How will algorithm changes affect influencer marketing?

We’ve been doing our best to keep you up-to-date with the latest algorithm changes across platforms- Facebook, Instagram and Twitter- but we haven’t discussed the intersection of algorithms and influencer marketing much.

As influencer marketing shows no signs of slowing down, we might as well dive in.

Got questions or something we missed? Find us on Twitter @UnionMetrics.

Influencers might help boost brands on Facebook

Brands have been very worried about the latest changes announced to the Facebook News Feed, but in truth organic reach has been declining for brands on Facebook for a while and this latest change should affect publishers more than most brands.

Some options for brands are to ask their fans and followers to mark them as “see first” in their News Feed—  and/or to work with influencers. The draw of influencer marketing is its higher engagement rates vs traditional advertising methods. Audiences increasingly trust recommendations from someone they perceive to be more like than selves than from a celebrity whose lifestyle is purely aspirational to them.

Coupled with the sponsored post format Facebook has been testing between brands and influencers, this signals that investing in influencer marketing on Facebook is one way to boost reach on the News Feed.

Instagram is shutting down the APIs many influencers rely on

Brands should absolutely vet influencers for the authenticity of their audiences before agreeing to a campaign with them; otherwise the campaign may not deliver as well as hoped.

One way that influencers on Instagram artificially inflate their following is by relying on automated services that will like photos, leave comments, or even follow other accounts based on specific hashtags. This can result in some awkward commenting situations no brand wants to find themselves in, as documented by an experiment in this HootSuite blog post.

An easy way to tell if someone is using these services is to check their follower number vs engagement on their last few photos. If they have 30k followers but only get a fraction of that many likes and comments on their photos, they’ve probably been automating their Instagram activity.

And those services are about to be out of business, as Instagram is shutting down the APIs they’re built on later this year.

It’s a better bet for brands to work with micro-influencers in a specific niche that have built real, authentically engaged audiences. While the audience you’d be reaching through them is smaller, it’s also much more likely to care about the content its consuming and be genuinely interested in what your brand has to offer.

Consider cross-platform influence

Some influencers are really well known on a particular platform- like Instagram- and less well known or active on other platforms. If the audience your brand wants to reach is concentrated on one platform, then work with an influencer who has an audience concentrated there.

Otherwise your brand might consider working with one who has a strong audience across platforms, for a boost in each place. Fans and followers of that influencer might also finally decide to check out what your brand is all about if they’ve seen their favorite influencer posting about it on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Just be sure you’ve worked with the influencer to create content that their audience will be genuinely interested in so that it provides value for everyone involved.

You still need to measure

You probably knew we were going to say that right? Let us know if we can help. We have a variety of plans and are always happy to discuss specific needs to help you find the right fit for what you need to measure across platforms.

Photo by Elijah Macleod on Unsplash