Social media influencers play a key role in todays’ marketing ecosystem, and when these digital promoters first emerged, it was largely on platforms like Instagram. However, there’s been an explosion of new social media platforms since then, and that’s not the only change impacting influencer marketing. Changing spending patterns due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic are also shaping how brands seek to reach customers.
With 2020’s initial influencer trend predictions gone out the window, brands are in a tricky place. This is a good moment to rethink how they interact with their representatives and how they think about influencer marketing more generally. Post-pandemic marketing, and marketing in the age of TikTok and other platforms, will look different, but that doesn’t mean it has to be any less profitable.
One of the most important things that brands need to consider as they chart new influencer marketing trends is what platforms they will rely on. Though Instagram began as the place to be for influencers, and even developed a lot of brand partnership and sales functions to facilitate these relationships, the platform has lost much of its currency with younger users. At this juncture, there’s a real sense that TikTok offers greater authenticity and connection, even as the platform continues to face political threats to its US-based operations. While Instagram may still rule the day with older consumers, the youth market is leaving it behind.
Larger brands with a national presence have an advantage over small companies with only a few shops, particularly when trying to drive foot traffic. After all, they could link up with almost any influencer and feel confident that they’d reach potential shoppers. And while there was certainly an interest in micro-influencers as well because of their ability to reach a niche audience, few brands worked the local angle in trying to spread the word about their brand because social media isn’t bound by location – or at least it wasn’t until now.
Unlike many other platforms, TikTok’s algorithm prioritizes content from nearby creators. That’s great news for smaller brands who don’t want to spend a fortune promoting themselves to people who are nowhere near their business, such as local cafes or small gift shops. Now these brands can work with hyperlocal influencers to build credible, regional relationships, and spend their advertising money in a way that reflects their scope.
Be Vocal About Values
Finally, as brands continue to reevaluate their marketing strategy in this post-COVID moment, they should also consider how the pandemic has reshaped consumer values and consumer-brand relationships. One major trend that experts have seen is a shift from promoting products to promoting brand values. While the economy is slowly becoming reinvigorated, it’s important to recognize that unemployment numbers are still high and consumer spending is, reasonably enough, down.
By shifting their marketing emphasis and how influencers interact with their audience to focus on relationships and values, brands are finding ways to continue developing connections without the pressure to buy. This is a way to keep their name on shoppers’ radar when they do have more disposable income.
While every brand has a somewhat different relationship with social media and influencers, it’s important for all companies to keep abreast of changing trends and customer needs. This is a period of flux and a good time to focus on your overall strategy, from your platform to your partnerships and budget. You can’t hold still in this industry or it will pass you by.