For years, brands large and small have been benefiting from influencer marketing, but with a lot of speculation about how influences will continue to evolve, you might be wondering what 2021 holds. Influencer marketing isn’t new, but it is susceptible to social media trends, which means what’s most effective and who maintains their platform can change.
That’s why it’s important to keep your finger on the pulse and understand what’s most effective for influencer marketing now and how you can best leverage that to grow your business. Before you invest money into influencer marketing, make sure you have a good idea of your goals, define what types of influencers you want to work with, and have a plan for your brand.
To help you start this year off on the right foot, we’ve put together some solid advice for brands that want to use influencers in their 2021 marketing strategy.
Tips for Leveraging Influencer Marketing in 2021
First, it’s important to figure out your plan for influencer marketing—how much will you spend, what platforms do you want to focus on, what demographic you want to target, etc.
Videos Will Be Key
Video is king right now when it comes to social media content and is only going to continue to dominate into the next year. Over the last few years, we’ve seen video start to take over across all social media channels. While YouTube was the original video platform, the focus of the algorithm has shifted to video and so has user interest.
In a recent survey by Biteable, 74% of marketers say video has a better return on investment than static imagery. So, when it comes to influencer marketing, video should be your top priority.
One thing to consider with this movement to more video content in 2021 is that you will likely have to pay influencers more for this type of content. This is because it’s often more involved and, at this point, it’s more valuable. If you’re going to push video content with a limited budget, make sure to prioritize your key products or services.
Focus on Relevant Platforms
Not every influencer has mastered every platform. Even if they have profiles and actively post across all platforms, they might not have the same following or reach. This is an important factor to consider because certain platforms are better for different demographics.
It’s also important to consider which platforms are growing and which are becoming stagnant—take Instagram vs. TikTok for marketing to Gen Z for instance. That’s not to say that Instagram isn’t a good place to have your brand represented, it just might not be the most lucrative if you have limited spending.
It’s also worth mentioning that, according to Statista, as of July 2020, U.S. influencers on TikTok had an average engagement rate of 17.99%.
Finding the Right Influencers to Work within 2021
Once you have a plan of action, you just need to find the right influencers to work with.
Make Sure You’re Reaching Your Target Audience
There are influencers of all ages, demographics, and specialties, which means you have the opportunity to find someone who is able to reach your target options. With virtually limitless options, it’s a good idea to take the time to ensure your influencer marketing budget is being put to good use with influencers who actually have access to and resonate with your target audience.
Above and beyond researching their image, other content they promote, and who they’re targeting, you can use an engagement rate calculator. With this calculator, you can go above and beyond follower count and see just how effective their platform is.
Vet Influencers Before Working with Them
A variety of brands have made the misstep of working with influencers who have harmful histories. When major faux pas occur or poor judgment is uncovered, there is a chance it could hurt your brand. And, while pulling out of a marketing relationship with an influencer is reasonable damage control, it’s best to try to avoid working with problematic figures altogether.
But if all you have to work with is information that’s public, how can you thoroughly vet them? Before signing a deal, you should:
Do a full sweep of all their social media profiles, going back several years to see if anything raises red flags. While this is a bit time-consuming, it’s better to prevent a major scandal if possible, than have to clean up the mess afterward.
Run an identity check to get background information on them that you wouldn’t be able to confirm otherwise. You will need to get their permission to run the background check, but once you do, you’ll be able to review their criminal records and other pertinent information.
Character and shared values are more important than ever to consumers, so it’s worthwhile to do your due diligence when forming partnerships.
Work with Influencers Who Match Your Brand
Just because an influencer is well-loved doesn’t mean they’re a good fit for your brand. You should be thinking about what they represent, the type of content they create, the other brands they work with, and more. Making sure you work with influencers who align with your brand will make the messaging more effective and help to ensure your product or service is being presented to an audience who would likely be interested in it.
We’re not saying you can’t collaborate with a makeup influencer if your product isn’t cosmetics or skincare related, but we are saying that making sure their style, interests, lifestyle, or personality is suited to your brand. Influencers across all industries partner with companies that have little to do with their primary content focus, but with the micro-influencers for example, you’ve probably going to fare better if you align with someone who already focuses in your vertical.
Take Your Influence Marketing Initiative to the Next Level
Influencer marketing is a powerful tool in any digital marketing strategy in 2021. And now, you can apply this advice when figuring out how you’re going to implement this new marketing element. Of course, every brand is different, but hopefully, these tips will help you make your first influencer partnerships of 2021 get off to a smooth start.
Alexis Maness has a Bachelor of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications and is a contributing editor for 365businesstips.com. As a professional content writer, she has over five years of experience and is a contributing writer for several San Diego magazines. Alexis specializes in topics related to business, marketing, finance, and hospitality, and tourism.
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