The Hottest Trends in Influencer Marketing for 2021

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Businesses and content creators in the influencer-marketing industry have been really quick to adapt to the changes from the Covid-19 outbreak. During the lockdown, we have seen a rise in posts around home decor as our homes have become our focal point e.g. DIY, working from home, and ‘how-to’ articles/posts on subjects like home office, indoor plants, and cooking.  Also, although some sponsored posts have been reduced as some brands cut marketing budgets, with many commercial photo shoots being un-viable due to social distancing, influencers have been able to create original content for brands quickly which has taken its place. Brands that have physical presence have moved online heavily in 2020 and have used social media to stay closer to their customers and audience, especially since trade shows have been canceled. 

Let’s take a closer look at the influencer marketing trends that are here to stay in 2021. 

1 – Influencers are now working harder on their social media channels

As the competition between influencers is now bigger than ever, influencers have to be on the ball with their audience growth. This means using all the platforms they possibly can for engagement and views and posting more regularly (now the average is five posts a week when it was only three a few years ago). In the interior industry, blogs and Instagram will still dominate in 2021 as the main channels for collaborations with brands. Pinterest and YouTube are the next biggest channels. Blogs with a Domain Authority of 30 or more are still as popular for SEO purposes.

How to stay ahead of the trend: 

Make sure you keep track of all the social platforms influencers are using. Choosing the right channels to get your products/brand seen by a new audience is key.  Pick the influencers who can offer you reach across multiple channels to get more for your marketing budget.  You need to expect to pay more on influencer marketing in 2021. The competition is high between influencers but this doesn’t mean the prices will go down, influencers now understand better the value of their audience and will ask for more money to collaborate. Here is a guide to know how to pay influencers.  

2 – Celeb influence in decline

Influencers have built their following from scratch and their audience is following them for the content they are creating and will be more likely to buy products from their collaborations with brands. On the other hand, celebrity influencers are now in decline as their followers follow them as they are a fan and not for the content they are posting on their social channels. 

Working with niche influencers (interior, lifestyle) means their audience is already engaged with the topic and will want to see content from interior/lifestyle brands.

How to get ahead of the trend:

Try to find niche influencers that are engaged with their audience. This will increase your chance of better ROI and expose your brand and products to an audience interested in your sector.

3 – Authentic, honest reviews

As influencers have more competitions than ever, they want to stay relevant and post engaging content on their channel. You might think that offering a lot of money might open more doors, but lots of influencers will decline to work with a brand if the offer doesn’t fit with their audience. You need to spend more time choosing the right influencer to make sure your campaign gets the ROI you want. Honest influencers will be long-lasting, fake ones won’t last.

How to get ahead of the trend:

Collaborating with influencers is a win-win deal. The influencer will be the ambassador of your brand by posting/speaking/making videos of your products, so make sure they genuinely have an interest in your product/brand. Understanding the influencer’s audience and making sure there is a fit between your brand and their followers is key to any successful collaboration, don’t just look at the numbers of followers but the brand-fit.  Follow those influencers, see how they work with brands and how they post, and reach out to them if you’re 100% sure there is a fit.

4 – Ethos become increasingly important

Influencers have so much power when it comes to delivering a message to their audience that it is so important you understand their ethos before contacting them to work together. For example, if your products are not eco-friendly don’t reach out to someone that is really engaged in that sector, you may get a backlash.

Topics you or influencers might support include animal rights, women’s rights, gender, diversity, politics,  parents’ rights, small businesses, supply chains, supporting local, to name a few key areas. A key example in 2020 is with the Black Lives Matter movement: some influencers have refused to work with some brands as they didn’t officially support the movement.  Brands have used the cause as a platform to promote their black employees or suppliers, promote their existing diversity policies, or discuss their steps to improve their policies.

Influencers are seen as role models, so it is important that they share important messages and educate their followers on what they know. This will make for a more authentic influencer world.

