How to Make the Most of 2020 Influencer Marketing Trends

February 24, 2020

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Influencers. Cliché tactic or effective strategy? Overdone or just getting started? Personal opinions aside, there’s no denying that brands are putting the pedal to the metal on influencer marketing. The industry is on track to be worth up to $15 billion by 2022. Influencer marketing has continued to grow and expand in ways no one could have expected – here are four trends that the FleishmanHillard Social and Innovation team has noticed in the new decade.

Quality over Quantity

Traditionally, influencer partnerships focused on numbers alone. The number of followers directly reflected how many people would see the message. Ergo, the bigger, the better. However, as algorithms continue to change, discover pages gain popularity, and the pay-for-followers ploy persists, macro-influencers are losing their spot at the top. Audiences are looking for quality over quantity. Brands, especially B2B, should look to work with influencers who have small, highly engaged audiences.

Influencer Crossover

In addition to the quality of influencers, there will be a noticeable move toward influencer crossover. Brands will strategically choose influencers that may not seem like a clear-cut fit on the surface. For example, we’ve seen technology companies partner with fashion and beauty influencers because they’re attempting to build their reputation and make their products and services part of everyday conversation.

Data and analytics also play an important role in influencer identification. Using data tools can reveal other audience interests, and influencers can bridge a gap. When creating influencer strategies, brands should look past the obvious choice and experiment with new types of influencers – so long as the choices ultimately map back to business objectives.

Authenticity is Key

Though crossover is rising, authenticity is still a cornerstone. Influencer marketing works because social media was created to serve as a connector, not a megaphone. Users’ feeds are a blend of ‘real-life’ friends and influencers who feel like friends. The most successful influencers have a clear message, and their authenticity connects them to their audience by establishing a level of trust.

Brands and agencies need to customize influencer partnerships not only to fit their brand goals but also to fit the influencer’s brand. When working with an influencer, it’s essential to let them know the brand goal and then let them bring back their creative ideas. Remember, influencers know their audiences better than you ever will.

Video in All Aspects

Over the past year, there has been a significant shift in the type of content that influencers are creating. At one point, holding up a product with a big smile and adding a bottled caption could pass – but audiences are savvier than ever. They demand to be entertained, taught and intrigued. Because of this, influencers must create highly engaging visual content to help consumers feel a sense of closeness.

When brands realize that video can do this job, it opens the door for highly rewarding partnerships with influencers in 2020. We will also continue to see social platforms accommodate the growing popularity of videos. We’ve already seen this with Snapchat, Twitch, and IGTV. Brands should look to provide resources to influencers to help them create the highly visual content that their audiences want to see.

Jessica Yah Lira, a member of our San Francisco Social and Innovation team, also contributed to this piece.