Influencer marketing is a widely accepted type of online marketing nowadays.
It draws from the concept of celebrity endorsement and puts it in the modern scenario of a content marketing campaign.
It’s a little like that idiom about old wine in a new bottle, except that influencer marketing doesn’t only involve celebrities. Instead it’s more focused on people who aren’t as famous and recognizable offline.
Who are influencers?
An influencer is someone who can influence people’s purchasing decisions because of his/her knowledge, authority, position or relationship with the audience.
Influencers usually have a following belonging to a particular niche, who they actively engage with. The number of followers depends on the extent of topics covered in that niche.
For instance, influencers like Komal Pandey create fashion centred content.
What’s the big deal about Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing involves collaboration between a digital influencer and a company wherein the influencer promotes the company’s services and products.
Sometimes influencer marketing deals have a simpler goal-to increase a company’s recognition.
An example of influencer marketing was YouTube star PewDiePie’s collaboration with a horror film’s creators. It was set in French catacombs underneath Paris. Hence, he created a string of videos in which he did challenges there. This was exciting content for PewDiePie’s subscriber base of 27 million and it almost doubled the movie trailer’s views.
How can you do influencer marketing?
- Organize: research, plan, make a strategy schedule and an overall budget.
- Choose an influencer based on their niche and association to your company’s offerings.
- Don’t assume that influencers with the highest number of followers always influence a niche.
- Decide what approach you’d like to take to locate influencers-organically or by subscribing to a platform or enlisting an agency’s help.
- Exercise patience and be approachable in your interactions.
- Ask if the influencer favours quarterly/monthly/biannual newsletters or calls?
- Adjust your product release timeline and Public Relations schedule to match the timing of the influencer’s marketing pitches.
- Ensure that executive management sends communication emails and arranges meetings to discuss the marketing campaign with the influencer.
Now that we’ve explained what influencer marketing is and how to use it, we’d like to tell you exactly which trends you should utilize in 2021.
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- Video marketing
Due to the various Covid lockdown restrictions enforced last year, many people craved the social interaction and connection they got earlier from in-person meetings.
Influencers and marketers attempted to fill this void by replacing live events with videos and live streams, thereby connecting with their followers and the companies they were allied to, in a relatable, dynamic way.
They will continue to make a mark by playing to their strengths, of stirring up an instant buzz and being authentic.
More specifically, they capitalized on videos last year to increase their engagement by doing:
- IGTV makeup tutorials
- Question and answer sessions
- Behind-the-scenes videos
- TikTok hashtag challenges
- Brand values
In 2020, the Black Lives Matter movement, inclusivity, inequality, climate change and diversity were in the limelight.
Consumers wanted companies to address these issues by:
§ Being open about their supply chain.
§ Revealing information on business equality and inclusivity.
§ Collaborating with influencers who are outspoken about these problems and come from varied backgrounds.
Failing to take an action-oriented stand on these struggles was a big turn-off for customers.
Brands that are aware of the larger social picture will continue to gain goodwill and attract more customers.
Influencers from different backgrounds, who work with these companies, can play a key role in demonstrating these values, which in turn, builds a deeper connection with customers.
- An increase in long-standing partnerships, not short-term projects
Both influencers and companies will join forces for long-standing partnerships instead of short-term sponsored posts.
Multiple reasons explain this change but it essentially boils down to endorsements taking time to translate into sales. Even established influencers with highly engaged followers would find it difficult to make a genuine contribution to the company if they’re only supposed to do a sponsored post.
So in order to make the most out of influencer marketing, you must devise packages for influencers to do multiple sponsored posts in a certain time duration, the way you would with Facebook ads.
The deals with them could be performance-based wherein an influencer’s able to guarantee a certain number of clicks or sales.
4. Investing in paid advertising for greater reach
It’s important to leverage paid advertising to increase the reach of influencers’ content.
By employing Facebook Ads’ specialized targeting or other social media sites’ advertising tools, brands can easily reach people who are interested in the influencer content, without depending on social media algorithms.
- A spike in the number of CGI influencers
Apart from human influencers, the number of existing virtual influencers will keep rising based on technological advancements.
You’re probably questioning their purpose and appeal, because there are already so many existing human influencers. Well, a digital character can distinguish your company from real-life influencers on TikTok and Instagram.
Stories about the company’s values can be communicated using these characters, so they could become like company mascots in the near future.
An advertising agency created Noonoouri, who entertains and informs followers about different social issues. She also follows a vegan lifestyle and favours sustainable fashion, so she’ll never advertise or wear a fur coat.
Therefore, companies could craft virtual characters to demonstrate their social consciousness and conscience.