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The Future of Influencer Marketing: 8 Trends to Watch

April 24, 2022
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Influencers are like modern marketing currency. With incredible cultural and consumer sway, their involvement can practically guarantee thousands of watchers or listeners. To attract customers, your business should let these social media stars light the way.  

Curious about how to harness the marketing power of influencers? Keep reading for our trends guide on influencer marketing in the future, from organic TikTok content to niche celebrities.

#1 Hyper Focusing on Niche Influencers

Once upon a time, “influencer” meant accounts with followers in the millions. Now, a virtual influencer could apply to anyone with over a few thousand followers—and these niche accounts are key when it comes to social media for business tips

The rise of social media has led to an array of influencers, everything from TikTok comedians to Instagram models. This immense content growth and diversification has led to many smaller yet “specialized” audiences”, creating a great influencer marketing opportunity. Typically, influencers are categorized into these size labels:1 

  • Nano – 0 to 10k followers
  • Micro – 10k to 100k followers
  • Mid – 100k to 500k followers
  • Macro – 500k to 1M followers
  • Mega-Macro – 1M+ followers

So, why does the future of influencer marketing belong to the micro or nano-influencer? 

First, smaller influencers are typically more accessible and affordable for marketers. 

Second, smaller accounts have better social media engagement —a priority for any social media marketer. According to the Later and Fohr Influencer Marketing Report, Instagram nano-influencers had a higher engagement rate than macro-influencers.2 

Third, these smaller accounts usually have niche followings with tailored demographics. Pick the right influencer, and you can access a valuable customer base.
influencer marketing services

#2 Creators Who Make Waves Across Multiple Platforms

In the past, influencers may stick to their favorite platforms, growing their fanbase on one channel at a time. 

But today, influencers are opening shops across all platforms—and marketers should take notice.

Influencers have figured out that the more platforms they utilize, the wider net they cast—and they take their audience with them from channel-to-channel. Users likely follow a social media influencer  across multiple accounts. The average millennial or Gen Z-er has 8.4 social media accounts across a variety of social platforms, meaning more chances to view influencer content.<sup<3  

To catch as many eyes and ears as possible, seek forward-thinking influencers who post across the most viable platforms, including:

  • Instagram – Today and tomorrow Instagram reigns over social media marketing. 90% of influencer marketing campaigns use Instagram,4 and 46% of influencer marketers say Instagram is their primary channel.5 In particular, Instagram has incredible ROI for influencer marketing, jumping from 82% in sales over last year.6
  • TikTok – The new kid in town, TikTok is an exciting landscape. Tiktok has grown from 65 million users to over 1 billion users in the last five years. Even better? TikTok has significantly higher influencer engagement rates than other platforms.8
  • Youtube – Above all, Youtube proves that influencers are the new “celebrity.” About 70% of teen subscribers say they relate to Youtube creators more than pop culture icons.9 Meanwhile, 60% of all subscribers said they’d prefer advice on what to buy from creators over celebrities.

#3 Playing the Long Game with Long-Term Partnerships

Forget one-and-done flings with brands. In 2022, influencer marketing is all about forming lasting relationships.

To social media users, recognizability  and authenticity are more important than ever. Seeing a social media influencer recommend the same product over time reads as loyal, sincere, and genuine. It reinforces the impression that the influencer believes in the brand, becoming a credible user who can speak about the company’s services and offerings and swaying their followers to give it a try.

By presenting influencers with a “package deal,” you can build this consumer trust and help your team:

  • Reduce marketing campaign time
  • Increase post frequency
  • Build recognizable branding
  • Target desirable consumers

Consider all influencer marketing campaigns like a true partnership— each wants to give the best to one another. While you need their powerful voice, they need a reliable investor. This symbiotic relationship can pave the way for marketing success whatever the future holds. 

#4 Authenticity Over Perfection

Formal language, forced cheeriness, filtered and heavily edited photos—all of these things scream “fake,” or, worse, “salesy.” 

For a successful influencer marketing campaign, you need authenticity.

In 2022, consumers have more influencers and brands than ever to follow. As a result, they’re seeking real and genuine voices, with about 90% of consumers reporting authenticity helps determine their brand choices.10 

Not sure where to look? Look for these qualities when picking an influencer that’s authentic to your business:

  • Relatable, guiding, or inspirational tone
  • High follower interaction
  • Similar values to your company
  • Organic & up-to-date content
  • Matching aesthetic to your brand
  • Unique voice and authentic sense of self

#5 Focus on Video & Audio Content

A cute selfie with a caption? That’s good. A video clip? That will get some attention. 

Over the past few years, social media platforms have expanded to include video content—and for good reason. About 72% of people prefer watching videos over reading text, and experts estimate that videos will take over 82% of internet traffic by the end of this year.11 As influencers and followers gravitate towards popular video and audio formats, it is important that marketers follow with the help of social media management

However, not all A/V content is created equal. Focus on influencers that post in high-demand formats, including:

  • Short-form video – If you have to pick one influencer, make it a short-form video content creator. As TikTok and Instagram Reels have rocketed to popularity, daily smartphone video consumption has increased by 40%.11 Younger viewers also gravitate towards short-form videos, which is why it is important to understand, ‘what is hook rate success’ and how influencers can support that. 
  • Podcasts – No, they’re not exactly visually stimulating. But podcasts often carry loyal fanbases that consistently tune in. On average, podcast listeners finish 80% of an episode (a whopping 39 minutes of attention).8 Make sure to pick a podcaster that matches your company’s branding and product, since their voice will be your only tool.
  • Live video – For influencer marketing, over one-quarter of marketers are shifting priorities to live streaming retail on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitch.12 Consumers love live streaming, with 82% preferring live video content over a social media post from brands.13 Livestreaming also provides a unique opportunity for authentic, real-time content. Even better? ROI is very measurable on live streaming, helping your team assess your campaign’s success.

