Influencer marketing in 2021: 5 influential trends

A new year has begun and if there is a year in which we would like to look ahead, it is 2021. ‘Influencer marketing will be bigger than ever in 2021,’ headlines Later. That sounds promising and like something you should invest in, right? But which influencer marketing aspects require your attention? Where is the focus this year? In short, what are the trends for 2021?

The pandemic has affected the way we use social media and how we view influencers. From the National Social Media Research it appears that the number of Dutch people aged 15 or older who are active on social media has increased from 13.5 million to 13.7 million in the past year. And we mainly use social media to make connections with others now that we are ‘locked up’ at home.

This also applies to connections with influencers. Recognizability is the keyword here. We want to see real people living in the same reality as we do. So no superficial pictures or people with an excessive lifestyle. We want genuine content and interaction and as a result the following influencer marketing trends require our attention.

1. More collaborations with micro and nano influencers

The demand for micro and nano influencers is growing, as more and more brands recognize the value of these influencers. Micro and nano influencers have higher engagement rate compared to mega-influencers, because it is more manageable for them to respond to the reactions of followers. Because of that interaction, they usually have a better relationship with their audience. As a result, they know much better what is going on with them and can respond to this with sponsored messages.

In addition, as a brand you reach your target group better via such an influencer, because the target group is less broad. Collaboration is also cheaper (with some exceptions) than with a mega influencer. This is an advantage, especially for companies that have to pay more attention to their budgets as a result of the corona crisis.

Tip: do you not have an unlimited budget or do you want to reach a specific target group? Then consider a collaboration with a micro or nano influencer. You can find these by following them via hashtags, via a platform for influencer marketing and there are also micro-influencers affiliated with an agency. Do you still want to reach a larger audience? Then choose a collaboration with multiple influencers.

2. Authenticity is the keyword

Authenticity has been a focus when it comes to influencer marketing for years. The pandemic has made this even more important as the perspective has shifted towards creating meaningful content.

Followers don’t mind a sponsored post in their timeline, as long as they feel the partnership is genuine and not just about the money. So you want to work with an influencer who fits your brand perfectly, who would promote it for free, as it were. If this is not the case and a collaboration comes out of the blue, so to speak, then the effect is counterproductive and your brand can be seen as a joke. There are countless examples of collaborations from the past that were a considerable mismatch, of which the one between Anna Nooshin and Shell in the Netherlands is perhaps the best known.

Tip: When choosing your influencer, do not pay too much attention to the number of followers someone has or how popular he or she is at the moment. Connect with your influencer and find out if he or she has the same values ​​as you and if there is enough interaction with the messages that are posted.

A focus on influencer fraud

The focus on influencer fraud is increasing. This is the case when the influencer’s audience consists partly of bots. Also fake followers. The influencer bought these fake followers to fake popularity.

The focus on this is increasing because budgets are increasing. Companies are enthusiastic and reluctant at the same time, because they don’t want to waste their money. Imagine that you choose to work with an influencer who has a hundred thousand followers. You pay him or her € 1,000 per message, but 40 percent of the followers are fake. Then you lose € 400 per message, because no more than sixty thousand followers will see the message, instead of the one hundred thousand that you pay for.

Tip: Follow the influencer of your choice for a while if you want to prevent influencer fraud and pay attention to the following signs:

  • Does anyone have an awful lot of followers, but very few posts?
  • Is there an extreme growth in followers, for no immediate reason (such as a television appearance)?
  • Is the interaction excessively high or low in relation to the number of followers?
  • Do you see a lot of messages with vague comments or irrelevant emoji?

Instagram regularly removes bots from the network and as a result you see an extreme drop in the number of followers. If you see this, be alert as there could be influencer fraud. Fortunately, you can also use online tools if you think this is too much work. With tools such as HypeAuditor , Social Blade in Heepsy you can analyze the data of influencers to prevent fraud.

4. Brand ambassadors for your campaign

Brand ambassadors are influencers who work with a specific brand for a longer period of time. They represent such a brand on social media and are more involved than ‘ordinary influencers’ and even contribute ideas about how the brand is presented. An example of a brand ambassador is Britt Scholte. She has been working for Nivea for some time and on her Instagram profile you can see several sponsored posts promoting Nivea products.

The focus on brand ambassadors is increasing, because the focus on authenticity is increasing. By using brand ambassadors your credibility increases, because if someone repeats a certain message, that person would mean it, right? It is important that there is a perfect match. The influencer and his or her audience must fit your brand. The influencer does not cooperate with the competitor or is in conflict with the values ​​and identity of the brand that he or she represents on their own channel.

Tip: In the search for your ideal brand ambassador, look at previous messages he or she has posted. Do they match your values ​​and what you want to convey as a brand? Yes? First choose a collaboration of a number of weeks and after a while determine, based on the results, whether this influencer is your ideal brand ambassador.

5. Choose video

Because of the pandemic, we spend our time on social media and we like to watch videos there. We watch them on TikTok, as well as on Instagram via Stories, IGTV and Reels. In addition, we still watch YouTube videos en masse. Even Facebook scores worldwide with video and the number of possibilities is growing with video platforms such as BitChute en Twitch that are emerging. That makes video a focus for 2021.

Video is perfect if you want to be discovered. For example, IGTV videos get a lot more visibility than photos on Instagram in the ‘Discover’ tab. The interaction with a video is often greater than with a simple message. A video is more often liked and shared. We love to watch makeup tutorials, fitness videos and funny content.

Brands are expected to make more use of video. A report from Cisco shows that 86 percent of all online content next year will be video.

Tip: Give video a try. You can show a lot in video, for example how you use your product or give a look behind the scenes. It is accessible and you can make a connection with your audience much better. Also through an influencer. Discuss your wishes and possibilities and let your influencer promote your brand in a way that suits him or her and his or her audience.

En TikTok dan?

It has already been mentioned: TikTok. This list cannot live without it, because TikTok is growing enormously. Experts expect that more and more brands will advertise on this via influencers and Instagram influencers also share content on TikTok, because they want to keep up with the times.

Does this mean you should invest in TikTok? The answer to that question depends on who your target audience is. TikTok is currently extremely popular among young people. Children between the ages of 12 and 19 in particular make massive use of this platform. Although the National Social Media survey shows that the use of TikTok in the 20-24 age group has increased in the past year from 110 thousand to 360 thousand users. In total, the number of TikTokkers is currently relatively low (1.7 million) compared to Facebook (10.4 million), YouTube (9.1 million), Instagram (5.9 million) and LinkedIn (5.0 million).

Tip: Look at your target audience. Are they active on TikTok? Then this platform is for you. However, does your target group consist of people over 24 years old? Then you better wait with TikTok and advertise on the platforms where they are present in larger numbers, such as Instagram, YouTube or maybe even LinkedIn.

Influencer marketing KPIs

Credibility and making a connection with your target audience is the starting point of these trends for influencer marketing. The need for this has increased during the pandemic and will remain for some time the longer it lasts. It may be obvious, but I’ll say it anyway: marketing is always about responding to the needs of your audience. That is why influencer marketing focuses on all activities that achieve this.

Marketers have not started to look at influencer marketing differently because of the corona crisis. Implementation has changed somewhat due to many restrictive measures. This can have a positive effect on the authenticity, because less perfectly styled photos are taken in studios or beautiful places.

Before you get started, determine your goals and KPIs, so that your campaign is a success!

Source: Frankwatching by

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