Five Influencer Marketing trends to watch out for in 2021

Influencer Marketing

Considered a buzzword only a few years ago, the term and subsequent practice of ‘influencer marketing’ has grown to become one of the most effective communication strategies for many brands.

The rapid growth of new social media platforms like Instagram, Tik Tok and Twitch, has acted as a catalyst for influencer marketing.

For those who are not quite sure what we’re rambling on about here, according to Sprout Social:

Influencer marketing is a type of social media marketing that uses endorsements and product mentions from influencers

(Sprout Social 2021)

As stated by the Influencer Marketing Hub 2020 report, around ‘63% of marketers intend to increase their influencer marketing budget’ to integrate it into their digital marketing strategy this year.

From the rise of micro-influencers to a decrease in trust, there’s no escaping ‘influencer marketing’ so sit back and have read of our top five key influencer trends to watch out for right now.

1. Niche influencers are on the rise

In a world where everyone has a digital voice, influencers are becoming the new storytellers but not just any old influencer, niche influencers in particular.

Referred to as niche, micro or even nano-influencers, these types of influencers will become more and more popular throughout 2021.

Due to a crazy year of information overload, fake news has continued to fuel distrust in the media, thereby causing a rise in trust amongst these influencers. Despite being one of the most distrusted sources back in 2019, the rise of transparency across influencer marketing has allowed audiences to perceive that influencers are becoming a ‘safe place’ for consumers. Determined to create a safe space for their followers, many brands are beginning to tap into these safe spaces as a way of building trust.

To demonstrate this, we used Influencer Marketing Hub’s ‘Micro-Influencer vs Celebrities’ algorithm to determine whether a niche influencer or a famous celebrity had a higher engagement rate and ROI. 

We placed GE Keoni, a Hawaiian-based niche influencer and compared his stats to the American fashion and beauty influencer, Kim Kardashian, and below are the results.

(Influencer Marketing Hub 2021)

Word to the wise, if you are selecting an influencer for any type of project for your business, remember it is NOT all about the number of followers. Brands need to begin focusing their energy on finding like-minded influencers that align with the brand’s project and values.

This year, we expect to see more brands tapping into these niche influencers to target specific audiences and ultimately secure higher engagement from a more trusting audience.

2. Tik Tok

Love it or hate it, Tik Tok is set to be one of the biggest trends across Influencer Marketing this year.

Available in over 150 countries with over 1 billion users, Tik Tok remains to be one of the most downloaded non-app games across the world.

The success behind Tik Tok is twofold. Firstly, due to its short 15-second video format, this allows the average user to spend up to 45 minutes per day on the platform. Secondly, the algorithm of the platform allows accounts to go from nothing to viral in a matter of minutes, opening up all sorts of opportunities for anyone and everyone on the platform.

Now, while you may think Tik Tok is a platform for ‘young teens’, we have already started to see – and predict to see – a lot more mature audiences using the app. Brands and companies will begin tapping into this platform, using influencer marketing as a communications channel to connect and reach a wider audience demographic.

3. Long-term partnerships

One-off partnerships are gone. In 2021, brands and influencers are forming stronger relationships, resulting in an increase in long-term partnerships.

Brands need to think past just one generic post. Gone are the days where brands will consider one-off partnership posts, as Manu Muraro, Your Social Team Founder, stated: “it takes 6 to 8 touches to make a sale.”

Storytelling is one of the biggest ways to connect and engage your audiences. Brands and influencers are beginning to understand that in order to drive sales, they need to build that story and one way of achieving this is creativity and long-term partnership.

An example of a great long-term partnership is JustEat and Snoop Dogg (Don’t try and hide it, we know you are singing the theme tune right now).

This influencer marketing campaign spread like wildfire. From TV and radio adverts to Spotify, Tik Tok, Twitch and Gifs, this is a perfect example of an influencer marketing partnership done well, on a big scale.

4. In-app purchases will grow

Brands have been trying to increase the intent to purchase since the dawn of time and with the rise of influencer marketing, this has become more likely reality.

The rise in trust amongst influencers has provided brands with ample opportunity to reach a new consumer base in the social world. Throughout 2021, we can expect to see a lot more social media platforms welcoming in-app purchasing, allowing influencers to promote products on their pages, directing audiences straight to the check-out box in the app.

One thing which will be interesting to see unfold is when brands and influencers need to come to terms with what is more important – engagement or sales.

5. Purpose-driven messaging  

One of the main trends that will take shape across the year is the importance of purpose-driven marketing.

After a year of an influx in concentrated news from the global pandemic to BLM movements and climate change protests, audiences are becoming more socially aware than ever before.

Alongside this shift in awareness and the rise of digital disinformation, brands need, and are being expected to, adapt to the new media environment. Failure to adapt means brands run the risk of facing the impact of ‘cancel culture’, which will ultimately damage their customer relationships and reputation.

In the influencer marketing world, consumers are looking to use their voice more by engaging with like-minded influencers who share the same set of values. Consumers no longer want brands to simply say they are sustainable, diverse or transparent, they want you to walk the walk. 

In order to achieve success throughout 2021, brands need to become less ‘product’ focused and become more focused on being authentic, promoting their ethos and values.

If you’ve seen the benefits of having a strong communications team in 2021, Why not get in touch with us on 01905 670881 or email us at [email protected]

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