Through the liking-glass: predicting the future of influencer marketing

Influencer marketing as we know it has been around for well over a decade now, first emerging around 2009 when YouTube and blogging really took off.

Since then, it has evolved from a niche marketing strategy to the hugely important part of digital marketing it is today.

While people often debate the longevity of influencer careers, there’s no doubt that this form of marketing is going nowhere. It’s a billion-dollar industry, and it continues to grow every year with new and exciting platforms and creators popping up everywhere you look.

With that in mind, here are some of our predictions for the future of influencer marketing.

Rise of micro-influencers

There was a time when a select handful of the biggest influencers were the only ones making money from their YouTube or Instagram platforms. From a brand’s point of view, the more followers and higher engagement, the better.

Today, we’re seeing a huge increase in brands using micro-influencers. Many marketers have realised that a smaller, niche audience that is a perfect fit for their brand can be a better, more cost-effective use of their budget than huge celebrity influencers.

While the top bloggers may have an audience of millions, they won’t necessarily have the same engagement rate that smaller accounts have. As influencer marketing evolves, we can see micro-influencers becoming more and more important to brand strategy.

Emergence of CGI influencers

Thanks to fast-fashion brand Petty Little Thing, we’ve already seen the launch of CGI models on mainstream ecommerce websites. So what about CGI influencers?

With the technology available, and an increased interest in virtual reality and artificial intelligence in marketing, some tech-savvy teams are creating CGI influencers who look, talk and act like real people.

While this kind of technology comes with a myriad of ethical questions, that doesn’t mean we won’t see it become a normal aspect of social media in the future.

Authenticity over perfection

An interesting shift has happened on social media since influencer marketing first hit our screens. In the early days, Instagram and YouTube were all about creating a constant stream of beautifully curated content with aesthetics at the core.

Today, we’re seeing influencers shift from this unrealistic view of perfection. Instead of perfectly curated Instagram feeds, we’re enjoying more in-the-moment content via Stories and vlogs.

One of the reasons influencer marketing became so popular in the first place is because it felt like an authentic way to showcase products, so this shift away from perfection has been welcomed by creators, brands, and audiences alike.

Goodbye photo, hello video

It’s no secret that video is the king of content at the moment. With Instagram pushing it’s Reels feature over images, many creators are having to rethink their content strategies to include more video than ever.

With more brands sponsoring video content than ever, this is a trend we don’t see slowing down anytime soon.

More long-term partnerships

In the past, many brands would pay influencers for a one-off blog post, YouTube video, or Instagram post to promote their latest campaign or product release.

These days, brands tend to build stronger relationships with influencers and pay for long-term coverage and support. These partnerships could include a certain amount of posts per month, a number of videos a year, or package deals where influencers are given a budget to purchase products each month to share across their content.

These long-term partnerships often provide better outcomes for the brand with consistent coverage, so we think they will become more and more popular in coming years.

The benefits of influencer marketing

If you’re not already utilising an influencer marketing strategy, it might be time to consider one. If you’re still not convinced, here are some of the biggest benefits.

Build brand awareness authentically

It’s well-regarded that influencer marketing is more authentic than typical advertising. Most influencers only promote products they genuinely use and enjoy, because their audience comes to them for real recommendations and advice.

By working with influencers who are already fans of your company, you can utilise their audience to build brand awareness in an authentic and organic way.

Increase reach and drive website traffic

Whether you work with micro-influencers with 10,000 followers, or YouTube celebrities with 3.5 million – influencer marketing is a brilliant way to reach a lot of potential new customers.

By providing their audience with links to your website, you might be shocked at how much traffic they’ll drive.

Improve your image and grow trust

The key is in the name – influencer marketing. Many content creators have incredible influence over their audiences, and are considered experts in their respective niches. Whether it’s fashion, food and drink, or technology – many people look to their favourite influencers for their thoughts and opinions on all the latest products.

If an influencer speaks positively about your brand, it’s a great way to improve your image and build trust amongst their followers. By building partnerships with influencers, you can ensure your online presence is a positive one.

It’s clear that in 2022 and beyond, influencer marketing is going nowhere. If you haven’t started building relationships and allocating budget to influencers, now is a good time to start.

If you’d like to talk about how we could help you incorporate influencer marketing into your strategy and start promoting your brand authentically, drop us a line and let’s chat.

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