Leading Insights in Influencer Marketing for 2021
2020 wasn’t what anyone expected with the Covid-19 pandemic impacting most industries and wreaking havoc on best-laid plans. With that in mind, planning for 2021 will require flexibility and a willingness to make fast-paced changes where necessary. We see plenty of opportunity ahead for influencer marketing if firms are willing to experiment, engage and be flexible.
1. Video content is exploding.
Instagram, as we all know, is the most important platform for influencer marketing. Instagram influencer marketing was highly focused on images but with the newly added features, the focus has shifted to video content. In the upcoming year, videos will more or less replace images. Influencer marketing statistics suggest that videos attract more audiences than images on social media. This means brands will have to brainstorm for more and more video content for 2021.
Users are no longer interested in passive communication. For your influencer marketing campaign to succeed, it needs to be interactive. Simply putting out videos or images and expecting people to respond won’t work. Make sure your content encourages the users to participate and conveys the intended message effectively. Be it tagging friends or simply responding to a poll on Instagram story, everything can work in your favour if your content is interesting and worth responding to.
2. TikTok can’t be stopped.
While Instagram continues to be the dominant force in influencer marketing, TikTok is gaining ground.
Users love the easy-to-watch, creative videos on the platform, while brands love the fact that it’s easy for content to reach a wide audience. And TikTok’s audience continues to grow — it currently has about 850 million monthly active users.
How brands can benefit: TikTok is a more informal platform and is thus well-suited for pandemic life, where many people seem to crave connectivity and realism. You can create casual, humorous, authentic connections by taking your influencer partners’ suggestions on how to use this platform and adding variety and human interest to your overall content strategy.
3. Focus is shifting to the collective good.
The new mantra for 2021 is going to be fewer edits and more authenticity in posts. Instagram influencers, as we all know are a crucial part of every brand campaign and these social media entities are marching towards unedited content heavily. Social media posts that are real, unfiltered, and unedited will attract more attention from the users. It can be rightly said that perfectly edited pictures have lost their charm because they are overdone and users now want to see content in its original form. Brands can come up with posts like behind-the-scenes videos, bloopers, etc, to keep the audience engaged.
4. Focus is shifting to the collective good.
During the pandemic, both brands and influencers have experienced a shift in perspective, away from superficial, sales-driven content and toward more purposeful content with deeper meaning. With mounting pressure from their communities to step up their game and stand for something, both brands and influencers are becoming more vocal about the causes they believe in.
We expect this shift to continue into 2021. In a time when many households are affected by job loss and financial setbacks, it makes sense to grow trust and create stronger relationships so buyers will choose you when they’re once again able to allocate discretionary income for purchases.
How brands can benefit: Make sure you, and the influencers you partner with, come across as authentic. In my experience, a higher level of expectation comes with a belief-driven connection; you’ll need to promote causes for their own sake, not as a shortcut to gaining sales.
5. Partnering with employees can help you build advocacy.
Social media users seem to love getting the inside scoop from their preferred brands. Wendy’s repost of a video of an employee building a Baconator has received more than 3 million views. Along with Wendy’s, an increasing number of brands have begun to notice the potential for influence through their employees and have implemented employee advocacy programs.
As an example, Macy’s Style Crew gives employees the chance to show off the products they use in their everyday lives and receive financial rewards if their content leads to sales. This program works because it encourages employees to live their daily lives and incorporate Macy’s products where they fit in.
Your employees are your first line of connection with customers and can be an untapped source of valuable content. Audiences love hearing from the people behind the scenes, especially in these days of loneliness, where even friendly chit-chat with cashiers and customer service people is in short supply.
How brands can benefit: Develop programs that make it fun and rewarding for employees who represent your company. Use your employees for casual behind-the-scenes footage as well as for tutorials and how-to guides.
Give employees guidance on how to promote the brand and the freedom to do so in an authentic way that reflects their personal style. Leverage their informed viewpoints to amplify your company’s reach.
The past year will be hard to top for unexpected situations. When it comes to influencer marketing in the new year, anticipating the value of authentic relationships will not steer you wrong.
Feel free to share with me your experiences using my tips.