#6 Search the Marketplace

An influencer marketplace acts like an interactive database for all verified platform users. With just a few clicks, you can find an influencer that reaches your desired consumer and embodies your brand. In particular, TikTok has taken the lead in  bridging influencers and brands through its  Creator Marketplace. Their database includes relevant content creator information like:

  • Total likes & followers
  • Influencer location & reach
  • Content topic
  • Follower demographics
  • Suggested post rates

While TikTok’s marketplace is best known, other apps are catching onto this lucrative trend. Instagram has a creator marketplace  in the works, and Sephora just launched their very own beauty guru database called #SephoraSquad. 

Keep an eye out for more marketplaces launching this year. 

#7 Seek User-Generated Content

As consumers seek a trustworthy voice across influencers, they’re turning to firsthand reviews and recommendations—a.k.a., user-generated content or UGC.

The magic of UGC is in its (you guessed it) authenticity. It looks like the creator inspired the post, not your marketing campaign.

User-generated content includes all creator-made content that discusses a product. For most campaigns, this covers:

  • Photos
  • Videos
  • Text & captions
  • Reviews

In a world full of product reviews and “Buy or Skip” guides, user-generated content from influencers fits seamlessly across social media. That’s why about 86% of marketers use UGC in their campaigns.1 For the most authentic UGC campaign, seek out influencers that create original content on their own. That way, self-made sponsored content won’t seem out of context.

#8 Budget Expectations for Future Influencers

It’s hard to tell what came first, the influencer or the marketing campaign. Either way, influencer marketing is booming—which means campaigns need to watch their money.

In the last five years,7 influencer marketing has grown from a $1.7 billion to a $10.24 billion industry.12 Despite this immense growth (and some incredible influencer ROI), don’t let your investments run crazy. A budget is necessary for any influencer marketing campaign.

Currently, influencer marketing is a case-by-case ordeal. Every influencer has their personal rates, which vary greatly according to follower numbers and impact. For a single Instagram post, you can expect these average prices:

  • Nano – $10 to $100
  • Micro – $100 to $500
  • Mid – $500 to $5,000
  • Macro – $5,000 to $10,000
  • Mega – $10,000 or more

Often, campaigns will set a total price for a package deal—$2,000 for five photos in a month, $1,500 for two videos, etc. Before entering negotiations, come ready with an informed and industry-appropriate price for any influencer.

Let PDM Influence Your Marketing Strategy for Today and Tomorrow

Influencers and social media are still uncharted, promising territories for marketers. But that’s what makes them so exciting! With our influencer marketing tips, you can find that perfect posting partner to elevate your campaign on your social media platform. 

Want to elevate the rest of your marketing campaigns? Power Digital Media can take you there.

From web development to email marketing, our digital marketing agency has the tools to reshape your entire online advertising strategy. Call on our experts for the data-backed, experienced, and innovative voice your marketing team needs. No matter the problem, our influencer agency will find a powerful solution.

 

Sources:

  1. Later and Fohr. The Selling Power of Influencer. https://get.later.com/influencer-marketing-report-selling-power/
  2. BackLinkO. Social Network Usage & Growth Statistics: How Many People Use Social Media in 2022? https://backlinko.com/social-media-users
  3. Influencer Marketing Hub. The State of Influencer Marketing 2020: Benchmark Report.  https://influencermarketinghub.com/influencer-marketing-benchmark-report-2020/
  4. Shopify. The ROI of Influencer Marketing: How to Measure. https://www.shopify.com/enterprise/roi-influencer-marketing
  5. MarTech Series. Key Trends in Influencer Marketing in 2022. https://martechseries.com/mts-insights/guest-authors/key-trends-in-influencer-marketing-in-2022/
  6. Business of Apps. TikTok Revenue and Usage Statistics (2022). https://www.businessofapps.com/data/tik-tok-statistics/
  7. Influencer Marketing Hub. The State of Influencer Marketing 2022: Benchmark Report.  https://influencermarketinghub.com/influencer-marketing-benchmark-report/
  8. Adage. Why podcasters are essential to your influencer marketing efforts. https://adage.com/article/adresults/why-podcasters-are-essential-your-influencer-marketing-efforts/2326286
  9. Think With Google. Why YouTube stars are more influential than celebrities. https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/marketing-strategies/video/youtube-stars-influence/
  10. Social Blue. Why user-generated content should be a part of your brand strategy. https://socialblue.com/why-user-generated-content-should-be-a-part-of-your-brand-strategy/
  11. Digital Information World. Consumers have shifted from big-screens to mobile, the time spent on video streaming apps hit 935 billion hours in the year 2020.  https://www.digitalinformationworld.com/2021/02/consumers-have-shifted-from-big-screens.html
  12. Influencer Marketing Hub. 18 Influencer Marketing Trends to Watch in 2022. https://influencermarketinghub.com/influencer-marketing-trends/
  13. Vimeo. Live Video Stats: What Consumers Want. https://livestream.com/blog/live-video-statistics-livestream

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