6 August 2021

Social Media Influencer Trends: How to Get Into Influencer Marketing

While traditional marketing used to attract and mesmerize a captive audience in the days of TV and radio ads only, it’s now much easier to break into influencing and to create a social media advertising campaign. Not only has our access to different campaigns and influencer marketing increased, but only 1% of millennials trust traditional advertising. However, 33% of the same demographic trust bloggers and their reviews. Brands now need to follow the latest social media influencer trends to reach their new target audiences. At the same time, becoming a social media influencer is turning into a viable career path for many.

If you’re looking to break into influencer marketing or just checking what the latest trends are in this domain, here’s a quick overview of the industry and the tips to be aware of if you’re trying to make a career out of it.

What are the social media influencer trends to know in 2021?

As video becomes a bigger part of social media overall, it’s taken over on all platforms and attracted both casual sharing and social media influencer advertising. This is in part due to many influencers being unable to travel and meet people as they normally would before the Covid-19 pandemic, and in part thanks to the massive captive audience sitting at home with nothing else to do other than scroll through their timelines.

Here are some key trends for this year:

  • Influencers live streaming

Almost any platform now has a video component: Twitter and LinkedIn have added one, not to mention the specific video platforms that have found immense success in 2020 (TikTok, followed by Lasso and byte).

Now, we are going live! One of the huge uptakes in online activity during the worldwide lockdowns in 2020 was live video. With the use of just their phones, influencers, global stars, and public figures like politicians or educators all took to addressing their audiences live on Facebook, Instagram, and more. We could follow workouts, cooking classes, even just have a live chat over social media. This trend will continue with more candid “behind-the-scenes” shots of life at home or live lessons in anything from yoga to face painting. And, with live video, influencers can market any product with exciting unboxing and review videos which their followers have already been loving so far.

  • Shoppable videos are on the rise

Another key trend for 2021 is the popularity of shoppable videos: brands can significantly shorten their customer journey by employing influencers to create these “shop as you watch” videos. According to Internet Retailing, shoppable videos have higher engagement rates than display advertising and will continue to grow in 2021. 

  • Shorter is better

The trend in 2020 and beyond has been for shorter snippets of video marketing to take center stage. Instead of paying for expensive, longer TV ads, brands are realizing the powerful impact they can make with just a few short minutes, or even seconds, of Instagram advertising. Add a well-known influencer into the mix and you have certifiable results in sales from millennials. 

  • Celebrities give way to social media influencers

While celebrities could be considered the original influencers with their hordes of followers and brand endorsements in tow, their time in the spotlight began to diminish in 2019 and is continuing to decline, according to Hootsuite. It wasn’t just extravagant disclosures like the fact that Kendall Jenner got paid $250,000 for a Fyre Fest Instagram post. Still, as the world has been faced with more genuine financial difficulties during the pandemic, the often disconnected rich and famous have increasingly come under scrutiny. 

On the flip side, social media influencers advertising affordable products that we can all buy appeal to the regular person. Candid first-person stories and full-disclosure sponsored posts are significantly more appreciated and trusted. 

Could you become a social media influencer?

In 2021 and beyond, authenticity is the key word when it comes to influencer marketing. As a result, it’s easy to think that you could become an influencer without too much effort, as long as you stay true to your preferences and put out consistent, good-quality content that attracts a loyal following. However, if you’re considering becoming a social media influencer, you need to first look at some of the winning scenarios and delve deeper into how these stars have built their brand and how they are maintaining it. This includes not just the quality of your content, but also the frequency of posting, the channels selected, the time dedicated to coming up with social media influencer campaign ideas and brand partnerships… and the list goes on!

Here’s a 5-step quiz to determine if you’re ready to be an influencer:

  • Will this be a full-time career or a side hustle?
  • How much time can you devote to your influencer campaigns if working on them part-time?
  • What sort of influencing would you like to do: travel, beauty, nutrition, fitness?

    • On a related note: what are you passionate/knowledgeable about? What can you talk about easily on film?
  • How good are your video skills?

    • At the very least, install a video editing app on your phone and practice creating short, engaging videos before you commit to an influencer marketing career
  • How do you feel about being in the spotlight 24/7?

    • Are you happy to be constantly contacted and almost certainly receive criticism and negative responses (more than positive, in most cases)?

If you’ve made up your mind based on the questions above, you might be ready to give influencer marketing a shot. Let’s see how you can get set up and challenge the big stars.

Tips for becoming a social media influencer

Becoming a social media influencer is not too different from establishing yourself as a freelance writer or marketing a new product. Following a clear plan is key, as is seeking to learn and get inspired from the best social media influencer campaign ideas that have come before you. And, most importantly: remember it cannot happen overnight!

These are the best tips for getting started in influencer marketing:

  1. Identify your niche

The first step to creating a strong following is to narrow down your target audience and your type of content. The best way to define your niche is to look at what social content you’ve produced already has done well, and also at what you are passionate about. 

Remember that saying “Choose a job you like and you’ll never work a day in your life”? This is pretty much the same.

  1. Optimize your social profiles

If you want to get recognition and be spotted by brands, you need to make sure your profiles are excellent. This means posting content regularly and ensuring the quality is near perfect.

Moreover, dedicate some time to your bio and metrics.

You’ll need to pick a couple of social media channels to focus on and upgrade them to business accounts in order to get all the right data on your audience and how your content is received. Also, say you want to become a travel social media influencer: you need to have not just content, but also a bio that makes it clear that travel is your passion. 

Finally, create excellent content with a plan. For example, check out our advice for how to make awesome travel videos here. 

  1. Learn about your audience

Beyond studying your content performance, you’ll also need to learn as much as possible about your target audience. Read specialty magazines and join Facebook groups dedicated to your interests. 

Travel influencers can go to travel industry events to mingle with key representatives of the industry and make themselves known to them for potential gigs. Follow the same advice for other industries. 

The more you know your target audience, the easier it will be to build rapport and provide them with content they love.

  1. Post great content, consistently

The combination of consistent posting and great quality is essential to succeeding in social media influencing. You will need a marketing plan, a social media calendar, and photo and video editing apps to enhance your content and make it stand out from your competition. 

In order to create a loyal following, schedule your posts regularly so you build trust and a routine with your followers.

  1. Engage with your followers and with brands

As with many jobs and side hustles, networking is important. To succeed in social media influencer advertising, you need to be well-known enough to land lucrative partnerships with brands. But, to be popular, you need to also have something to offer your audience. Either way, engagement is the way to get both followers and gigs.

To build a solid fan base, make sure you reply to comments, post live videos and chats, respond to messages in videos, and ask questions from your audience.

To make brands aware of your interest in collaborating, do some research and pitch them directly, making sure you can outline what you bring to their marketing plan and how your followers can be an interesting target audience for them. Also, make sure to tag brands and talk about them in your posts so their social media department takes note of you!

Whether you’re considering how to become a social media influencer for the fame or for the lucrative aspect of influencer marketing, stay consistent and follow a clear plan to get the best results. Don’t hesitate to draw inspiration from the best campaign ideas and lead the way with your own original content, produced regularly and tailored to your audience. Good luck growing your market, and have fun!

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