After a tough and uncertain 2020, the New Year brings fresh hopes for all professionals, and influencers and bloggers aren’t an exception. The pandemic threw brand budgets off-balance, and influencers bore the brunt of the situation. While sponsored posts witnessed a downturn, commercial photo-shoots weren’t viable due to social distancing. The initial half was disappointing, but influencers and bloggers quickly picked the cue and recovered from the setback by prioritising authentic content as the mainstay of their strategy.
The pandemic also has a silver lining as brands transitioned to online channels, specifically social media, to stay connected with the audience. Things seem brighter for influencer marketing in the New Year, as there are more opportunities to grow and collaborate with brands, but one needs to take the right approach.
Let us highlight what 2021 holds in store for influencers and bloggers to secure the best opportunities this year.
Global influencer marketing spend is poised to grow exponentially
Even in the post-pandemic world, brands are likely to gravitate towards online marketing channels. Among the digital marketing strategies to grow brand outreach, influencer marketing emerges as a game-changer. Influencer marketing spend is all set to grow exponentially this year. Although the growth was slow in 2020, the industry will make up because marketing teams have understood its efficiency in the era when authentic content and genuine collaborations matter the most.
Micro-influencers can expect a great year ahead
2021 will be the year of micro and nano-influencers, the ones who are much-loved because the content they create has a “human” quality that resonates with followers. Since there aren’t marketing professionals creating content for them or managing their accounts, these professionals sound more authentic and appealing to the audience and brands alike. Moreover, they come with small yet targeted follower bases that enable brands to make their campaigns laser-focused.
Niche-specific bloggers will also lead the way
The New Year also augurs well for niche-specific bloggers, as they can make campaigns more targeted and attract the audience that brands want to target. Roping in the niche-favourites makes sense for businesses because it focuses their spending only where it matters.
Brands will, therefore, focus more on bloggers who have their hold in specific niches.
Influencers can expect more control over their content
Another reason why 2021 bodes well for influencers and bloggers is that they can expect more control over their content and posts now. Since authenticity is the magic word for marketers now, brands will let influencers stay true to the audience instead of promoting the brand. Real, unfiltered, and unedited pieces are more likely to attract attention and win the trust of the consumers. In short, perfectionism is passé!
Power of User Generated Content
While micro-influencers and unfiltered posts expect a good year ahead, the consumer is also poised to emerge as a winner. In fact, brands are experiencing a major shift in their mindset, from high-end celebrities to smaller micro-influencers to consumers who are the new voice for brands on social media. The growing social media exposure has a significant role in this shift, as even regular consumers are actively sharing reviews and recommendations on brands through their posts and stories.
This user-generated content makes a huge difference to the credibility of brands, and can even drive sales through word-of-mouth.
Retained campaigns will be a norm
Influencers and bloggers have another reason to celebrate because the strategy is no longer going to have an on-off status this year. Brands will on-board influencers for the long haul as they aim to boost attention, loyalty, and trust. For brands, collaborations will boil down to performance-based influencer marketing, so the ones who drive ROI will stay for good.
Overall, 2021 seems to have lots of good things in store for influencers and bloggers, particularly for the ones with a small yet targeted following. Moreover, the focus on genuine content that connects with the audience is poised to emerge as the real winner.
A London based Influencer and Marketing Expert, Archana is an Exec MBA from Warwick Business School, UK.
She is an Integrated marketing strategist with 15 years of agency, freelance and in-house experience working on brands, content strategy, marketing automation, workshops, employee engagement, consumer psychology and customer journeys, across a wide range of channels and industries, for both B2B & B2C organizations.