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How Influencer Marketing has changed in 2021

When it comes to social media marketing, successful influencers have played a massive role in making sure their campaign takes off. Since influencers have been restricted in their movement and unable to travel, let alone dine freely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most have transformed their content to stay relevant to the target audience’s interest or upskill themselves to educate their followers.

You may notice people discussing influencer marketing on social media platforms. So let’s determine if the use of influencers for social media marketing are slowly dying or thriving in this pandemic.

The Rise of Online Content Consumption

social media marketing

Globally, online content consumption has increased by nearly double on average since the start of COVID-19 with an increase in screen time by more than 70%. WARC mentioned that during this lockdown, more than 40% of consumers spend more time on YouTube, which has also seen the largest growth in audience interest. On the other hand, TikTok has been growing rapidly as well, especially for those in the 18 to 24 demographic. 

So how do the influencers contribute meaningful online content? Influencers use their preferred platforms such as Instagram Story, Instagram Live, or Twitter to interact and check in with their fans, and this has been the case even before the pandemic. What has changed is that they no longer are able to show new places so have had to change their content accordingly. 

Many influencers or KOL (Key Opinion Leaders) have transformed their content into something that reflects the times we live in. There’s a lot of skills to be learned (and many eager people who want to learn them) and many started producing content, such as homemade recipes, stay-at-home work sessions, keeping fit and a lot of DIY solutions.

Building Trust

Building online Trust

COVID-19 changed consumer behavior, and you can see a significant shift in how businesses advertise their products or services. For instance, you see influencers promoting skincare products on TikTok that you have not tried before; or trying out new food from Grab recommended by a Foodie influencer.

Believe it or not, a massive 63% of consumers trust the messages given by influencers rather than the company’s advertising. Furthermore, consumers are more likely to consider, research, buy, and share the content produced or promoted by their favorite influencers. For example, 51% of the consumers are likely to act on the influencers’ content about food and beverage. On the other hand, 39% of consumers act on health and wellness content; and 37% of consumers are likely to act on it when they see content about technology and gadgets. 

Other than how the influencers can influence consumers to buy, many influencers also get involved in social and political issues. For example, if you were familiar with the U.S. election last year, you might notice social media influencers were encouraging their followers to vote, especially young citizens. 

Authenticity and Creativity

Since most of us cannot physically interact with the individual, the influencers for social media marketing have made it inclusive for the audiences to interact with them via their preferred social media platform, be it Instagram Live, Instagram Story, or Twitter. Authenticity is the key to building trust between an influencer with the target audiences. 

The audiences would want feedback on the pros and cons of a particular product or service that the influencers are promoting. Ceddy (@ceddyornot), a Malaysian foodie influencer, is a perfect example of being authentic. In his video, he explains that being honest is crucial, and he also informs his followers that he would only provide fair food reviews. As a result, many influencers are more responsible and take accountability for the products and services that they are promoting. 

Story-telling is particularly useful in attracting more users to notice, resulting in more followers for the individuals and brands. As a result, creativity is very crucial when it comes to producing content. It needs to make the followers feel more inclusive, relevant, and resonate with them. For example, if the video is about a skincare product, the target audience would prefer authentic and aesthetically pleasing content. On top of that, you can see many influencers are using a different platform to reach out to their target audience. A great example you can see on your timeline is the influencers making TikTok videos or Instagram Reels with different music backgrounds or filters.

Most Significant Breakout or The End of Social Media Influencer Marketing?

Fortunately, influencers for social media marketing is not coming to an end in this pandemic. The influencers have brought creative and inclusive content to the brands they represent and the target audience. Of course, some influencers have been called out for producing insensitive and inappropriate content and even within the influencers, their actual influence over their audience can vary so picking out the right influencer for your brand is crucial in getting the desired results.

An example of an influencer gone wrong would be the ‘brownface’ music video which was released by a Malaysian influencer, Hao Ren. Therefore, influencers, KOLs, and brands need to make sure they are accountable for their actions and take full responsibility. Before a brand chooses an influencer for their brand, they will have to make sure they can align their business objectives or brand with the person so that the brand values are aligned.

If you’re aiming for a feel-good, kosher for the whole family feel, it would be best to select an influencer who embodies such traits such as a celebrity who is known to be a family man. An obvious example would be tying up an athlete to a sportswear brand hence identifying a suitable candidate would be key to a successful influencer campaign. 

If you are interested in exploring the possibility of using KOLs in your upcoming campaign, then you are at the right place. Here at UnRavel, we are a 360-degree digital marketing agency with solutions for all your digital needs. So fill up your information below for an inquiry; we will get in touch with you soon! 

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