Social media has become an integral part of modern life with the number of users rising every year. In 2021, Facebook recorded 2.8 billion users worldwide, YouTube reached 2 billion and Instagram reported 1.4 billion, showing it is not slowing down. In fact, social media will become even more important in 2022 with newer platforms, such as TikTok already at 1 billion users. This means social media influencers will become an integral part of marketing campaigns too.
From Ariana Grande and Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock, to beauty expert Huda Kattan and original content creator Khaby Lame, social media influencers are everywhere. Together these four influencers have around 502.7 million followers and with this level of marketing power, companies need to utilise them if they are not already. So, here are six influencer trends you should be focusing on:
1. Video Content
There has been a significant rise in video and audio content across social media platforms. From influencer shopping to specialized podcasts, creators on Twitch, YouTube and Spotify are becoming more influential. This has been made possible by improved bandwidth, 5G and fiber internet, and will be a key marketing trend in 2022.
Consumers love videos, and videos drive greater engagement and conversions. There has been an increase in popularity of TikTok and with the introduction of Instagram Reels, more video content is available than ever before. Plus, ad revenue will soon be added to Instagram. This allows creators the option to monetize their long-form content and brands to reach audiences engaging with long-form video.
However, all this video content is still not enough for consumers. According to SEMrush statistics, YouTube experienced a 4.9% growth rate in 2021. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter now emphasize sharing videos, and influencer shopping is the new way brands engage with customers.
2. Gen Z Partnerships
In 2022, more brands will be working on long-term projects with influencers to target Gen Z. Gen Z are the first generation who have not lived without digitalisation and will soon be entering the business world. The majority use social media for purchasing decisions and are often inspired by their favourite influencers. Therefore, partnering with influencers who appeal to Gen Z is going to become a top priority.
Gen Z shoppers rely heavily on influencers for almost all of their purchases. In the past, brands have worked with influencers for one-off sponsored posts, but with Gen Z itself having influence on the general population, longer partnerships are now required.
This change ultimately comes down to the time it takes to make a sale. A single post is not going to be as effective as a series and the more an influencer talks about a product, the more likely it will resonate with the audience. So, expect to see brands using influencers in 2022 through several sponsored posts over time.
3. Influencer Benchmarking
As brands work closer with influencers, there will be a bigger focus on tracking results. Traditionally influencers ask for different budgets, but as social media platforms continue to diversify, influencer spending will need to be centralized and investments are likely to increase.
Marketers will need to consider separate strategies for each platform and understand where their brand and influencer stands within a certain sector. This will be imperative as companies don’t want to waste money and need to meet set targets.
In 2022, tracking influencer benchmarks will become the norm across all categories. From fashion to technology, benchmarking will be key in forming an influencer strategy. Plus, with a target in mind they can see how effective their influence has been and know if they are working with the right influencer.
4. Co-Op Creator Influencer Marketing
The modern shopping experience has changed and with it comes cooperative marketing. Co-op marketing is where a brand shares the costs of an advertising campaign with a third party and the strongest are when social media influencers are involved.
Co-op creator influencer marketing effectively positions influencers to showcase a product. Driving viewers to make a purchase, benefiting advertising budgets and producing strong results, co-op marketing leverages influencers across platforms and is a way to expand the reach of a brand.
It is believed that co-op creator influencer marketing will become a vital part of the co-op marketing mix in 2022. Expanding as retail media groups grow, with the right planning and research it can benefit any business.
5. Creator Campaigns and Influencer Boosting
Content-first creator campaigns and influencer boosting are accelerating as they outperform traditional advertising. Increasing awareness and engagement, both boost placements wherever they appear and often double or triple reach. But what are they?
A creator campaign is a campaign that uses a person who has the power to influence purchasing decisions. From a unique relationship with their audience to significant authority, customers value their opinions. To supercharge the campaign, the influencer or another influencer then shares the content on their social media. This can be amplified into the feeds of the target audience and drive them to a brand’s site.
With this kind of impact on consumers, brands are seeing the benefits of using creator campaigns and influencer boosting, and indicate that 2022 will bring us more. From goal-focused content to connections and collaborations between influencers, creator campaigns and influencer boosting earn more on return than other approaches.
6. Employee-Driven Content
Influencers can be anyone and successful content doesn’t have to be shared by a famous person. Employees have social media accounts too and can post authentic content that promotes a brand, their experience at work and what goes on behind the scenes.
Highlighting the benefits of working at a certain brand, this approach is popular on LinkedIn. LinkedIn has 740 million users in 200 countries and territories across the globe. So, it has the potential to significantly impact sales by reaching new audiences, building trust and possibly leading to new employees.
Employee-driven content will continue to increase in 2022. Employees can post photos from company events or talk about sales incentives they have achieved, creating humanizing content that can change how brands are perceived.
Are you ready for the influencer trends in 2022? Please get in touch if you have any questions or require assistance with your marketing needs.