There has been a drastic change in the way social media content is being used and consumed this year all thanks to the pandemic. The audience behaviour is now tricky to crack because social media platforms are coming up with new features on a regular basis to keep the users engaged. These added features also alter the process of content creation and consumption.
Influencer marketing was already labelled as one of the most successful marketing strategies and the same is set to continue in the upcoming year too but with lots of twists.
We are almost past the second half of 2020 and brands are already thinking of ways to implement influencer marketing campaigns effectively in 2021. If you think this is too early to give a thought about influencer marketing trends in 2021 then you are highly mistaken. With most brands relying on online presence because of COVID-19, planning an influencer marketing strategy now needs more than just a concept and influencer selection.
Initially, brands believed in executing influencer campaigns as per the ongoing trends on social media platforms. But with everything already out there, it is difficult to come up with something new. This is why it is necessary to examine influencer trends for 2021 beforehand to implement effective influencer campaigns.
Before we move on to the influencer marketing 2021 trends, let’s dig into the influencer marketing challenges faced by most brands.
Challenges of Influencer Marketing In 2020
1. Emphasis on reach and follower count
It is well established that reach and follower count are just basic parameters when it comes to influencer selection. However, most brands only rely on these factors when choosing a brand influencer. This is one of the biggest challenges in influencer marketing. The impact of a social media influencer cannot be decided solely on the basis of reach and followers, there are several other factors that play a crucial role.
Brand managers building their influencer marketing campaigns solely on the stated factors are likely to face a challenge in the upcoming year.
2. Inability to measure the effectiveness of the influencer campaigns
Brand managers decide the success of their influencer campaigns simply on the basis of likes, comments, and shares. Social media platforms have moved far beyond these basic parameters. In order to measure the success of a campaign, it is best to rely on influencer marketing tools like Unbox Social. Simply observing the in-built statistics will not give you a complete picture of your campaign’s effectiveness.
3. Executing influencer marketing campaigns like ads
There is a difference between ads and influencer marketing. Brands often make the mistake of putting out posts that look less like content and more like ads and that is where they lose most of the audience’s attention. When your social media influencers post content for your brand they have to be relatable.
4. Failing to identify who are the genuine influencers
With the high usage of social media, it is difficult to detect who is a real influencer and who is not. There is no rule book for the same and that’s why brand owners need to trust their judgement and choose carefully. This is where most brand managers go wrong. Currently, there is a great focus on micro-influencers and most brands are roping them. However, micro-influencers might not be apt for every campaign. The selection of influencers depends on the scale of the campaign and the kind of audience you want to target.
5. Miscalculated expectations from the campaign
Brands usually have a misconception about influencer marketing. Just because you have roped in influencers that does not mean your sales are guaranteed. Remember that some campaigns click with the audience because of their timing, content, and presentation but not all. Likewise, some campaigns do well in terms of engagement but fail to drive sales. So make sure you don’t over or under expect from your influencer marketing campaigns.
Now that we have already pointed out the challenges to you, it’s time to look forward to the upcoming year! Influencer marketing in 2020 did set some industry benchmarks but things are bound to change because the world is already preparing for the post-COVID phase. This will have a direct impact on the way social media campaigns function.
Influencer Marketing Trends for 2021
1. It is important to create trends rather than just follow them
Identifying trends on social media and creating content around the same is how most brands build their content. In the year 2021, trend creators will gain more attention. Setting a trend on social media can bring your brand on the forefront and can help you beat your competitors. Furthermore, when others follow the trend you created, you are likely to gain more mileage. See to it that you try and come up with a trend instead of just blindly following other brands.
2. Images will no longer be a crucial part of influencer marketing campaigns
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.
3. Content will have to be interactive
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.
4. Focus on influencers who are niche-specific
Unlike before, users no longer consume content as and how brands want. Social media users have their set of preferences and are aware of why they are following a specific influencer and page on social media. This is why brands will need to rope in influencers that stick to their niche. Users are looking for valuable content and brand influencers following one particular niche are the best bet for the upcoming year.
5. Fewer edits and more authenticity
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.
6. Consumers will be counted as nano influencers
Initially, brands only had to care about what influencers with a high number of followers posted about their products and services. However, with high social media exposure, even regular users have started posting reviews and thoughts on brands through stories and posts. This means that every review counts and every user can be labelled as a nano influencer.
This is extremely important for new brands because one positive review can impact their overall social media presence and vice versa.
In short, brands will have to take every user seriously in 2021 regardless of how many followers they have!
7. Brand-influencer collaborations based on performance
The year 2021 will also impact the manner in which influencers and brands collaborate. Until now, brands chose influencers based on their follower count and content performance but steadily, brands will move towards performance-driven collaborations. Performance -based influencer marketing that relies on sales will become a norm in 2021.
8. Creating shareable content will prove to be more beneficial
If your brand successfully creates content that is shareable you have already emerged a winner. Creating shareable content will become more crucial for brands in the upcoming year. Be it Reels, videos, or microblogs, when users share your content you have won most of the battle because it tells you what kind of audience is liking your content and how you need to design your future marketing strategies. This directly impacts brand visibility.
9. Virtual events will steal the show
The pandemic has got most of us used to virtual events. Virtual events are here to stay because they will now become a part of the influencer marketing campaigns for brands. Be it a product launch, a live session with industry experts, or a product unboxing event, such events will gain a good audience turnout. However, brands will have to struggle to keep the audience informed about the events. It can be challenging to create curiosity for such events.
10. Influencer partnerships will emerge
Usually, brands connect with a set of influencers to convey their message but in 2021, influencer partnerships will also emerge. In this collaborative approach, influencers will work together to create content for a particular brand. This approach is already taking shape and is likely to become a norm in the upcoming year. This will also influence how brands work with influencers and how they conceptualize their campaigns.
Apart from the trends mentioned, brands will have to keep an eye out for new features on social media platforms. Instagram’s shopping feature has already made an impact on how consumers shop for products and services and likewise, many other upgrades are expected in the year 2021.
Want to know more about influencer marketing in depth? Read the blogs below-
- Step-by-Step guide to developing an influencer marketing strategy
- Everything you need to know about YouTube influencer marketing
- Steps to measure the success of influencer marketing
Check out Unbox Social’s influencer marketing features now to upscale your campaigns.