Welcome to the Next Wave of Influencer Marketing
There’s no industry quite like social media. Its ability to spread information, entertainment, scandal, news, as well as its ever-changing nature makes it one of the best and equally volatile places for a marketer to connect with consumers.
With the rise of TikTok and social media use throughout the pandemic, influencer marketing in particular is more important than ever in connecting brands to their target customers. In a recent study by the Influencer Marketing Hub that surveyed 3,500 marketing agencies, brands and other relevant professionals regarding the current state of influencer marketing, 71 percent of respondents admitted to having increased the amount of content they produce and share. Furthermore, 67 percent of those respondents who budget for influencer marketing intend to increase their influencer marketing budget in 2023.
This increased focus on branded content and influencer marketing fuels the industry’s next wave, which will not only have a higher focus on the art of content creation and partnering with influencers with genuine audiences, but also on brands bringing on more in-house creators to produce content needed to engage their customer base.
Part 1: Owned Content Needs
As it stands, brands aren't currently equipped to create the amount of content needed to stay relevant on these platforms. From 24-hour news and trend cycles to evergreen and viral content, there are simply too many opportunities brands are missing out on when it comes to content — and they know it.
To minimize the potential losses from missing out on key social media moments that could connect with a new customer, brands are adapting by hiring in-house creators to produce a high volume of social content regularly.
Since brands aren't equipped to handle the amount of content needed to stay relevant on these platforms on their own, brands looking to increase their owned content creation should hire at least three or four of these creators as paid employees. They can then hone in on their art and generate the volume of impactful content needed to drive results.
Part 2: Finding the Right Partner
The next part focuses on influencer marketing and finding the right partner. Influencers are now so platform and social media savvy there’s almost no replacement to partnering with these experts who know their audience to a “T,” and know how to connect with them in an engaging and genuine manner that leads to real business results.
There’s no substitute for the trust and relationship that these creators have with their audiences, and brands are hungry to scoop up and use these relationships to introduce their products to new audiences.
These types of creators don’t need to have millions of followers to be deemed worthy or successful. The art of content creation and engagement has nothing to do with the number of followers. It’s simply the relationship each creator has with their followers and the same relationship they can build on behalf of a brand.
Creators who have high engagement rates are far more valuable to a brand than a creator with 2 million followers with an incredibly low engagement rate. Brands should keep an eye out for creators and partners who know how to connect with their audience, rather than just pump out meaningless posts.
Finding the right partner is arguably the hardest part of a successful influencer marketing strategy, however, the benefits are ten-fold when an influencer can recommend a brand’s product or service in a seamless manner. It's important that brands and marketing executives hand over control (including those rigid briefs!) to creators and let them connect with their audience in an engaging and genuine way.
Getting the Best Bang for Your Buck
Social media is an ever-changing industry, and none of us really know what could happen as soon as tomorrow. However, the one thing we do know is that to stay relevant among an incredibly crowded sea of content, the power must be in the hands of creators. These creators, whether companies decide to bring them on staff or cast a wider net through paid influencers, understand the industry and their followers more than any brand ever could.
Cassidy Cooper is social media and influencer manager at Eyebuydirect, an online retailer of prescription glasses.