The world of digital marketing has undergone a series of transformations in recent years, with the evolution of new consumer technology, available platforms and even new languages. As such, there has been a parallel shift in how companies choose to market their products, including a new openness to working with so-called “influencers.”
Though the actual definition of a social media influencer is a broad one, and will vary widely depending on who you ask, it is undeniable that there has been a rise in the prevalence of influencers as a mainstream marketing tool. Thanks to platforms like Instagram and TikTok, it is easier than ever for brands and influencers to work on collaborations.
Even so, the year 2020 will bring a number of challenges and opportunities to the world of influencer marketing. Here are some influencer marketing trends to keep an eye out for in the new year.
1. Brands Will Focus on Influencers with Shared Values
The rise of influencer marketing hasn’t always been smooth sailing. In particular, there has been a substantial number of influencer controversies that also tarnished the brands that those influencers represented. PewDiePie’s commercial partners, for example, were forced to walk away after a series of racist videos; Logan Paul’s controversial video showing a suicide victim in Japan’s Aokigahara forest caused a similar brand evacuation.
Businesses now realize more than ever that the influencers they work with are as much a liability as they are an opportunity. In 2020, brands will be more determined than ever to focus on influencers with whom they share intrinsic shared values, rather than maverick narcissists.
2. Influencer Platforms will Increase in Importance
Up until now, there have been three main ways of undertaking influencer marketing: working with an agency that does most of the legwork, letting influencer relationships evolve naturally, or using a platform tool to streamline and simplify the work of finding influencers.
As the world of influencer marketing has grown, so has the influencer platform market. New platforms are appearing all the time, and the services offered on these platforms are themselves an ever-evolving beast. In 2020, brands looking to engage in influencer marketing will be increasingly looking to these platforms to simplify and streamline their influencer campaigns.
3. Celebrities Will Become Less Relevant
There is much confusion over what actually makes a social media influencer; to some, the word may conjure up a yoga pro on a tropical beach, while to others the word influencer signals a member of the Kardashian clan.
In reality, the term “influencer” requires a social media personality to be capable of influencing the decisions – typically, purchasing decisions – of others. Just being famous with lots of followers does not an influencer make.
Brands are slowly catching on to this reality, and will likely be striving in 2020 to get the best value for money in their influencer campaigns. Celebrity endorsements from users with record followings just won’t cut it anymore.
The world of influencer marketing is a fascinating part of digital marketing. Savvy brands would do well to stay ahead of the curve in 2020.
Ronn Torossian: Insights from a Native New Yorker and CEO of 5WPR
Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 20 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals.
Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth, overseeing more than 250 professionals in the company's headquarters in midtown Manhattan. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named "PR Agency of the Year" by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions.
Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world's most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider, and a recipient of Crain’s New York 2021 Most Notable in Marketing & PR.
Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and has authored two editions of his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations," which is an industry best-seller.
A NYC native, Torossian lives in Manhattan with his children. He is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities