The rate of online shopping has skyrocketed to an impressive $4.28 trillion USD. That could easily be explained by more people choosing to stay home for safety. But how do they shop? More than ever, consumers turn to social media platforms to find out more about a product they want to buy. And influencers are a go-to source.
From $1.7billion in 2016, the influencer marketing market size reached $9.7 billion in 2020. It is expected to reach $15 billion in 2022 with no sign of slowing down. And big brands are taking advantage of this type of marketing.
If you want to get in the game, we’re sharing some ideas on how brand partnerships have shifted to maximize influencer marketing.
Should You Be Spending or Saving On Influencer Marketing?
The hard truth: Influencer marketing is an effective strategy for ramping up conversions. And more often than not, it is expensive. You should be looking at increasing visibility for a 2.55% conversion average.
So ultimately, if you’re happy with the ROI projected from the aforementioned statistics, it’s time to spend the money. Influencer marketing may not be a place to try to cut back expenses, but some of the up and coming trends you’ll find below can help find a balance between the resources spent on partnerships and your gains.
What Influencer Marketing Trends You Should Look out For?
Here we’ll cover five of the most prominent influencer marketing trends:
- Focusing on ongoing partnerships
- Working with micro-influencers
- Focusing on diversity and inclusion
- Being authentic
- Exploring new tools and platforms
#1. Focus on Lasting Partnerships
You need more than one post to get millions of eyes on your brand. But as a small business, you may not have enough capital — this is where ongoing partnerships are most beneficial.
Over 56% of brands use the same influencer, so their audience will hardly convert for one post. But signing up for an ongoing partnership gives you consistent visibility for the same audience, building trust and credibility.
Plus, a long-term partnership and add up to a discount as opposed to a pay-per-post model — which is a perfect way to save costs.
#2. Work with Micro-Influencers
Most brands are looking for influencers deeply connected to their audiences, and influencers like a personalized experience with a brand as much as the customers do. Often, these deep connections are between micro-influencers and their following.
Micro-influencers can give you the best return on investment because they are less expensive, due to a smaller audience, but provide a higher engagement rate than mega-influencers.
On Instagram, micro-influencers boast an average engagement rate of 3.86%. It declines as the number of followers increases, but it’s just 1.21% for mega-influencers.
On YouTube, micro-influencers get an average engagement rate of 1.64% compared to the 0.37% rate of mega-influencers.
The trick to working with a micro-influencer is to be aware that they may have less resources at their fingertips. In order to have their content be the most successful, provide them with great assets they can use in their personalized creatives to drive up the CTR.
#3. Diversity and Inclusion
A lot of brands have faced public criticism over their lack of use of diverse content creators. For the few that do, there have been cases of tokenism or unfair pay.
Unquestionably, businesses are seeing a need for more representation in influencer marketing for a variety of reasons.
This means using diverse influencers and creating more inclusive content. Dorringon Reid, an Instagram influencer, agrees that representation is essential in influencer marketing as it can change preconceived notions:
“Representation in every creative industry is vital, but especially in content creation and influencer marketing because it can shift preconceived ideas.”
Our advice is to incorporate diversity and inclusion into every aspect of the business, not just what is public-facing. As creatives see this commitment, it will be easier to get them on board for campaigns.
Authenticity is the buzzword on everyone’s lips. Followers crave original, relatable content that evokes a connection to something they’re going through.
As a result, influencers have evolved their content to edit less, and spend more time online in a “live” setting.
As a small business owner, there’s no better way to create a strong bond with your target audience than participating in these impromptu moments. A real-time look behind the scenes or Q&A session goes a long way compared to a 30 second ad.
#5. Exploring New Tools and Platforms
Several new platforms and tools have made influencer marketing more fun and efficient. In 2021, we expect that many brands will invest in some of them.
One of the most notable additions is the ever-growing TikTok. With the proliferation of videos on TikTok, experts believe that brands will invest in this platform more than they’ve done in the last few months.
We see an expansion of “trend culture” where brands create based on whatever has already taken off with the platforms’ most prominent creators. As a result, User-Generated-Content will need it’s own management. Apps that help you re-post content will be incredibly valuable.
More so, we expect brands to combine email marketing campaigns with influencer marketing this year. Brands will take advantage of sales and email management tools to generate more revenue.
Influencer marketing is a great way to connect with the right audience as consumer needs continue to grow. In 2021, you need comprehensive strategies to gain the most value from influencer partnerships.
Influencers are changing the way they produce content and where they do it. They want more meaningful relationships with brands and audiences, more inclusion and diversity. If your business can align with these aspects of an influencer’s work, you’re much more likely to thrive.
Carla Andre-Brown is a content marketer at Mailbird. She enjoys discovering new SaaS tools and writing about creative solutions and ideas. She also teaches Digital Marketing and Social Media at BCIT. Learning about instructional design, coffee, and chuckle-worthy videos have a special place in her heart. You can find her on Linkedin.