With the rise of new and innovative influencer data platforms and increasingly diverse social media creators, the influencer marketing industry continues to boom in 2021.
Influencers will continue to dominate the social media turf with streams of TikTok meme videos, #ad #sponsored posts and even, authentic cause posts from climate change to the black lives movement that continue to touch the hearts of social media users as they scroll down their feeds.
So, what are some influencer marketing trends to watch out for in 2021?
Here’s a quick outline of the 5 top influencer marketing trends we have identified at East West IMG for 2021:
- Rise of micro-influencers
- Importance of Planning, Data Driven Metrics and Performance Marketing
- Real Content: The value-add of “Behind-the-Scenes Aesthetic”
- Rising influence of TikTok and Instagram
- Longer term Contracts and Partnerships
Rise of micro-influencers
Firstly, what are micro-influencers?
They are influencers that have a mid-range, humble number of followers, and despite there being no specific criterion, this usually relates to influencers with less than 50,000 followers. Successful micro-influencers usually hit close to the 10K ballpark for average impressions and have a unique personality and highly targeted niché on offer.
In 2021, micro-influencers are certainly on the rise with more and more companies looking to them for efficient and direct promotion of certain goods campaigns. Micro-influencers provide a small, local and often, more affordable alternative for companies to work with when compared with larger channels.
The importance for companies here, is to find influencers that have a niche audience and directly aligns with the company’s target market, whether this is a specific promotional or seasonal scheme that is being run or an alignment of company values—perhaps your company is going green and requires an influencer with the same alignment of values, ambition, and advocacy?
And with tools like CreatorDB, it is even easier for companies to find influencers with a niché audience, as the hard work of searching and discovering the ideal influencer, finding ‘the one is all done already!
In 2021, we expect a rise of micro-influencer projects as they offer better targeting towards niche audiences and usually, a higher level of engagement and greater communication accessibility than potential macro-influencers.
Importance of Planning, Data-Driven Metrics & Performance Marketing
As we move into the 2020s, the importance of data continues to rise. Data analysts are more in demand than ever and this is no different within the realms of influencer marketing. Influencers are latching onto numbers and their unique dataset as a selling point in order to attract companies and specific clients, as nothing speaks louder than empirical facts and figures. Companies love strong figures and in 2021, influencers are ready to deliver them.
We know that just connecting brands to influencers won’t cut it. Brands are looking to an influencer’s data as a measure of success. Influencers must strive for higher engagement rates and other key metrics in order to grab impressive brand deals.
Real Content: the value-add of “Behind-the-Scenes Aesthetic”
We’ve talked a lot about brands and clients. But what about customers? They are, after all, a key component to everything within influencer marketing. Each year, customers get smarter, and nobody likes ‘fake news.’ Customers are sharpening their vision, and dropping their ‘rose-tinted glasses’ in favor of authenticity and differentiating between real and fake reviews.
In the past, many influencers have been criticized for posting exaggerated and over-the-top reviews that bring about a distasteful feeling in their audience. They appear fake. This leads to a lack of trust resulting in lower levels of engagement. We must rectify this situation as companies desire to work with influencers that genuinely align with their own values and have a sense of creativity, rather than entertainers that merely amplify the company’s slogan.
This will become trickier in 2021, as YouTube already requires content creators to declare promoted and sponsored content and such rules don’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. Therefore, the importance of correctly matching brands to influencers is more poignant than ever.
Influence of TikTok & Instagram
TikTok has swarmed the scene in the West, as DouYin previously did in China. This trend will continue in 2021, despite hiccups in the political atmosphere, as big brands further look to TikTok in search of creative influencers with unique themes, filters, and presentation styles. TikTok has certainly created a boom within the social media industry, but we should wait as the storm settles to see how the company may develop and evolve in the long run. It is certainly an exciting time for new social media influencers, especially creators ruling TikTok in 2021. Check out who we thought were the biggest players in 2020 here.
Long-Term Contracts & Partnerships
Last, but certainly not least – Influencer marketing is no longer seen as a one-and-done event, but rather as a respected and stable strategy for companies and businesses to rely upon. Companies who have once used influencers as a “one-off” are beginning to return, as they realize the power and importance of successful influencers more and more. Long-term contracts and partnerships are certainly to be expected and most likely increased, as influencers with a long-term plan are better at delivering long-term results. This boosts client-company relations, as well as brand loyalty from customers. It is a win-win-win solution for all three sides of the influencer marketing equation.