I recently came across an article in a newspaper that mentioned the bubble of Influencer Marketing. This got me thinking, how something as big as Influencer Marketing can be a bubble?
Instagram is the center field of the rapidly growing Influencer Marketing Industry. Almost every other person on Instagram dreams of becoming an Influencer.
This is the reason, many people are resorting to buying fake followers and likes from third party websites.
Just do a Google search for buying followers on Instagram, and you will get tons of websites providing 10000 followers for as low as $35.
In the current scenario, we need to rethink the way we look at Influencer Marketing as a part of a brand’s overall marketing strategy.
But first and foremost one needs to understand what is Influencer Marketing and how it has grown till now?
And what are the important matters that will affect Influencer Marketing in 2021?
What is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer Marketing is a marketing strategy that involves forging short term or long term collaborations with profiles on Social Media that have a great influence on a certain domain of a brand’s target audience.
It generally involves monetary or other tangible benefits for the influencer in exchange for promoting the brand’s product by creating content on their social media handle.
Influencers use their social media experience and their social following to promote your products and services to the audience.
It’s quite inevitable for companies nowadays because brands no longer have center stage while customers do.
If you want to be the part of customer conversations you have to play by their rules.
Since Instagram is pretty much a hub for influencers and celebrities, Influencer Marketing makes perfect sense for such a platform. It’s no surprise that companies today tend to prefer using Influencer Marketing because of how tailored it is according to their target audience.
The reason Influencer Marketing works so well is quite simple, actually. When an influencer tells you to check something out, it is more like a friend’s recommendation rather than a brand actively trying to make business with you.
In other words, Influencer Marketing is a lot more indirect and personal, making the potential customers feel more engaged, invited, and paid attention to.
This makes it an ideal form of marketing, especially in a time where people are well aware of their likes and dislikes, Influencer Marketing proves to be one of the best ways to make your target audience want your products, because well, their favorite influencer supposedly likes it too!
Social media is a place where customers are having conversations today, and one of the key people leading those conversations are Social Media Influencers.
Hence it is a hybrid of old and new marketing tools, taking the idea of celebrity endorsement and placing it into a modern-day content-driven marketing campaign.
How did Influencer Marketing grow to what it is today?
In the few years that Influencer Marketing came into the diaries of marketers, it has proven out to be an effective and rapidly growing Industry.
Year on Year since its inception, marketers are allocating bigger chunks of their budget to Influencer Marketing.
According to the statistics, 71% of marketers use at least one social media platform for marketing purposes.
In the last 3 years, the number of google searches for influencer marketing has increased by 1500%.
However, there has been a drastic change in how marketers work with Influencers. Earlier, they used to look at the number of followers, likes, retweets, shares, or any other relevant social media metric.
But now, the industry has shifted its focus to real engagement, and overall conversions achieved as a part of their arrangement in Influencer Marketing.
There had been a colossal diversification between influencers from nano to micro, we have shortlisted the different categories of Influencers (based on their following):
- Nano Influencers: The ones with 1k to 10k followers,
- Micro-Influencers: The ones with 10k to 50k followers,
- Mid-tier Influencers: The ones with 50k to 500k followers,
- Macro Influencers: The ones with 500k to 1million followers,
- Mega Influencers: The ones who are having more than 1millions followers.
Each category of Influencer is unique in its own way. Based on the objectives and budget of the campaign, marketers closely select the category of Influencers that suits their requirements.
If you think what worked for you in 2018 or 2020 would work for you in 2021 as well, then you are doomed to fail.
Influencer Marketing is a rapidly developing industry – you need to be at the forefront of it and keep incorporating new strategies on time.
Influencer Marketing Trends in 2021
In the year 2021, there would be a major shift in influencer marketing trends. Influencers remain to be a hot topic on social media and you can anticipate coming across more and more sponsored posts on your feeds. Ready to see what this year has to offer? According to the social media experts, below are the trends that will prevail in influencer marketing this year:
1. Authenticity is on the rise
People nowadays on Social media, do not interact with brands who are not ethical in their approach or processes.
The same goes for Influencers, many Twitterati has experienced an immediate fall in the number of following just after they made a foul statement.
Authenticity is going to rule in 2021. If you’re a lifestyle influencer, you should preach what you do yourself.
Stop promoting products that you will never use. Your audience trusts you to provide them with the best advice about your niche and when you promote ill-products, they will just lose trust in you.
2. Niche social media platforms will dominate
From now onwards the marketers will deploy their resources in different social media platforms for different campaigns, instead of going ahead with everything on every platform strategy,
This is going to be true for influencer marketing as well. Professional Influencers will dominate on LinkedIn, Politicians & Business Leaders on Twitter and Show-biz, Lifestyle & Fashion on Instagram.
