5 Influencer Trends to Empower Financial Services Marketers in 2023
Influencers (also known as content creators) have taken the ad world by storm, with one in four marketers engaging with creators as of 2023 (Hubspot). If done right, influencer marketing can drive ROI in the form of sales, but also in awareness and brand trust; in fact, 82% of customers trust what influencers say about a brand more than what brands say about themselves (Meltwater).
You might be thinking, “I work in financial or professional services; this doesn’t apply to me.” But many brands in your space are already dabbling in this world. Take wealth management, for example.
The Prosek Digital & Integrated Marketing team has worked with clients across the financial services spectrum to identify, commission and manage B2B and B2C influencers. Following a recent event we attended hosted by CreatorIQ, we compiled the five top trends in influencer marketing that are relevant to brands like yours:
1. Beyond sales, influencers drive awareness – making them perfect for B2B.
Measuring the effectiveness of influencer campaigns can seem murky, since not every brand cares about or can measure purchases. But the power of influencers ultimately lies not always in sales, but in their authenticity and ability to drive awareness and trust of a brand.
Once an influencer introduces a product or service to their audience and vouches for it, positive brand awareness follows. This top-of-funnel entry point is powerful for B2B brands looking to break through in crowded markets. For regulated industries as well, trust built by influencers is key.
Current, a challenger mobile banking service, leverages influencer marketing as a go-to-market strategy to target Gen-Z and Millennial audiences. Knowing that these groups are skeptical of traditional advertising, Current prioritized influencers to build relationships with them through unique and engaging content like their “The Hustle” video series documenting entrepreneurs, content creators, photographers and artists from the Black community. This strategy enabled Current to build audience trust, contributing to 2x growth in membership in just one year.
To measure growth of valuable leads, consider using custom trackable UTMs linked in bios and story frames. Link clicks and the overall navigation from them will help paint a picture of how engaged users are with the site and forecast whether they will return. To prove growth of trust, consider a brand survey before and after the campaign.
2. Financial services brands will likely keep some distance from TikTok.
Global uncertainty surrounds TikTok. Data security concerns have reached an inflection point, with repeated attempts to ban the app regularly dominating the news cycle. TikTok has a widespread prohibition on finance-based advertising already outlined on its website, and more limitations could follow.
Despite the rise of #FinTok (a corner of the platform where individual users share their own, unsponsored and often false financial advice), the TikTok game for financial services brands was likely over before it started. While some financial players have opted to circumvent these guidelines, others fear the repercussions.
Given the already-established risk, playing the long game is likely a smarter, safer business strategy for financial services brands and other regulated industries. At the same time, it’s important to keep a close eye on the platform, as video trends tend to start on TikTok and migrate to Instagram Reels, making it a valuable platform to monitor for inspiration and up-and-coming creators.
3. Legal and compliance must be ready to relinquish some control when it comes to creator content.
Before choosing influencer marketing as a tactic, it’s important to consider how much your brand will be able to entrust content creation to another party, relinquishing most control for the sake of authentic, engaging results.
Above all, influencers are hired for their expertise in content creation. They know their audiences inside and out and can incorporate promotional language authentically and strategically. Brands that have strict messaging or posting guidelines as it relates to content creation may experience pushback from creators, as well as longer timelines.
Internal roadshows with the right parties – from legal to compliance, to other teams leveraging influencers – are essential before pursuing this path successfully and for maintaining efficiencies throughout campaigns.
4. Prioritize an always-on approach vs. one-time campaigns.
Consider this: for a brand Instagram page with 50K-200K followers, the rate at which a story will reach that follower audience is just 1.6%, according to Hootsuite. That means that the majority of an influencer’s followers will not see a single story.
Simply put: you’ll want to invest in creating more chances to reach users over time. You’ll get the most bang for your buck if you invest in the long-term vs. using creators when it’s convenient for your business. Starting with a campaign is a good “first date,” but to see the most impact, invest in these relationships over time.
Pursuing longer term partnerships that include multiple rounds of content, amplification across an influencer’s platforms and a concerted effort to build a creative relationship with the influencer will: 1) allow the creator to become familiar with the brand and result in more authentic/effective content; 2) unlock better campaign predictions based on the creator’s past performance; and 3) solidify audience trust in your product or service. Long-term partners usher viewers through the sales funnel, in comparison to short-term partners that are more likely to drop viewers off at the point of interest or consideration.
Long story short, if a viewer sees a creator engage with a brand multiple times over the course of a year, they become less skeptical. Less skeptical audiences are more likely to convert.
5. Strong partnerships are rooted in relationship building.
Like any relationship – with customers, reporters, etc. – influencers should be treated with respect and consideration and as the partners that they really are. To do this, think about:
A) Sourcing. Find existing, authentic influencers of your brand, and start forming relationships with them. Not only will they be excited to hear from you, but their genuine perspectives will resonate best with audiences. Additionally, reach out to content creators on an “informational” basis, and keep them in your back pocket for when the need is there.
B) Nurturing. Celebrate their wins (big new brand partnerships, weddings, births, graduations, etc.), empathize with their losses (from bad days to major setbacks) and more – this is a business of relationship building and personalization, so think about ways to hold up your end of that bargain.