21 Influencer Trends For 2021

April 9, 2021
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With social media becoming such a prominent part of our daily lives, it’s no surprise we’ve seen a significant rise in influencer marketing in recent years, and it’s set to continue to increase in 2021. Influencer and Celebrity association should not be an option. It should be part of every company’s marketing plan. In today’s world celebrities and influencers dominate social media, news headlines, TV channels and people’s conversations, with influencers and celebrities gracing the web and getting a stronger online presence than ever through their social media following. Using social media as their online currency, brands can be made or broken through as little as a tweet or a social media post. Here are tips on how to contact celebrities and influencers .

To help you get ahead of the curve, we’ve put together 21 influencer marketing trends you should know for 2021.

1) The importance of adapting to the current climate and giving back to followers

One thing is certain and that is COVID19 has caused people to spend longer engaging on social media than ever before. According to data from Kantar, social media engagement  has increased by 61 percent over normal usage rates. The use of video platforms is also increasing, and we are seeing influencers and celebrities utilising platforms like Instagram Live to entertain and connect with their audiences. Just in March, TikTok saw 6.2 million downloads, a 27 percent increase compared to February. This has been emphasised with influencers pivoting their content too, and the ones that have done well, are those that have tried to give back to their following, and offered support to followers through these very difficult times.  From Joe Wicks hosting daily PE classes and  Marcus Rashford who earlier in the summer wrote an open letter to the UK government calling on them to provide free school lunches for those children in need and to end UK child poverty. With so many parents out of work due to COVID-19 redundancies and furlough, so many are struggling financially right now, and Rashford’s voice acted as a catalyst for the UK government to do something. Helping to push this forward quicker, the UK government did then agree to providing free school meals during the holiday periods.

Anna Whitehouse (aka Mother Pukka) has also been a huge support to parents, she created a survey dedicated to parents and carers, giving them a space to share their current situations and challenges right now. Within 24 hours, 39,318 people responded expressing how overwhelmed and hard work it is to be a parent right now.

Influencers are really having to connect with their following on a much more personal level, and when discussing certain issues, it’s key to getting the message across, and also think how best they should shift their content as a result of COVID19, and also the tone . Here are 19 influencers who have used their influence positively through the pandemic. In terms of influencer marketing, brands and marketers can use this to their advantage when looking to target and promote their brand/product. Personalisation is all key when brands are looking to work with influencers, its important they find influencers that are relevant and personalise their message to them.

2 ) An Increase In The Use Of Audience Insights

First things first, it’s hugely important to understand what audience insights are and how they work. Audience Insights allow brands and marketers to view information, demographics, audience engagement, and learn how to target audiences for the optimal result. Elly Stancliffe, CEO of The Handbook, commented “Through our site we’ve seen a huge increase in brands coming to our site and searching for influencers depending on their audience engagement and insights.”

With the emergence of this new type of marketing, technology has been developed by The Handbook celebrity and influencer platform to improve the effect and reach of influencers. The Handbook is incredibly sophisticated in matching brands to influencers, and also in using advanced technology and algorithms to match brands and celebrities and to give detailed audience insights including audience interests, size, engagement rate and social activity. People come to our site for influencers’ insights now almost as much as celebrities. As well as providing the influencers’ contact details, users are now equally interested in the demographic data which allows companies to determine the influencers that are right for their brand. You might think a set influencer is perfectly suited to your business, but actually what is key is how relevant their audience is to you, so, providing the user with clear data on the interests of the audience, their location, their spending habits and social status is of equal importance.

It isn’t just brands and marketers who are looking into audience insights either. Influencers are spending more time examining their own audience insights and are looking more closely at brands who fit with their ideals and audience. 

3) Instagram Will Continue To Shine As The Favoured Influencer Platform

With reports showing that the Instagram industry is now at least worth a staggering 1.7 billion dollars and that it’s still dramatically rising, there’s no denying Instagram will continue to strive as the most successful social media platform for influencer marketing and that it will remain the leading platform to showcase brand partnerships with influencers and micro-influencers. Since launching in 2010, it’s rapid growth is showing no sign of slowing down anytime soon with last year’s data showing the platform to having over 500M daily users. It’s still by far the greatest platform to showcase partnerships between brands and influencers.

