Amid the difficulties of 2020 for many industries, the role of digital and influencer marketing actually accelerated. Pandemic restrictions led to shifts in consumer behavior, which led to a major focus on digital and social media as the cornerstones of many brands' marketing strategy.
The influencer marketing industry is reaching its next phase of maturity and, as life returns to a more familiar state, it’s time to start thinking long-term.
To help brands map out their strategies and get ahead of the curve, we have covered some influencer marketing trends for 2021 and beyond as well as Pro-Tips for successful partnerships.
Strengthening Influencer Relationships
Collaborations between brands and influencers continue to expand and marketers lean into ambassadorships rather than one-off collaborations. While influencer marketing has been around for a few years now, it’s clear that brands that invested and nurtured these relationships early on saw the fruits of their labor during Covid. Brands that continue to cultivate these relationships and work to elevate the experience for brand advocates will benefit greatly from it.
Invest in influencers whose content and character best resonate with your brand, instead of focusing on their follower numbers. Reaching the widest possible audiences is a thing of the past. Investing in relationships with the influencers who will become your brand advocates now will set up your strategy for more sustainable success in the future.
Gen Z Driving More Authentic Content
With the rise of platforms like TikTok and increased demand for more authentic content, brands and marketers need to pay attention to Gen Z’s influence on social media. This trend was only accelerated during the pandemic as many people were stuck at home and looked for creative ways to entertain themselves.
Younger audiences want to see brands humanize themselves and their messages no matter what form that takes.
Lean on Gen Z influencers to guide your content and creative strategy. They grew up with social media, and they know digital trends. Begin to think about influencers as consultants. Give them more creative freedom and let them educate you on how to reach your audience.
Data-driven Influencer Marketing
Data is king, as long as you use it to drive your next moves, and influencer marketing strategy is no exception. Marketers will rely more on key performance indicators and sales conversions to show influencer marketing ROI. This will help to solidify influencers as an important part of a brand’s marketing mix.
If you paired influencer content with a paid media budget, give your influencers access to the reports and share your data. This helps you and your influencer partners to identify the best performing content and helps to strengthen your relationships for future collaborations.
Micro-Influencers & Content Creators
As brands continue to foster relationships with influencers, they’ll want to identify their strengths and weaknesses. While some influencers might have a greater reach, others might have strength in original content creation. Brands can leverage their own influence on micro-influencers by giving them a platform to expand their audience in exchange for original content.
Try collaborating with more localized micro-influencers or niche influencers to reach a new audience. Often, the local or niche ambassadors can facilitate a more authentic voice to a segment that you might have had trouble penetrating with traditional media or larger campaigns.
Influencer marketing has evolved, and marketing strategies must also evolve to remain relevant. If you haven’t embraced influencer marketing yet, now is the time.