Influencer marketing is continuing to rise in popularity on a global scale. Despite the events of this year, it has been reported that 65% of influencer marketing budgets have increased throughout 2020.
So as more and more brands add influencer campaigns to their marketing toolkit, here are the industry trends marketers and PRs need to know about and the pitfalls to watch out for.
Social media is filled with influencers specialising in a variety of different topics, but with trends continuing to change, especially with the current times we’re all experiencing, it can be hard to keep up.
Although brands and businesses have been impacted in recent times due to the current coronavirus pandemic, it has enabled the influencer marketing industry to go in a slightly different direction.
The UK lockdown led to social media being much more widely used and has allowed influencers to adapt and engage with their audience in a way that they haven’t before.
Quality content over vanity
Over the course of the year, social media influencers have played an integral part in all of our lives by keeping us entertained and providing us with time-sensitive and relevant content.
Before, influencers may have shared posts and photos that only matched the rest of their Instagram theme, however now, they are much more conscious about providing their audience with what they really want to see, most probably whilst they’re at home.
Influencers have had to adapt just as much as everybody else. They’ve had to change their content to keep up with the current times and have had to think on their feet to ensure that they are providing quality and authentic content to keep their followers engaged.
Personalisation is key within influencer marketing, more so now than ever before. And social media influencers have prioritised this, along with their followers’ new-found needs, over likes and followers.
With this in mind, images and videos are still recognised as the best form of content – consumers appreciate the human element that they provide, and that they may not receive through the written word.
With new trends continuing to pop up within the industry, it is crucial for both brands and influencers alike to keep up.
TikTok is a great example of this, and although it has completely taken off as a brand new way of sharing and creating innovative content, Instagram still remains the top trending platform, leading the way when it comes to influencer marketing.
But it isn’t just online or social media platforms that need to be monitored for trends. TV shows are a great way to keep up to date with current trends and with many influencers joining line ups for shows such as Strictly Come Dancing, Love Island and the celebrity edition of The Great British Bake Off, it is proof that the industry is growing in more ways than one.
Health and fitness is also a growing trend, with many influencers starting their very own brands and businesses. The last few months have allowed influencers to explore other passions and the likes of Courtney Black, Zero Gravity Pilates and Grace Beverley are proof of exactly that, allowing themselves to provide new collaboration opportunities alongside other influencers, brands and businesses.
Pitfalls to look out for
Although the industry is ever-growing and positive on the whole, there are a few sneaky things to watch out for and consider.
For instance, it is crucial for both brands and influencers to follow the guidelines set out by the ASA. But as the industry evolves, trends in micro-influencers and consumer transparency have arisen, posing issues for all those involved with a campaign – whether that’s the curator, the administrator or the customer.
In recent times, however, social media platforms, including Instagram, have recognised the need for a solution and have rolled out their paid-partnership feature to all users globally, making it easier to recognise and disclose a paid-for ad.
Not only that, but an important aspect of an influencer marketing campaign is ensuring that all parties involved have the same values in order to provide the best possible results. Enlisting the help of an influencer marketing agency may make it a smoother process for everybody.
Of course, fake followers and bots are something else to be mindful of. Whilst the numbers may be high, the engagement rates may not, and this will be reflected in the results of the campaign. Again, it can be tricky to detect an unfaithful influencer, and although they are few and far between, you can access tools, data and expertise to help ensure authenticity and trust.
Trends are directing the way the influencer marketing industry is going, and as they so often do, influencers are continuing to shape those very trends.
This marketing tactic doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. Rather, it is simply evolving with the times and to ensure campaigns and efforts remain effective, marketers must keep up.
Written by Amelia Neate, senior manager at influencer marketing agency Influencer Matchmaker
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