“People trust people,” writes international brand strategist Amanda Russell in her 2020 book The Influencer Code. “Advertisements are a notorious turn-off, and if we don’t end up just ignoring them, we take them in with skepticism. However, the exact opposite is true when that same list of benefits comes from someone else’s lips—especially someone we trust to give us the real scoop.”
If you’ve ever bought a product because someone you follow on social media recommended it, then Russell’s words likely ring true.
With the continued growth of user-generated content across platforms like TikTok, YouTube and Instagram, we expect that even more marketing dollars will be earmarked for influencer marketing this year.
Influencer marketing trends to know
It’s poised for tremendous growth.
Influencer marketing is on the upswing. In 2021, the worldwide influencer marketing market was valued at $13.8 billion, according to the Influencer Marketing Hub, which expects the market to grow to $16.8 billion in 2022. Looking further out, Grand View Research expects that figure to balloon to $84.89 billion by the year 2028. Marketing spend on influencer marketing is likewise rising. Nearly half of marketing professionalsplan on increasing their influencer marketing investments in 2022, according to HubSpot. Trends may come and go on social media, but influencer marketing is no passing fad.
It’s increasingly authentic—because it has to be.
Successful relationships between influencers and brands are characterized by mutual respect and defined by authenticity. There must be a shared spirit of collaboration and trust for any long-term brand partnership to work.
That’s partly because influencers don’t like to hawk products they don’t like or believe in. One paycheck will rarely be worth damaging their fans’ perception of them. The most effective way to conduct influencer marketing is to find influencers who either already use your brand’s products or fall in love with your brand once they try it out.
Long-term influencer marketing strategies can yield greater results.
Once brands find the perfect influencer to represent them, it’s worth investing in that relationship beyond a one-off campaign. As long as the influencer is upholding their end of the deal by aligning with the brand’s values, providing brand visibility and growing their sphere of influence, that influencer marketing relationship will likely drive greater ROI over time.
Influencers need trust and support from brand partners to succeed.
Influencers have amassed followings because they understand their audience and know how to create content they love. Brands that allow influencers the creative freedom to do their best work will have the best chance of tapping into that magic. Each influencer’s audience will know when an influencer is sharing sponsored content, but they still want it to feel genuine and authentic. When influencers are in the driver’s seat of the creative, they’re empowered to promote their brand partners in the most resonant ways.
Micro influencers get results.
It would be wonderful to have Kylie Jenner (with her 308 million Instagram followers) or Cristiano Ronaldo (with his 398 million Instagram followers) promote your product, but mega influencers like these are out of most brands’ budget. Luckily, micro influencers not only have smaller price tags, but they also tend to have deeper relationships with their audiences. Micro influencers tend to focus on a specific niche (e.g., personal finance advice for Gen Z) and have a loyal following of up to 100,000 followers on a particular platform. These micro influencers may seem small compared to big-name celebrities, but their impact on your marketing campaigns can be massive.
Influencer marketing can help you access and learn about new audiences.
If your brand is having trouble getting through to a certain audience, there’s likely an influencer who has them captivated. By forming a partnership with some of the influencer marketing best practices above in mind, your brand can start to gain traction. And with a new window into this audience, you may learn a few things about them. “The right influencer offers a level of insider perspective and insight that can be tough to tap into from the outside, or with third-party research,” according to Russell.
Add influencer marketing to your strategy
Social media has broken down barriers between creators and consumers. Through influencer marketing, your brand has the opportunity to gain awareness and build credibility with new audiences. With the above influencer marketing trends in mind, you can tap into the enormous potential of this growing channel to ensure your investment drives measurable results.