We know social media changes rapidly and, because of that, what influencers do changes just as rapidly.
As influencer behaviour changes it follows that the behaviour of social media users as a whole changes as well. This trickle down effect impacts the trends we see, the features social media networks roll out and, of course, how we as marketers use the tools we have available to us.
Here’s five trends we’ve seen that look likely to change social media, influencers and beyond over the next 12 months.
There was a time when you just weren’t a TikTok influencer if you didn’t smash a solid dance challenge every week (every day?) or feature a hilarious lip sync or have a magically edited ‘day in the life’ video.
But a trend to look out for in 2023 is that trends themselves may have had their time, at least as far as some of the more successful influencers are concerned.
The problem with trends, particularly for image-conscious influencers is a) their short lifespan and b) the fact that suddenly, you change from innovative creator to copycat trend chaser. The latter means that, instead of standing out with original content people love, you risk being hidden in a big wave of people all chasing whatever the day’s trend is.
We’ve already seen influencers move away from this behaviour and, as such, influencer marketing campaigns are less likely to try to latch on to a trend and more likely focus on truly original content. Users too, as they see the influencers they follow chase trends less and less, are likely to get involved far less regularly.
Influencers generally care about fairness, however you choose to define that term and approach. They’re going to want to know that they’re paid fairly and, more than that, that their fellow influencers are paid and treated fairly as well.
Depending on the personal causes and issues they care about influencers may also want to consider a range of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) approaches by the brands and agencies they work with. What is the brand's stance on gender issues? Have they changed their behaviour in terms of their environment policies or are they working towards being carbon neutral? Do female influencers they work with get paid as much as male influencers?
Influencers are going to ask these questions more and more, because we’re all asking these questions on the social media platforms influencers have used to grow their personal brand. This will change how brands approach influencers, what they pay them and how and when they communicate on ESG-related issues.
Regardless of the brands approach, influencers are going to trend towards increasing transparency of their approach and feelings on various issues, and what they see from the brands they talk to on the same.
Brands and influencers have jointly recognised the niche in the marketplace for User Generated Content (UGC).
Brands need lots of it and are willing to pay for it and influencers, particularly nano influencers have realised this. This is leading to a shift amongst nano influencers promoting themselves as content creators, with a specialism for getting brands high volumes of UGC, quickly, easily and relatively cheaply.
This sort of content is incredibly effective at moving buyers through the ‘messy middle’ and into a purchasing decision. For brands then it’s incredibly valuable and for content creators UGC assignments are relatively easy projects. It’s a win-win, hence we’re going to see much more of it.
YouTube has been lagging behind a little when it comes to short form content, but YouTube Shorts seems to have solved that, with the platform reporting 100 billion views of Shorts in April 2022.
Meanwhile, LinkedIn hasn’t exactly been a huge focus for the traditional influencer, but that looks set to change this year. Brands are noticing the level of success influencers are having when they do turn their hand to it and, for the right brand, there are significant opportunities amongst the platforms 875 million user base.
There will be more platform-specific changes throughout the year, but the above show how two relatively minor changes (or, in LinkedIn’s case, just continuing to exist!) can have a big impact on the influencer space. LinkedIn being an acceptable space for influencer content could drastically change some influencer marketing campaigns, whilst YouTube Shorts is already having a big impact on increasing the performance of long-form content on the platform.
Our MD, Alec, wrote about this as one of his points in his look ahead to 2023 in influencer marketing, here. Alec has some great points on the business side of things and how longer term arrangements will change approaches here, but it also looks like it will change the creative side of things as well.
With influencers and brand locked into a long term deal, presumably with a fairly hefty budget, the options for content creation are wider and grander.
Are we, for example, closing in on the first influencer/brand created, fully-fledged film? Alec mentioned Starling Bank and Jack Harries’ YouTube original series ‘Seat at the Table’ in his article, which shows just how grand the scale, scope and production values can become.
Who’s to say that an influencer won’t be coming to a cinema near you soon?
We’ll keep an eye on these trends and more throughout the year and be on hand to assist any campaigns you’re running through the Influence Network platform. Happy influencer marketing, in 2023 and beyond!
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© 2023 Influence Network.
Registered in England and Wales: 10815710
20-22 Wenlock Road, London, N1 7GU