The more widespread a marketing tactic becomes, the lower its subsequent influence on its target market. Consumers these days are savvy to the attempts of businesses to convince them to act on the basis of marketing messages and associated materials.When any given approach to marketing is more or less done to death, it becomes ineffective and loses its appeal.
In which case, is influencer marketing still a worthwhile investment in 2021? With approximately 80% of companies now investing in influencer marketing, does it still have the same impact and appeal it had in previous years?
The Mechanics of Influencer Marketing
In terms of logistics, the basics of influencer marketing have not changed over the years. It is a simple yet effective strategy that involves hiring (or convincing) an influential individual to speak to a targeted audience on your behalf.
Rather than attempting to sell your products and services directly to customers, you do so via a proxy. One that has significantly more influence over your target audience than you do, and is therefore more likely to be heard.
Increasingly, consumers are expressing near-total distrust for the brands and businesses they come into contact with online. Guilty until proven innocent, you can expect everything you say to be scrutinised or ignored entirely - unless your claims are verified by someone your audience trusts.
This is where the power of influencer marketing lies - more than 90% of all consumers act upon the suggestions and recommendations of those they consider trustworthy.
The Influencer Marketing Landscape in 2021
On one hand, you could argue that yes - consumers are not oblivious to the fact that businesses are using influencers to target them. Nevertheless, this is having no bearing whatsoever on the potential value and impact of an effective influencer marketing strategy.
In fact, the influencer marketing landscape is only set to continue growing and diversifying indefinitely.
For one thing, influencer marketing almost always leverages the reach and popularity of social media. During 2020, estimates suggest that the total number of social network users worldwide once again increased by more than 10%.
This equates to another 375 million people becoming active on social media, on top of the 4 billion already hooked.
As a result, nine out of 10 marketers said that influencers were brought into their marketing strategies and will continue to play an important role in their activities going forwards. More importantly, around two thirds of businesses (65%) have indicated their intention to spend even more on influencer marketing throughout the course of this year.
All of which suggests that not only is influencer marketing still a worthwhile investment in 2021, but that its relevance and appeal are both at an all-time high.
With popularity and appeal at an all-time high, more businesses than ever before are planning to increase their influencer marketing spend in 2021.
But what are the major influencer marketing trends set to dominate the landscape over the next months? If planning a new influencer marketing venture or intending to diversify your existing strategy, where should you be allocating more of your money for the best possible ROI?
Trend 1. Micro Influencers
Increasingly, major influencers with enormous audiences are losing their impact and influence over their followers. The most obvious example of which being a major celebrity, who can most likely be persuaded to say anything and promote anything - if paid the right price.
This is why celebrity endorsements are heavily scrutinised and often interpreted as unrealistic, inauthentic and impossible to take seriously. By contrast, micro influencers with much smaller audiences are far more likely to curate trust among their followers.
The bigger the audience, the lower the overall engagement rate - influencers with fewer than 5,000 often achieve the highest engagement rates of all. As an obvious added bonus, working with micro influencers typically tends to be exponentially less expensive than bringing major influencers or celebrities on board.
Trend 2. Forging and Maintaining Long-Term Partnerships
Joining forces with an influencer for a one-time-only promotional campaign can certainly have the desired effect. However, these one-off promos are nowhere near as effective or lucrative as long-term partnerships.
To develop and maintain long-term relationships with influencers is to effectively boost the appeal of your business with an influential brand ambassador. The longer and deeper the relationship, the less it looks like you are simply paying an influencer to say what you want them to say.
Particularly with smaller-scale influencers, building and maintaining long-term relationships is more about earning their interest and respect than paying them for their services. You’ll undoubtedly still be expected to pay a fair price, but they are only likely to support and represent a brand long-term if they genuinely believe in it.
Trend 3. Short Video Clips
The third biggest trend set to dominate the landscape in 2021 is the use of short video clips to send powerful marketing messages. Video content has been growing in popularity and influence for some time, though has really come into its own in the age of TikTok.
Instant gratification culture has taken over the world, resulting in a new generation of consumers that expect to be entertained and engaged in seconds. Whereas a five-minute product review video would once have done the trick, you now need to pack the same message into a 30-second clip to have the desired effect.
Short, punchy and impactful video clips from relevant influencers can be more appealing and effective than anything you could create and publish in-house. They can also be comparatively cost-effective, given the relative simplicity of producing them.