One can’t scroll through the Instagram timeline without seeing a perfectly posed photo uploaded by an “Influencer” who’s either selling something or themselves! This highly popular form of marketing has really taken off, creating a new kind of celebrity and opening up new opportunities for Marketers.
This is no longer a secret, that Instagram has not remained just a social media platform where people share their lives with so many people around the world, but has also paved a path that has allowed influencers to use this social media platform to make markets and brands come to the front in a new avatar.
The easier way of posting a pretty picture with a simple three word caption, leading to a massive growth of likes, comments and most importantly – followers! Is not the scenario anymore…
Today it’s more about better presentation that attracts the viewers
Around Thirty Eight million users, are the estimated number of influencers currently across the globe. During this current pandemic situation, people are unable to make in-store purchases and this has brought a pause to the market in turn, and taking advantage of this situation what seemed like a very Skeptical platform previously is now a driving method for marketing and that is : “Influencers!”
Corporations are trying and seeking to adapt to the new dynamic evolutions in the industry, with influencer marketing being on the rise. Companies hire or sponsor influencers to promote their products and services and market it better with the immense fan following they have.
After the pandemic induced lockdown, with the entire world closing in and people stuck at homes, brands started to realize that the influencer marketing model was best suited in this time wherein the audience was looking for some inspiration, focusing on self care, learning new recipes, searching DIY videos and much more entertainment related content.
All this in turn posed a really good opportunity for brands and influencers to engage their audiences with meaningful messages and promote all the content they were looking for.
Soon then, taking in all the signs of this being a profitable opportunity, brands opened up their budgets for digital media, realigned their strategies to leverage the rising demands for influencer marketing, and just as expected the medium through which the market that was on a hold had come back to life again, and that medium was : “Influencers”
How are people knowing so much about Influencer Marketing and New Brands?
Today, the Indian audiences are watching online videos more than ever before, which is very well educating them a lot about the newly risen market. A variety of features have been used by Influencers in the past, to hype and promote brands.
Recently, short video content and especially Reels are on an increased focus, as it is cost-effective compared to long videos, providing more engagement and authenticity and also as its being heavily promoted by Instagram.
Apart from daily new trends in general for influencers, some areas where it is really working and almost never goes out of trend is, skincare, clothing and cosmetic brands. A normal way of shopping or buying involves checking and testing the product by the buyer themselves, but in a lockdown situation like this, where no one can leave their houses to go, try and test the products, people tend to believe almost anything and everything the influencer says about the brand, as they are the only medium of knowing about the same.
Influencers display the benefits and usage of products in a manner that attracts a lot of buyers, which proves profitable to the brand and in turn for the influencer too. So far, creators have been resorting to platform revenues and brand deals as major sources of revenues.
The year 2022 is going to witness a huge wave of content creators
building value-adding brands which are not just going to be selling out merchandise but products and serves of almost all varied kinds. One will also start observing that big brands will partner with creators on equity deals which will then encourage creators to build a much deeper and valuable relationship with the brands.
While many complained about the year 2020 being a total mess, it was not the same for the growth of Influencer marketing in India, one not only explored lots and lots of new content creators but also a lot of brands showed interest in working with influencers for their respective goals. We can now expect a trend where more brands heavily focus on just the strategies of their influencers marketing campaigns.
Earlier, clicking a picture with the product alone was considered as marketing, but that doesn’t remain the same today. The influencer has to bring the best out of the product or service to catch the attention of the viewers, that in true sense is marketing today. According to me, both influencers and brands will evolve and explore creative ideas collectively to create engaging content.
A chain that has been made and followed, brands will work with agencies who will then provide them interesting campaign ideas rather than just a list of influencers and expected reach which happens most of the time. This will make them stand out from other branded content which is already out there but isn’t engaging to the crowd anymore.
There has been a huge change in the perspective of brands and influencers in the past year, leading to a paradigm shift in functionality of influencer marketing altogether. ‘Content Consumption Pattern’ is a trend that the ecosystem is harping on and that is undeniably gaining a lot of momentum.
Where pictures were first the catch of marketing, today that has been surprisingly replaced by videos. Viewers and followers like to be updated with the influencers’ lives, which creates a new space for smart product integrations that brands are now consolidating! 2021 has brought another field of entertainment apart from pictures and videos : Audio Format Content (Podcasts) which has started booming and is becoming as powerful as videos.
The past year was the most sobering of realities, where the world also discovered Dalgona Coffee, and also mourned the banning of TikTok and PubG, but amidst all of this Influencer Marketing went to its grassroots!
Marketers started bringing in influencers into the creative conversation, something we’d been pushing for years. Brands soon began to realize that creators would not just create a face for their products and services, but they were more than a vehicle that would easily multiply their sales to a whole different level. They could be excellent platforms to listen to changing consumer desires and easy credible communicators.
This year will be more of a content and creator moment
Until now, brands gave credibility to creators, but in the time to come, creators will bring a lot more credibility to brands. There are good numbers of brands and advertisers who have been using influencer marketing for well over two years now, and though these influencers have so far been limited to their creative content or basic statistics like followers reach, it’s very interesting for one to see how influencer marketing has been such a defining phenomenon in the past year.
Now that brands have realised fully the credibility and capabilities that influencers possess which helps bring their products and services to the forefront of the market, one can only wonder how they will now spread their eventual overarching bosom and become a necessary and a must have to make a better marketing platform.
Brands would now like to see how an influencer finds and churns out content that is authentic, unique and how that content is relatable that it will lead to a sure shot, subsequent conversion. One will definitely see the rise and prominence of commercial led influencer marketing, that will make it imperative for the content to drive a relatable conversion.
The number of influencers in India have witnessed an explosive growth over the past year. Earlier people appreciated any content that was presented, but now on gaining knowledge about marketing and sales, viewers are very particular in choosing the content they desire to see. Content which is not relatable, won’t get desired engagement and so the trick here is to understand the context, get the background and then create such content which will hit just the right mark.
Influencers will have to be on the go always, to keep their followers satisfied with the content and also engaging more followers to never step out of the ever increasing competition. Influencer marketing was a high outcome of the pandemic, not just because there was the availability of campaigns but also because of the changing way among the audience to receive communications.
Both brands as well as content creators are in an urgent need to understand what needs to be put out in the market to hold the attention of their targeted audience that will thrive in a post covid world as the demand is constantly shifting. One can for a fact now know that Influencer Marketing is here to stay and grow more and more over time.
Brands have started relying a lot on content creators now to communicate their message to consumers in a more natural way, to maintain their relevance and meet their target audience online. Just because of this content creators and influencers will have an upper hand and they will be employed for various brands. Influencer Marketing will soon be seen as a game changer in the times to come.
The past year has given a platform to several new Influencers and brands too did not shy away from taking good advantage of their skills and popularity for their own benefit. The merging of content marketing, influencer marketing and social media marketing is going to be a massive trend that one can expect to witness soon.
There’s going to be a lot of focus on finding and partnering with such influencers who share a wider fan following and similar values as they themselves will now enter into a long term relationship with them, rather than on boarding them on a contractual basis. And so how events unfold next will be interesting to watch!