As a result of the digitization of information and the increasing usage of social media platforms, marketing through influencers has taken on new forms. Brands have relied on social media platforms to advertise their products for quite some time, and the utilization of influencers who can create genuine and authentic partnerships is becoming more important than ever. Not only is it about an Influencer’s social following, but it's also about who they’re addressing in their content, and how they’re addressing them.
Many things are changing in regard to engagement. Long term and meaningful engagement are expected to increase in demand. By 2022, Cisco stated that 81% of what we share on social media platforms will be video content, such as live streams and live interactive sessions. This shows the drive for content that engages the user and connects them with the person behind the screen. This was also shown through Instagram’s testing of the removal of likes. Brands were forced to realize that rather than chasing an individual thriving moment, they should concentrate on genuine, lasting connections with customers. The audience has to fully understand what the brand conveys and believe that the message is coming directly from the voice of the influencer.
In order to form this relationship, it is important that there is a positive connotation surrounding the brand as well. Social listening, the ability to track and analyze how people are responding to posts and products, will be crucial in the year to come in making sure that these successful partnerships are being formed. Ways to socially listen include: tracking links through conversion pixels, utilizing influencer analytics platforms (or agencies that provide them), focusing on real-time engagement (comments, retweets, etc.), tracking the performance of promo codes promoted by the influencers and tracking the social and web traffic after a post is made. Sprout and HubSpot are two perfect tools to get comfortable with that you can easily use to track social listening. We find that the best influencer marketing derives from a data-driven perspective to understand influence with a clear insight into brand alignment and cultural relevance.
Technology is only expected to advance further, and brands should begin investing in this to engineer the best possible platforms for marketing. Instagram will remain the preferred application with an increasing demand for video content. Instagram’s IGTV will grow, but many other platforms will also come back to life, such as YouTube and Pinterest. Brands may also begin wanting to consider new channels, such as TikTok. Where influencers are asking $5-$20 for every 1,000 followers on Instagram, influencers on TikTok ask for $1 for every 1,000 followers.
According to HypeAuditor, influencer marketing on Instagram has not suffered from the COVID-19 impact as much as previously predicted. Brands are searching for new ways to interact with customers in a post-COVID-19 world, such as optimizing e-commerce for influencer campaigns versus retail. Collaborating with Influencers is seen as a great way to raise brand awareness, and one must adjust budgets accordingly for the best results. Calculate a fair bid based on the results influencers are able to prove, so they don’t overspend your ROI. You also must keep an eye on the influencer's saturation rate, keeping in mind that 2020 is an election year. Avoid boosting every single influencer post, instead, concentrate on assets that perform the best.
Moving forward, brands need to get comfortable with influencers acknowledging world events and taking a stance on important and relevant issues. This has been a growing topic on social media, and fans are expecting influencers to use their platform for the better.