by Shane Barker
At first, when the pandemic hit, influencer sponsored content experienced a decrease from an average of 35% to 4% of all influencer publications.
Image via Launchmetrics
Businesses had to cut back on influencer marketing campaigns in a bid to reduce costs and not appear insensitive to the crisis.
However, several months later and things have started to pick up for both influencers and brands.
How is this?
There’s been an increase in content consumption with 87% of US consumers saying they’ve consumed more content during the pandemic. Other studies show that the number of social media users and the time they spend on these platforms has increased.
Now, this is great news for those wishing to implement influencer marketing in 2021. It presents an opportunity for you to activate influencers who can engage your audience with impactful messaging.
But how can your brand use influencer marketing to win in 2021?
In this article, we offer tips that will help your brand run successful influencer marketing campaigns come next year.
Excited to know what will work?
1. Partner with Niche Influencers
Niche influencers may not have the large follower numbers celebrities or mega-influencers have. But they have over time built an audience interested in what they say, and a high engagement rate.
They actively focus on specific areas and actively interact with their audience.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with partnering with celebrities or mega influencers if you have the budget for it. But dealing with them also has its risks.
They have lots of sponsored content from various brands and at some point, their audience may question their sincerity. On the other hand, partnering with a niche influencer exposes you to an audience that considers their content personal recommendations, even when sponsored.
However, in an age where bots can be followers and engagement faked, how do you find a genuine niche influencer?
Partner with audiences who advocate for your brands. You can also leverage talent agencies or tools that can help you find niche influencers for your brand.
2. Go for Long-Term Partnerships
Instead of partnering on a campaign by campaign basis with influencers, seek long-term partnerships.
And why is this?
Long-term partnerships with an influencer who matches your brand have numerous benefits, including:
Saves your time. You won’t need to find a new influencer every time you want to launch a campaign.
Creates authenticity and builds trust. Your target audience will consider genuine an influencer who endorses your brand with every campaign.
Access to evergreen content. A long-term influencer can regularly give you access to content you can share on your social media feeds, website, emails, etc.
Builds recall. With time, your target audience associates the influencer with your brand. They can post about your product with infographic timeline, which can lead to recall and increased purchase intent.
And how do you find the right influencer for a collaboration?
Track the performance of influencers you’ve worked with and identify those who deliver exceptional results. They should have the same values as your brand and create content that speaks to your audience.
Then, if the collaboration feels right for your brand, pitch to them the idea of a long-term collaboration.
3. Increase the Use of Video
Consumers in a 2020 study said they wanted to see more of how-to-tutorials, short-form videos, question-and-answer videos, among others.
Image via GlobalWebIndex
What does this increase in video consumption mean for your brand?
Embrace video marketing and request influencers you partner with to produce high-quality videos. Their videos should also target your audiences’ emotions and help them solve problems.
You can also venture into platforms like TikTok and Twitch that feature mostly video content and find an influencer to partner with. Then collaborate with them in producing entertaining and promotional content for your products or brand.
But don’t stop at that
Encourage the influencer to promote on platforms and features like YouTube, Instagram Reels, Stories on Facebook and Instagram, live streams, IGTV on Instagram, etc.
4. Leverage Data to Make Key Decisions
For your influencer marketing strategy to work, you need goals and metrics to help you track performance. You also need to track each influencer, the content they post, and how this contributes to your overall business goals.
But you can’t achieve this without the right marketing support tools. These are tools that can help you track content from influencers, the traffic they direct to your site, and conversions. This way, you can make influencer campaign decisions based on real metrics.
You can use influencer marketing platforms to handle campaign management, Google Analytics to track where users came from, and social media analytic tools to track engagement. You may also need a point-of-sale system to track promo code sales.
Note: Before choosing a platform, identify how it will help you collect data, and how this will help you optimize future influencer marketing campaigns.
While COVID-19 may have led to uncertainties about the future, your brand can still benefit from influencer marketing.
Recognize that consumers still need content from people they trust, then find an influencer who can rightfully represent your brand in long-term partnerships.
Need help planning your 2021 influencer marketing strategy? Get in touch and we can offer tips customized to your brand’s needs.