How to get ahead of the trend:

Keep yourself updated with the news and be aware that audiences tend to not like one-off activist posts, so making sure you are authentic and not just following a trend is important. If you are new to this type of activism/post, be honest with your audience and let them know you are learning, they will appreciate this. Collaborating and creating campaigns with other influencers or brands would work perfectly for this, coming together for a good cause. 

5 – Video content

Video content has become one of the most popular influencer marketing trends recently and will continue to grow in 2021. After the rise of TikTok in early 2020, Instagram has now introduced its new Reels feature (this works similarly to TikTok). This new feature on Instagram was picked up really quickly with influencers, potentially due to the fact that TikTok was blocked in some countries. Instagram also has its IGTV feature, stories, and live features, giving influencers a chance to be more creative than ever before. Now, TikTok has over 800 million active users worldwide, coming in under Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube as the 10th most popular social media platform at the moment.

YouTube continues to be one of the most popular video creator platforms for influencers too.  Influencers with a lot of YouTube subscribers are seen as authentic and have probably been in the influencer world for a longer period of time. ‘How To…’ guides, transformations and just being able to chat with your followers over the video are just a few of the opportunities that video content offers.

How to get ahead of the trend:

When doing influencer marketing, don’t forget videos as part of your collaboration. It might be stories, reels, YouTube, etc. Videos can really increase your reach and will be very popular in 2021. Make sure you keep up to date with the new features on social media. Influencers know that videos are engaging with their audience, so try to find creative ways of working together on paid content.

6 – Long term brand ambassadors  instead of one-off posts

Many influencers will look to work with brands that will offer them a long-term partnership rather than a one-off post. This is when influencers become brand ambassadors for a company. The reason for brand ambassadors is so that the influencers can work with brands they really believe in continuously and vice-versa for the brand.

For brands, this is a great way of building relationships with the influencer over time, instead of having to go through a trial and error process every month or so with different influencers. If a brand finds that the influencer is working really well, it is a no-brainer to keep working with them for a long period of time. Desenio uses brand ambassadors to promote their products. Lucy Jessica Carter is one of them, posting regularly with Desenio prints on her social media channels. This makes the influencer more appealing and authentic to her audience.

How to get ahead of the trend: 

This one is all about research! Make sure you research the influencers you want to work with before reaching out to them, this way they will be reassured that you know a lot about them and are actually really keen to work with them. Have you worked with an influencer before and loved their work? This might be the time for you to do some analysis of your past collaboration and reach out to your favourite influencers.

7 – Micro-influencers are still on the rise and becoming popular choices for brands

Micro-influencers have usually a highly-engaged, loyal, and niche audience for a fraction of the cost that a high-profile influencer would ask for. They are a dream to work with for many brands as they are more accessible, more flexible, and often a bit more creative with their content. Micro-influencers will often be open for long-lasting collaboration.

How to get ahead of the trend:

You might have micro-influencers following you on social media already and that might be perfect to collaborate with! Go through your followers and identify who has between 2,000 to 10,000 followers, great content, and lots of interaction with their audience.
You might want to consider working with multiple micro-influencers multiple times a year rather than one mega influencer. 

8 – User-Generated Content

User Generated Content (UGC) has become a huge buzzword in Marketing and it is now used heavily by brands to empower their communities/followers. The principle behind UGC is to encourage and let your community create content around your products and share that on social media. Buyers and customers trust the opinion of their friends, family, and colleagues who have used the products, so by adopting UGC as a part of your marketing strategy, you’ll spark the desire for them from your potential customers.

How to get ahead of the trend:

To encourage your audience to speak about your brand and generate good quality UGC for social media, you can adopt different strategies: Create a hashtag for your brand or project-specific hashtags to be used when users generate and share their own content. It can provide an ongoing source of UGC. You can also repost a shared image or video, share UGC in stories, and save them on your headlines.

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