Recent developments brought on by COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement have forever changed the face of influencer marketing. What trends will we see in 2021 and how can you leverage these in your communications strategies? On November 10th, IABC/Toronto hosted a webinar along with Veritas Communications with four seasoned influencers on the changes they’ve seen in a post pandemic world and the trends they expect to see in 2021.
The session was moderated by Krista Webster, President & CEO, Veritas Communications and the panelists included:
- Afiya Francisco, Style Advisor
- Karl Conrad, Tech Vlogger
- Malcolm Walker-Hendrix, Fashion Vlogger
- Torri Webster, Creative Consultant / Content Creator
Social purpose will be table stakes: The creator community has been directly responsible for cause driven challenges (e.g. #BlackoutDay, Ice Bucket challenge) and social purpose, inclusivity and authenticity will continue to be key deciding factors for influencers in determining whether to work with a brand. “There are brands that market in their truth and they will stand the test of time,” said Torri. Malcolm echoed this sentiment saying: “All the brands I want to work with align with my values and since we’re living in a super digital era where everything is under a microscopic lens, it’s important for brands to be seen as doing good and not just checking off a list of boxes.” They also pointed out that if brands make a mistake, they should be given an opportunity to right that wrong and tell their side of the story.
Influencers will demand diversity and inclusion: One of the most topical pivot points for marketers in 2020 has been the recognition of the need to reflect diversity in social content, and that’s predicted to materialize into table stakes for 2021 and onward. “Diversity within an organization and at the decision making table is not only good for developing inclusive content, but it also makes great business sense and needs to built into the DNA of an organization,” said Afiya.
Focus on more raw/real content: All four speakers were in agreement about wanting to be more authentic for their audiences, but at the same time give them content that is aspirational and inspirational. Afiya said: “We used to focus on being perfect to the point of exclusion, but now we’re in a place where we’re seeing a hybrid – realism and accessibility balanced with a bit of glamour and sparkle.” Karl added: “You need to give audiences a look under the hood and let them know it’s ok to not be perfect. But at the same time, give them that good looking, well produced content that we all like to see.”
The rise of ‘nano’ influencers: As we continue to see a proliferation of new social media platforms like TikTok, nano’s (the tiniest of the categories) are predicted to be the fastest growing in 2021. While the speakers agreed with this sentiment, they also felt that there’s a place for every kind of influencer in today’s digital world. Karl said, “The key thing to being an influencer (nano or macro) is to focus on something you really love and that’s where the real success lies.” Afiya added: “There’s a place for every kind of influencer and brands will need to focus on picking the right creators that excel in creating content for each platform. Malcolm echoed this sentiment saying, “At the end of the day quality over quantity rules.”
Performance marketing (sales and clicks) will rule: While those of us in the business know intuitively that the trust of a creator with true influence has the magic to make consumers pay attention, sales and clicks may trump trust for marketers in 2021. Torri said, “It’s important for brands to bring creators into the conversation early on so we can set expectations and decide if we’re the right person for the job, and build a long term symbiotic relationship with the brand if it’s the right fit.” All of the speakers also agreed that they would like to see a wrap up report to assess the impact they’ve had on the campaign. “Too often the focus is only on the messaging, but feedback at the end of a campaign would really help us to improve what we do. It would also be great to explore opportunities for affiliate marketing and other forms of revenue generation,” said Karl.
Missed the webinar?
The recording is available for free to members and for purchase to non-members.
Recorded: Tuesday, November 10, 2020 from 12 to 1 p.m. EST
Duration: approximately 55 mins