Evolution of influencer marketing

2022-01-03 by Ronn Torossian

The pandemic saw a lot of businesses pressing pause on campaigns and sometimes canceling them completely. With physical events canceled and brick-and-mortar stores shut, businesses had to completely reconsider how to reach consumers. To influence audiences, brands realized they had to use social media platforms intelligently. This led them to seek the help of influencers. Influencers grew their follower bases by adapting and diversifying their content and using channels like TikTok, a platform that has seen a 45% increase in influencers in 2021 alone. 

The success of influencer marketing has given rise to the term, ‘creator economy’, which is given importance by marketers, investors, content creators, and businesses. ‘Creator economy’ includes the class of businesses being developed and built by over 50 million independent content creators, bloggers, videographers, and social media influencers. It also includes the software and finance tools designed to help influencers grow and monetize their content. The way to hold a consumers’ attention is changing, and so is the technology that is being used for it.The trends that will continue to revolutionize the influencer marketing space have been given below. 

1) Equality and inclusion is integral for campaigns – Influencers are assessing brands to make sure that their marketing messages and campaigns are working to create inclusive cultures. Some influencers have even taken brands to task by stating that pay inequalities exist. With an undertone of activism, an increasing number of influencers do not shy away from discussing issues like body positivity and BLM. For instance, the Instagram-based campaign that centered around racial inequality, #ShareTheMicNow, had influencers of color taking over Instagram accounts of well-known white celebrities to reach larger audiences. 

2) Live shopping – The popularity of live stream shopping will increase within influencer marketing. For instance, the Canadian brand, Knix, used live shopping to add excitement to its swimwear launch. The launch was hosted by the influencer Sarah Nicole Landry, real Knix customers, and Knix founder Joanna Griffiths. The event exceeded expectations, as the overall sales it produced was above what live shopping events produce on average. This was the result of the selection of an influencer host who has known the brand for years and can speak directly about its merits in order to help customers. 

3) Micro and nano influencers – Bigger is always better. One marketing avenue that is becoming increasingly popular is that of micro and nano influencers. Micro influencers have fewer than 50,000 followers, and nano influencers have fewer than 10,000. They bring with them the benefit of niche audiences, creating improved return through higher brand relevance. Since they have loyal followings due to perceived greater authenticity, there is greater engagement. They are more affordable,and hence businesses are able to reduce costs while still working with these influencers, who are deeply connected to their audience. 

4) Real-time posts – With customers searching for more content in real-time compared to pre-recorded content, there has been a rise in live video content in which viewers are urged to participate in synchronized activities. TikTok has recently added a new “LIVE” feature that allows users to interact with their followers’ comments and questions in real time. 

Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR.  

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