4) Branching Into New Social Media Platforms 

Of course, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube will be ever prevalent in the coming years, but in 2019 we started to see the rise of a couple of new social networking platforms. Similar to YouTube on first glance, Twitch is a platform that allows influencers to live stream videos. The overall aim appears to be helping to bring a sense of community among its audiences and users. Like any social platform, it’s a great place to venture into influencer marketing for brands and express your values in a more community focused sense.

5) The Rise Of TikTok

While Instagram will remain the most prevalent social media platform throughout 2020, 2019 did see the rise of a new social networking platform called TikTok, and it certainly feels as though it’s here to stay and become its own platform which will allow brands will work with influencers.

When scrolling on their mobile phones, users are ultimately searching for bite-size content that’s easy to watch, consume and accessible to share with friends, and that’s exactly where TikTok comes in. The video-sharing platform’s popularity is set to increase and it’s an incredibly easy way for brands to showcase their brands values and message in a simple matter of seconds. Huge brands and organisations have seen their hashtags used by millions of individuals and influencers, like the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ #ForClimate hashtag, helping to draw attention surrounding climate change issues.

6) Understanding Brand Awareness Is Integral For Targeting Influencers 

This one seems obvious but brands and marketers are still continuing to get it wrong. With The Handbook’s Celebrity and Influencer platform, brands and marketers can easily search celebrities with regards to their interests and social media presence, whether it’s their passion for food and drink, or their health and wellbeing influences. Through this, brands can understand which influencers are best fit to their brand values and identity.

7) Understanding Brand Loyalty

Following on from understanding brand awareness, it’s important to learn the ins and outs of brand loyalty and authenticity. Researching the right influencer or micro-celebrity for your brand is hugely important in communicating your brand values through the content being produced. It’s also hugely important for those consuming the advertising. Consumers are quick witted and know when a partnership isn’t genuine so it’s integral to understand what both you as a brand and the influencer want from the partnership, and to choose wisely when sourcing and building these partnerships.

8) Influencer Platforms Will Be The Main Tool For Running Brand Campaigns 

Influencer platforms help to encourage the engagement in influencer marketing. The Handbook’s Celebrity and Influencer platform provides an easy tool for brands and marketers to find the right influencers that will help elevate their brand values, as well as helping brands to understand individual influencers and their audience engagements and relationships.

9) Increase In Video Content And Mobile Accessible Channels For Marketing

Audiences engage with influencers largely through their mobile phones and social media, and it’s becoming more and more popular for influencers to create video content and podcasts. These channels form a new way of storytelling and help to engage on a deeper level with audiences, and it’s said that these channels will become a new way to encourage influencer marketing, whether that’s through sponsorships, partnerships or gifting.

10) CGI Influencers Will Become More Popular

Believe it or not, there’s a new type of influencer on the rise and they’re in the form of CGI influencers (computer generated influencers). While it might sound a little strange, and back in 2018 Time Magazine named @lilmiquela as one of the most influential people on the internet. Which is also a little strange because after all, she’s just a digital figure. Either way, her engagement rate is through the roof and both herself and other CGI influencers are on the rise and it’s opening up new possibilities in terms of marketing and brand partnerships.

11) Public Relations Set To Drive Influencer Marketing Strategies  

The role of public relations will increase and help drive those managing influencers to meet the reality and expectations of potential brands and clients looking to promote and work with influencers via social media. They’re also hugely important in helping to establish and reaffirm the brand’s reputation, helping to promote an ideal portrayal of their client on social media sites.

12) The increase Of Influencers Over Celebrities In Smaller Influencer Marketing Campaigns 

The line between a celebrity and an influencer is continually being blurred, but when it comes to influencer marketing campaigns it’s important to know who to target. While a celebrity like Kylie Jenner may have over 150 million followers, brands pay thousands of pounds in the hope of getting just a standard Instagram post. So if you’re starting out in influencer marketing, targeting these bigger celebrities is slightly ambitious and not always worthwhile. In 2020, we’ll start to see brands targeting micro-influencers with a smaller following, but one that’s authentic and dedicated, as it’s more beneficial in terms of marketing and budget. Here are tips on how to contact celebrities and influencers.

