2020 has been a strange year to say the least. COVID-19’s impact has been felt around the globe by every single person and every single industry. Influencer marketing is no exception. While we’ve already explored how COVID-19 has changed influencer marketing we wanted to take a look at some influencer marketing trends that you should be paying attention to right now.
- Product Collaborations
Traditionally, influencer marketing has consisted of brands paying influencers to promote their product through their social media accounts. While this has worked tremendously for a lot of brands — companies are looking for an even more authentic way to reach a creator’s audience.
Partner with creators to make their own branded product that they can market to their audience.This is a popular strategy for beauty brands and it was recently announced that Charlie and Dixie D’Amelio would be launching their own makeup line in collaboration with Morphe 2 (Morphe’s sub-brand targeted towards teens). To say this was a big deal for Morphe is an understatement as Charlie and Dixie are two of the biggest creators on TikTok. This isn’t Morphe’s first foray into influencer products either. They have previously partnered with YouTubers James Charles and Maddie Ziegler to launch their own products.
This strategy is not exclusive to beauty either. We’re seeing this in gaming as well. GFuel is “The Official Energy Drink of Esports” and they have created specific products with multiple members of FaZe Clan including FaZe Rug’s “Sour Blue Chug Rug” and FaZe Jev’s “Ragin’ Gummy Fish”. The brand has also gone on to partner with FaZe Clan itself to release their own beverage.
By collaborating with influencers to create their own product you’re not only getting buy-in from the influencers themselves but also with their audience. Top tier influencers have die hard fan bases that will support their favourite creators with viewership and attention but also with their dollars.
When an influencer launches their own product they are going to be more inclined to promote it because they are getting a percentage of the sales and it’s their own product so promotion feels more natural than pushing someone else’s. When done right, product collaborations are more authentic than traditional influencer marketing and can be high revenue generators for both the brand and the influencer.
Partnering with micro-influencers has been a common practice in the influencer marketing industry for years. The smaller, tighter-communities made for a more targeted and genuine approach to influencer marketing in addition to it being much more cost-effective than partnering with top tier, hero influencers.
But now, brands are taking an even more narrow approach and partnering with nano-influencers. While micro-influencers are often described as creators with 10,000–50,000 followers on a given platform, nano-influencers are creators with 1,000–9,999 followers.
Why are we seeing a rise in nano-influencers? Because in 2020 almost everyone wants to be an influencer. With more and more people trying their hand at content creation we are seeing an increase in nano-influencers specifically. According to a HypeAuditor report, over 85% of all influencers on Instagram had between 1,000–2,000 followers. Due to the smaller nature of these creator’s followings, they often have a more raw and real connection with their audience and that real connection is everything. There’s the famous example of an Instagram influencer who had over 2.6 million followers that could not sell 36 shirts. The size of the following doesn’t necessarily mean more sales. Whether a creator’s followers trust them or not is such an important factor.
A great way to find these nano-influencers is by using our tool SocialRank. You can run a report on your own account and filter down the list to accounts between 1,000–10,000 followers with a high engagement rate to find advocates for your product or service that are already fans of your brand.
3. Data Driven Decision Making
Traditionally, finding and choosing influencers has been an inexact science. Brands in the past have relied on partnering with popular creators, recommendations from their network, influencers they’ve stumbled onto or by searching through the various social platforms and hoping to find ideal creators to partner with.
Those days are in the past as brands will now be using data to help guide their decision making when it comes to influencer marketing. Some key data points brands will be looking at when sourcing influencers include:
- Audience Location: What percentage of a creator’s audience lives in specific geographic locations.
- Engagement Rate: This has become harder to judge ever since Instagram took away the ability to see likes but it is still paramount brands ensure the influencers they partner with have engagement.
- Fake Follower Percentage: Every account on Instagram will have a number of fake followers, we recommend partnering with creators whose audience is made up of 10% or less fake followers.
- Audience Overlap: What percentage of an influencer’s audience already follows you? One of your objectives with influencer marketing is to reach a new audience. Through data, brands will be able to ensure that they are doing so.
You can source all of these analytics on our platform SocialRank to ensure you’re partnering with the right influencers.
If you’re an influencer, we recommend coming prepared with this information when negotiating with a brand. Being able to prove you can deliver results will help you increase the amount brands are willing to pay you for sponsorship.
4. Contextual and Diverse Influencers
According to a 2018 Epsilon report, 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when brands offer personalized experiences. Personalization is so important yet it is so rarely done with influencer marketing.
You want to ensure that the influencers you partner with are contextual to the audience you are trying to reach. When sourcing creators you want to find those that are relatable to the audience you are targeting.
If you’re trying to reach 18–24 year old black males, you should ideally have creators within that demographic. Not only is this a smart marketing move but it’s also the right thing to do. There is a lack of diversity in the influencer marketing space and that needs to change.
In early June 2020 Glossy released an article titled “Influencers speak out about the industry’s diversity problem.” Influencer Ria Michelle is quoted in the article saying:
“I’ve been very much the only one — the token kind of person. It’s something that we [as black influencers] are very cognizant of, while I don’t think other people really pay attention to it.”
This lack of diversity is not a new problem either. In fact, Glossy, the same publication that released the above article put out an article three years prior in 2017 on the lack of diversity in influencer marketing.
5. Live Social Selling
Selling on livestreams is big business in China. According to ‘The Next Web’ in addition to influencers and celebrities CEOs have started livestreaming to staggering results:
“Li Jing, president of the home accessories business Mendale Textile, for instance, achieved $3.5 million worth of sales for his company on a four-hour livestream in March. James Liang, the executive chairman & former CEO of the travel services company Trip.com, had also made $8.4 million selling travel packages, with five sessions of hour-long livestreams. And on May 10, the chairwoman of Gree Electric, Dong Mingzhu, sold more than $43.7 million worth of home appliances on a three-hour livestream.”
With numbers like that, it’s hard to believe North American companies won’t take note and start to jump on the bandwagon. Companies like Amazon are already doing this and you can expect to see more jump in on the action.
Where this ties in to influencer marketing is companies will invite creators to be on the livestream and sell to the audience. They will also promote their appearance to their followers which can help increase the number of people on the livestream. Helping to maximize reach and revenue.
Influencer Marketing Isn’t Going Anywhere
While some people thought influencer marketing was going to take a hit as a result of the coronavirus — it’s clear that it isn’t going anywhere. What is certain is that it will continue to change and evolve and it’s important for marketers to stay on top of the trends to ensure that their campaigns are achieving as much success as possible.