Due to Covid and people “staying home”, 2020 saw the greatest rise in the impact of online influencers, which has continued into 2021. During this period, most people worked and studied from home and were on their devices more frequently and for longer than ever before. With the high streets closed, consumers replaced window shopping with browsing on Instagram and other social media. Online shopping increased massively but people still craved a leisure shopping experience and influencers gladly filled this gap.
Take a look at five of the top influencer trends in 2020 and 2021:
2020 shone a light on what is really important to us in life. As a result of this people craved a genuine connection with their online influencers. Online relationships with our own friends and family became a priority so in our spare time we wanted to spend it on authentic social media feeds. We saw people follow fewer social media influencers but instead develop a deeper and more authentic connection with the content creators they continued to follow and engage with. For example, rather than follow a large number of influencers and mindlessly like their photos, they may instead have followed a fitness influencer and took part in their workouts and challenges, and regularly engaged with them.
“I think people are getting more keen to (sic) authenticity on social media now.” says Katie Corio, personal trainer and licensed sports nutritionist and influencer, “You look at social media, Instagram and YouTube, and you just see this highlight reel, this stream of like a perfect life and it’s just common human nature to subconsciously compare yourself to that and it’s not reality, it’s not. It’s just not it’s like that one photo that you saw took probably three hours to take in a thousand different clicks and ten filters and whatever and people are subconsciously comparing themselves and nitpicking things about each picture. And I want to be an advocate for social media influencer to break that cycle and really expose the down life as well and I think will gravitate towards that because in a sea of perfect they probably craze someone being more realistic and raw.”
As Tech Crunch report “Brands are emotions made physical. The clothes we wear, the media we consume, the devices we use — all signal not only to others what we value and see in ourselves, they also are a way to construct our very identities.”
2. Size doesn’t Matter
Following on from this, smaller, so-called microbloggers, have become more attractive to brands. Of course, digital talent with the biggest following is still able to demand a premium for their services. But marketing managers are recognising that the important interaction and authentic connection their potential market craves from influencers are more likely to be fulfilled with a smaller and more niche influencer. For marketers, this means they have to look at more than numbers when choosing talent for their campaigns, and for influencers, it means that those who genuinely post about a topic they’re passionate about- whether it be fitness, food, style, home decor, travel, days out, beauty or tech, will be recognised.
3. Activism in Marketing
Along with this difficult year cementing the importance of our friends and family, it’s also increased awareness of health issues, the amazing NHS, keyworkers, and other important issues. Influencers have long realised that “with great power comes great responsibility” and have always tried to speak up for important matters such as climate change, black lives matter, sustainability, veganism, and diversity and inclusivity. Brands have started to recognise this and now approach influencer networks and influencers for purpose-led campaign activities.
4. The Rise of TikTok
While TikTok is not the right platform for every influencer, there’s no denying the rise of TikTik- even if you’re not on TikTok you’ll be aware of TikTok trends and will have seen the viral content spread onto other platforms. Equally, there are some influencers who purely use TikTok. We have also seen an increase in Instagram Reels and Mixer and in this social media cycle of new platforms expect something new on the horizon too.
5. Video Content
Following on from the rise of TikTok, video content is also on the increase. I think this reflects the need for authentic connections. We want the full experience of the influencer, not just their typed words and pixel images. Seeing and hearing influencers on video, whether it’s an Instagram story or YouTube video, increases the authenticity and deepens our connection with them.
What This Means for Brands
Brands need to search carefully within the niche that best suits their brand. They need to put less emphasis on the number of followers and likes and more on the interaction (both ways) and authenticity of the influencer.
What This Means for Influencers
The good news for influencers is this means keep doing what you love doing- keep creating content that you love and are truly passionate about. Don’t worry about how many likes you’re getting instead spend time building mutual relationships with your followers.