13) The Rise Of The Micro-Influencer 

Of course, there’s no denying major celebrities are still held up on a pedestal and hugely beneficial for major brands and collaborations, but those starting on the influencer marketing path shouldn’t shy away from micro-celebrities and micro-influencers either. In a lot of cases, micro-influencers have a higher response and engagement rate than macro influencers and major celebrities, as well as the cost of working with the individual being considerably lower as both the brand and influencer are trying to gain more traction to their personal brands. 2020 will see a rise in brands and marketers volumising on this trend. Smaller brands attempt to target influencers via influencer gifting which is on the up.

14) Employees Are Being Encouraged To Become Influencers

Another trend we didn’t see coming way the introduction of businesses encouraging their employees to become influencers, and it’s become an easy way for brands to promote their brand values and products. The employees will already understand the brands values, ideals and practices so it’s an authentic way to promote these to audiences on social media. Brands such as Modcloth and Macys.com are great examples of this. Modcloth has a series under the #modclothsquad hashtag in which staff model their products and it ultimately allows their consumers to see a ‘real’ view of what their product range looks like. Meanwhile, Macys.com has employees have self-promoted themselves as influencers or brand ambassadors in order to promote the brand.

15) Brands And Influencers Will Begin To Work Together On Longer Partnerships

2019 saw a rise in this with many YouTubers and influencers working with brands largely on a partnership basis, rather than a campaign by campaign system. YouTubers like Estée Lalonde and Helen Anderson are other prime examples of this, as they’ve been building these stronger connections and partnerships. Audience engagement exiles rather than diminishes as influencers can begin to layer in their authenticity and brand identity more easily. It’s also a lot less hassle in the long run for brands and marketers as they can channel their energy into creating authentic brand values through the longer term marketing.

16) Advancements In AI And Augmented Reality 

Over the last few years, we’ve seen a huge increase in AI and AR advancements and in 2020, this will only increase. These advancements allow brands to understand their customers more thoroughly through the buying process and can target them more effectively.

17) The Use Of Advocates

Only a few brands are already enforcing a customer advocate system, but it’s likely that this customer system will increase in the following months. While it’s great to work with influencers and celebrities who can help promote products and brands on viral scales, a few brands have delved out and have started using their customers as a way of promoting products. Customers largely know about the products and brands on a more in-depth scale and, while they may not have huge followings or even social engagements, having customer advocates helps to create an online presence surrounding the brands identity and will ultimately help promote their products.

18) A Merging Of Content Marketing And Social Media Marketing

Many companies and brands are starting to delve away from the content marketing side of things and have begun largely focusing on social media marketing. Using both of these can help drive the campaign and impact of the engagement and outcome further. Content marketing will, of course, still exist but throughout 2020, we’ll see that it’s being intertwined through promotion on social media accounts to help increase the overall reach.

19) Driving Organic Engagement  

Following on from these longer brand-to-influencer partnerships, these help to drive organic engagement from influencers pages to brands websites and profiles too. Many brands themselves are starting to pivot their focus to coincide with the ‘stay home’ message.

Beauty influencers are adapting their content to coincide with products from at-home beauty regimes to makeup tips. A great way to get your product and brand seen is through influencer gifting. Alternatively, other brands are helping to drive their engagement through competitions and contests on influencers profiles. Redken recently partnered with Klaudia Kedziora in a small giveaway, while Melaine Murphy partnered with the Beaumont Heroes Appeal in the hope that her online community can help raise as many funds as possible to give back to the medical staff fighting and risking their lives on the frontline, whether it’s a warming coffee or a nourishing lunch to boost them through their shifts. All she’s asking is for her community to donate €10 using the link on her Instagram, comment ‘donated’ and tag a friend, and they’ll be in with the chance of winning a €500 ASOS voucher.

20) GEO Targeting Is Set To Rise 

Local targeting works great for brands and businesses looking to promote their services on a smaller, more local scale. By geo-tagging in posts and stories, it naturally brings local audiences to the post without you having to do any extra work and helps your brand target the right audiences.

21) Stronger Regulations In Influencer Marketing

Following the social media endorsements issued by the government in early 2019, it was made clear that influencers, bloggers, vloggers and celebrities must state whether a product, brand or service is endorsed or linked in a particular way. Which is why influencers nowadays have to quote if the product or brand is gifted or gifting, or if it’s on a sponsored partnership.

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