are jumping into the deep end. As I’ve mentioned before, Facebook ads are the cheapest cost-per -click in town. The the different forms of Facebook and Instagram advertising are expanding by the day. For fashion and lifestyle bloggers, this means two things:
- Brands are going to divert more of their advertising budget away from influencers and spend those dollars on more Facebook ads. Why? Because for less money then you charge to do a sponsored post, they can run an ad to a very targeted audience of people who match their exact customer persona. They can’t know for certain the demographic of your social media following; but with Facebook ads they can know with certainty that they are serving their ads to women who live within a 20 mile radius of Los Angeles, have a child in preschool, have an income over $80K, like Nordstrom. . . and well you get the picture. Not only are they spending less money to get in front of an exact audience, they are also gaining valuable insight about who their audience is and is not.
- Lifestyle bloggers can use Facebook ads in exactly the same way as brands to learn exactly who their audience is and drive traffic to their blogs. Picture a campaign where a blogger writes a post about their experience using a certain service. The blogger then runs a Facebook campaign for clicks-to-website to get a targeted audience to read that specific blog post. The ad cost might have been $10, but of all the people who clicked through four people signed up for the service and the blogger made $40 in affiliate income.
You’re Going To Be Rewarded For Rich Content With a Real Point of View
2017 is the year to look closely at your blog content. Whatever post were the most successful in 2016, do more of that, period. In 2016, fashion bloggers in particular fell victim to writing a mirage of outfit posts that gave them traffic for a day or week but at max a season. Those posts, while probably yielding a little money short term, aren’t actually serving their overall growth. In contrast, 2017 will have us posting less content but with much greater purpose. We’re going to be writing less often but see our traffic stats compound and our subscribers increase. We can start pouring our knowledge and passions into what we share, and in return we will grow an audience who is more loyal than we have ever seen before.
The Bottom Line
2017 is going to be a great year for influencers and lifestyle bloggers. While we may have to constantly refocus and evaluate the long term benefits of our growth strategy, content, and social media interactions; I am really confident that all these trends are just reflective of what was not working in 2016. Consumer are just telling us what they really want- more meaningful connections with real people not just brand advertising.
See any trends for 2017 that I missed? Share your comments below.