Influencer marketing continues to be all the rage, as there keep being pulled in new and younger audiences using digital creators to create buzz about products and brands. It is likely to keep gaining steam in 2017 and beyond. Gen.video said that “There will be an uptick in investment in influencer marketing: 50% of brands will significantly increase their investment in 2017.” Even still, this is just the beginning and rules are still being written for what works and what doesn’t when it comes to influencers and how they can build brands.

Here are some of the trends that are expected to emerge or strengthen during 2017:

Some Niches Are Harder Than Others

So, becoming a fashion, makeup, fitness, or food influencer, as well as several other categories, will be more difficult to gain a foothold and attention if their status is not already well established. Building an influencer name needs a unique perspective, new or unchartered waters, and a place to publish their information with a large and growing audience.

Serial Influencer Programming

Much like the soap operas of the 50’s were designed to offer a format where dish and laundry soap could be sold, influencer marketing in 2017 will start to see programming specifically designed to fit around products being sold. One example currently is a show on Awesomeness TV called Royal Crush. The show happens weekly and is all about selling cruises to teenagers. Does it get boring?

Max Polisar said: “No. If you produce a great show, with interesting characters, then the viewer won’t care.”

Is Celebrity Necessary?

Sure, getting Kim Kardashian, Alec Baldwin, or Oprah to mention your product or service favorably would be a dream come true, but influencers don’t need to be celebrities. They can be regular people who are experts in your field and have built a substantial following. Those can be gold beyond belief. Some of them have become pseudo-celebrities simply because of the followings they’ve acquired such as Milo Yiannopoulos, PewDiePie, and Diamond and Silk.

Generally, these pseudo-celebs have a greater level of engagement with their fan base than traditional celebrities. As Craig Lewis from Disruptiv Agency said: “The level of engagement is critical to truly pushing a brand forward. Celebrities are appreciated for the work they do. An influencer is more likely to be appreciated for who they are. The distinction is noticeable and is why you find a trend of “A List” celebrities establishing more of a presence via their social media.”

Invest in Live Video

It’s the new “kid” on the block, so people are still working with live video to figure how it will help their marketing and influencer campaigns, but it’s getting more productive and important every day. Investing in good equipment to make the production level better, and in good content are two major issues currently. The brands and influencers that fix those problems quickly will reap the rewards and surge forward in their campaigns. Facebook is leading the way in this format and currently looking at the ability for brands to run 15-second ads in the middle of their live broadcasts. Once they have that running, it should improve and focus content on what the ads promote.

Influencer marketing is a critical mix of success today in PR & Marketing.