Tik-Tok, Youtube, and Facebook will have their share of the game as well.
But the point I am trying to add here is that your strategy for Influencer Marketing should niche-oriented. You should work with those influencers who are dominant in the niche of your target audience.
This will drastically reduce your costs and increase the overall results of your campaign.
3. Video Content will dominate
One of the most impressive ways to leave an impact on people’s minds about your brand or a product is through powerful video content. The rise of video continues to be a constant development in the field of influencer marketing. However, with the increasing success of platforms like TikTok and Instagram reels, it is anticipated to be more interactive and innovative than before.
With the right use of GIFs, explanatory videos, or experiential videos, your brand can generate immense engagement on Social Media Platforms.
In 2021, you should focus on creating video content in collaboration with Social Media Influencers. Concentrate on your niche and build relevant video content on IGTV and reels. It’s a perfect way to interact with your audience on a deeper level and add a lot of value.
4. More regulatory control and legal scrutiny
Social Media is a dynamic industry, it has become vital for the influencers to undertake some strict actions regarding the security and privatization of content.
Brand Partnerships will be subject to legal scrutiny and it has become important for social media influencers to establish trust in the given product or service to be promoted to avoid any unwanted future legal scrutinies if things go south.
5. Micro and Nano influencers will rise
Influencer marketing is a vital tactic for advertising your company and goods, and micro-influencers (with less than 100k followers) produce great results for businesses! According to a report made by Fohr, micro-influencers have the highest engagement on their posts, averaging at 7%. In fact, influencers with less than 25k followers had the highest engagement rates irrespective of their genre or target audience.
As Instagram’s engagement rates continuously fall, more and more companies are finding value in working with Instagram influencers who have a limited but highly interactive audience.
6. Deeper connections and value-driven content
In 2020, influencers, as well as companies, took a break from perfectly aesthetic feeds to get a little more real with their followers. There was a constant movement towards deeper interactions and partnerships – coming from users and Instagram too. Thus, influencers have started to produce more value-driven content and give their audience a real look into their lives.
Now, more than ever, users are interested in seeing your authentic self. The key to growing online is uploading any type of content that shows real-life personality. QnA’s, silly memes, YouTube videos, polls, etc. can be used to increase interactions.
7. More live content
The use of Instagram live has skyrocketed in 2020. According to a survey done by Business Insider, in a single month of April, the use of Instagram live increased by 70%. This is not strange given that it was about a month into lockdown due to COVID-19. Researchers think that this rise because of the fact that humans are not designed to remain isolated from others for prolonged time periods.
And thus, people have turned to social media to feel more connected. As we have entered 2021, there is no doubt that covid will still wreak havoc on our social experiences. That makes it pretty much clear why influencer marketing trends will include live content.
Strategies for Influencers to be adopted in 2021
1. Audience oriented content
Narrate a story in a manner and language that your target audience understands the best, hence your idea and story of your forte should be screaming out from your content you are showcasing.
2.Utilize alternative platforms
As an influencer, it’s ideal that you try to expand your presence on multiple social media networks and not opt for just one or two. Instagram is the most prominent platform right now, but you can simultaneously work on platforms like YouTube or Facebook.
3. One should give priority to the video content
Statistics show that video content gets 135% more organic reach than other forms of content. It retains users on your profile and makes them spend more time seeing your content.
4. One should be an ethical Influencer
An influencer is supposed to put authentic content. If they are promoting any product, they should be earnest enough with their reviews. Otherwise, they are doing nothing except misleading their audiences.
They should be transparent enough with displaying the “Paid promotions tag” with their content.
Strategies for marketers to be adopted in 2021:
In the year 2021, marketers need to shift their focus from followers -based influencing to content-based influencing.
2. Micro-influencers and Niche based influencers will replace celebrities
In 2021, the marketers will develop more partnerships with micro and nano influencers because of higher affordability.
3. Marketers will use multi-functional influence model to optimize ROI
Even marketers will deploy more than one digital platform rather than using merely one or two. This will lead to high-end propagations of their products and services and will be able to reach more customers.
Hence it was all about the evolving age and trends of influence marketing in 2021.
Influencer marketing has shown continuous growth in 2020 and it looks like 2021 is going to be even better.
Instagram and TikTok are platforms that are perfectly fit for Influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing is growing rapidly and is helping influencers around the world make good business and change the industry.
Debbie Moran is a Digital marketing strategist with 5+ years of experience producing advertising for brands and helping leaders showcase their brand to the correct audience. She has been a part of RecurPost since 2019 and handles all the activities required to grow our brand’s online presence.