Hackernoon logoThe 6 Influencer Marketing Trends You Need to Understand for Success by@nealschaffer

The 6 Influencer Marketing Trends You Need to Understand for Success

By 2022, videos will take up more than 82% of online consumer traffic — that’s 15 times higher compared to 2017! Video continues to be the most powerful type of content out there and shows no signs of stopping. By 2021 we are going to see influencer marketing be seen as its own marketing channel independent of anything else. Brands should be careful to choose the right influencers carefully, not just after the biggest fish in the pond but rather selecting small/medium-sized accounts that are extremely close to your brand.
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Neal Schaffer Hacker Noon profile picture

@nealschafferNeal Schaffer

I help companies maximize their digital marketing ROI as a Fractional CMO. https://nealschaffer.com

Influencer marketing is not going away anytime soon. For brands to be heard in social media, they have to collaborate with social media users, and those content creators that hold sway over communities large and small are the most attractive option. It's no wonder that 93% of marketers have used influencer marketing.

As we enter the post-pandemic economy, however, we are already seeing shifts in how brands are leveraging influencers. One report noticed a pronounced trend of seeking out smaller micro and nano influencers as well as a clear shift in topics.

I have my own thoughts on the influencer marketing trends that businesses need to be aware of today, but I thought I would also ask some marketing leaders what they are seeing in the market as well.

Increased Influencer Marketing Budgets

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As more companies see more ROI from influencer marketing, it is estimated that influencer marketing budgets will continue to increase. One thing that will drive that video is the emphasis and uptake on engaging influencers for video promotions. This is why TikTok influencer marketing will continue to grow.

A majority of marketers are going to increase their influencer marketing budgets this year. In 2021 we are going to see influencer marketing be seen as its own marketing channel independent of anything else. Primarily we are going to see video content evolve. We see TikTok as the major platform where influencers make and market videos. But other channels too are going to adopt video in a big way. With increased popularity and demand many new exciting events are going to unfold in the space.  

George Mathews, Founder, KamayoBloggers

The Video-First Approach to Influencer Marketing

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The above quote hints at the growing importance of not just video for social media marketing, but specifically for influencer marketing. Just as Snapchat brought the "account takeover" into the influencer marketing mainstream because of the creative challenges brands faced, we are seeing something similar with the growing popularity of TikTok and Instagram Reels.

The popularity of video-sharing platforms like TikTok and introduction of Instagram Reels and other story-like features prove that video content continues to dominate. In fact, by 2022, videos will take up more than 82% of online consumer traffic — that’s 15 times higher compared to 2017! Video continues to be the most powerful type of content out there and shows no signs of stopping. There’s no question that video content should be at the forefront of your influencer marketing strategy. 
For the best results, it’s essential to experiment with all types of video content. On Instagram, this means posting on IGTV, Reels, Stories, your grid, and even going live. Ask your partner influencers to create “a day in the life” content, tutorials, or live question and answer sessions to engage your audience. The beauty of creating videos for today’s audience is that they don’t expect polished, professionally-edited productions. Instead, they prefer candid and personal videos that tell a story. To achieve this, all you’ll need is a smartphone and a trusty video editing app that can help you make quick edits and optimize clips for your platforms of choice. 

Denise Langenegger, Outreach Strategist, Instasize

Increased Importance of Partnering with the Right Influencers

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With the growing tendency of video creation as part of influencer marketing, not all content creators are going to be equally attractive. Throw on top of that influencer fraud, which is estimated to cheat companies out of more than 1 billion dollars, and partnering with the right influencer becomes even more important.

If there’s one thing certain is that ad costs will keep rising and the number of ecommerce merchants will continue to grow, increasing the (already massive) competition in the space. With this in mind, switching traditional ad campaigns into performance-based campaigns, such as influencer marketing, becomes crucial for the financial stability of your company. In this respect, it’s important to choose your influencers carefully. It’s not about going after the biggest fish in the pond but rather selecting small/medium-sized accounts that are extremely specialized in one particular niche that’s closely related with your brand. It’s not necessarily about the size of the audience they can redirect to your brand but the quality: how many of these followers can you turn into customers?

Raul Galera, Partner Manager, CandyBar

Establish Deeper Relationships with Influencers

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The trends of being more selective with influencers as well as the growing emphasis on smaller micro and even nano influencers mean that it is becoming more important to establish deeper relationships with influencers to generate the highest ROI.

I have always said that influencer marketing is about converting influencers into becoming advocates (or simply leveraging advocates - more on that below), and the only way to do this is through developing deeper relationships.

So far influencer marketing has been pretty superficial. Brands would approach content creators with deals, money, merch, and whatnot, and content creators would produce highly convertible content. In 2021, we’re expecting a shift. Influencers will build brands that’ll not only sell merch but also add value, sell products and services of all kinds. Content creators will also create a much deeper relationship with the brands as we see an increase in equity deals proposed by the brands.
On top of that, podcast creators will be entering the world of influencer marketing next to photo and video content. They’re on the rise and have already gained a following. They just need to be monetized.

Kristina Ziauke, Content Manager, sixads

The major trend I see is brands are looking for ongoing partnerships instead of one-off projects. Audiences are more sensitive to marketing placements than ever, so hard-sell one off ad placements are not getting the level of engagement they once did. Ongoing omni-channel campaigns get higher ROI for brands, because the promotion can be more authentically woven into influencers' content topics and style. Partnerships also enable higher brand reinforcement with their potential customers by appearing in more touch points between influencers and their audiences.

Joe Scarffe, CMO, Twine

Influencers are Creating Their Own Gigs With or Without You

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As the influencer economy continues to grow, influencers themselves are finding better ways to monetize their community. This is another reason why you want to work with smaller influencers and develop deeper relationships with them: It will be more cost-effective long-term as more and more influencers become more and more selective as to the brands they collaborate with and their requirements as they find other ways to make money.

It used to be that influencers were mainly paid by sponsored posts. We see that's changing. Youtube and Instagram influencers are increasingly looking for higher value ways to monetize their engaged audience by selling online courses, setting up their own online store and selling niche products directly to their audience, or sometimes even offering high-ticket consulting services that cost $2k and more.

Martin Luenendonk, Co-Founder, FounderJar

Create Your Own Influencer Program

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My final advice on the topic is a clear one:

Instead of always looking outside for external influencers, look inside for social media users that are already in your sphere of influence and develop an influencer program in collaboration with them.

Specifically, this includes:

- Employees
- Partners
- Customers
- Followers and Fans

These are people who already like, know, and trust your business to some extent, so they will be easy to collaborate with. And with the increased democratization of media influence, there are simply more nano and micro-influencers out there than ever.

With continued decreasing reach for organic social media posts, the choice for businesses is clear: Invest in paid media or invest in people.

The choice is yours. Which do you think will have the most long-term impact on inciting word of mouth in social media, the original intent of social media marketing?

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