2017 brought many changes to digital media – and influencer marketing was no exception. Influencer marketing has been on a steady increase over the past few years and appears to be here to stay. With growing influencer campaigns in 2017, it’s hard to ignore the impact that influencers are having on the marketing industry. Here are five reasons why influencer marketing is a necessity for businesses in 2018.

#1: Organic Growth

One of the biggest benefits from using influencer marketing is that influencers come with their own tribe of loyal followers, which in turn can become loyal customers of the business that the influencer partners with. According to data from Digital News Daily, 33% of social media users say that influencers are their most trusted sources for making shopping decisions. Consumers would rather see an influencer, who feels more like a friend, mention a product over a traditional ad. By partnering with influencers that are already respected and recognized among their target audience, businesses are able to more quickly reach, grow, and impact their audience.

#2: Engagement 

Social influencers know the importance of engaging with and maintaining their relationship with their audience. When businesses partner with social influencers, the influencers audience becomes the business’s audience – creating new opportunities for engagement and brand awareness that didn’t exist before. With features like shoppable tags in Instagram, it is now easier and easier for businesses quantify engagement from influencer posts to better understand exactly what their conversions and ROI is for each campaign. This data is crucial for both influencers and businesses to determine the success of their campaigns.

#3: Curated Content 

Each influencer has their own carefully curated brand, which is a large contributor to their impact as an influencer. Their followers know what to expect from them and trust that their content is authentic. By incorporating a business into their own personal brand, influencers are able to help drive the business’s message, product, and values through their content directly to their followers. Followers perceive these messages as more of a recommendation from a trusted friend, rather than an ad pushing a product, making them more receptive to the content.

#4: Collaboration

Most social media influencers are already on top of the latest social media trends and know how to best reach their audience, since their livelihood relies on it. By collaborating with influencers, businesses are taking some of the guesswork out of connecting with consumers. Their digital presence grows through the influencer’s network, while also relieving the business of some of the work of social media maintenance. Aside from just collaborating on publishing posts, influencers are constantly reviewing their analytics and data. This data can be extremely helpful in giving businesses insight into how their followers are reacting to their content.

#5: Competition

According to Marketing Insider Group, over 80% of marketers used influencer marketing in 2016. Of those who used influencer marketing, more than 90% found it useful and planned to continue to use these strategies. Changes in technology, like ad blockers, have made consumers more averse to traditional advertising which is a large part of why social influencers are becoming more useful and prevalent.  If businesses haven’t already incorporated influencers into their marketing strategy, then they could very well be falling behind in their industry and missing out on a huge opportunity to reach their target market.

As the digital landscape continues to change, businesses have to keep up with the best ways to drive their brand to their consumers. Platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter are continuing to grow, so partnering with social influencers is a great strategy for businesses to efficiently reach their consumers through a trusted and well-known source. Influencer marketing has proven to be successful over the last few years and will only continue remain prevalent.