Influencer marketing has become an integral part of any integrated comms campaign. As the influencer marketing industry continues to grow, marketers are allocating more of their overall marketing spend to influencer campaigns.

We’ve compiled a list of 10 key influencer marketing trends brands need to know about right now.

  1. The rise of the Podcast influencer
Non-music audio has exploded as a format for consuming content. Notable growth happened during the global pandemic when work commutes vanished for months in 2020. As people flocked to podcasts to find content to keep them entertained and occupied during lockdowns, more influencers and content creators began adding audio as a medium for reaching their audiences. Between 2017 and 2021, the percentage of monthly podcast listeners among 12-to-34 years old grew from 27 percent to 49 percent. There are now more weekly podcast listeners than Netflix account holders. Partnering with podcast influencers affords brands the chance to get their name and products in front of well-informed, high-income consumers, 94 percent of whom are active on at least one social media channel, and 54 percent of whom have thought about buying a product they hear promoted on a podcast.
  1. Equality and inclusion are now requisite for campaigns.
Diversity, equality, and inclusion are the new standard. Now, Influencers and consumers are analysing brands to make sure marketing messages, campaign creative, influencer partners, and even a brand’s employees and agencies of record are actively working to create inclusive cultures. Only last week, a global agency announced it would no longer work with influencers who edit their bodies or faces for ads in a bid to combat social media’s “systemic” mental health harms.
  1. Using real-time posts and live content as community builders.
Beyond just shopping, consumers are searching for more content in real-time, not just pre-recorded content. Pandemic-fuelled lockdowns gave rise to live video content in which viewers were urged to participate in synchronized activities. We’re talking about everything from studying with the Lo-Fi girl to watching concerts to family game nights, and even things like weekly worship services. Influencers have been going live on YouTube and Facebook for a while. TikTok also added a new “LIVE” feature that allows users to live stream and interact with their followers’ comments/questions in real-time.  Pinterest TV is still relatively unused, but it’s popular among the foodies, gardening lovers, religious circles, and beauty influencers.
  1. User experience takes centre stage
We want it all, and we want it all in one place. In response, Instagram introduced out-of-the-box features that push the platform toward being a more all-encompassing app. It then added an “audio” feature that allows users to search, sample, and save songs to use in future followed by a map search. The map search serves as a business directory that allows users to find different businesses like restaurants, bars, event centres, coffee shops, etc. When a business is selected, Instagram provides more information about that business such as pricing, hours, products/services, contact information, reviews, and more. The goal is to get users to spend more time on the app, and we totally expect other platforms to follow suit with similar capabilities. Over the past few years, more social platforms have added features that create seamless, new shopping experiences for consumers. Each user has a tailored algorithm to show them products that apply to their lifestyles. Products can also be tagged in posts, just like tagging people. These little tweaks make it easier than ever for consumers to find product information and purchase directly from the post.
  1. Consumers will continue to prefer brands with a soul.
Consumers have been increasingly picky about how they spend money and who they spend their money with. Nearly 7 in 10 consumers (68%) expect brands to be clear and vocal about their values, and 54 percent expect brands to take an active role in conversations around social issues. As we saw last year, social media influencers possess remarkable sway when it comes to starting those important conversations, and brands that don’t demonstrate consistency between what they say, what they do, and how they behave internally (corporate culture) can quickly find themselves the subject of very public scrutiny. From campaigns like #BLM and #MeToo, to personal activist accounts to advocate for the environment, key influencers have used their social media content to recruit people to their cause and affect significant change.  
  1. More brands will leverage augmented reality in their influencer content and their influencer marketing campaigns.
Augmented reality has been a HUGE hit on social media. First, we saw filters on Snapchat. We’ve seen lenses that let you see how furniture looks in your home or change the colour of your carpet. We’ve seen apps that show you how you’ll look in your 70s. Most social media platforms have some version of augmented reality available to its users. You can even use iMessaging to communicate as different animals. Bonus: AR features have continually been improving in quality and have become more accessible. As influencer marketing trends have evolved, so have the behaviour and the expectations of consumers.  
  1. More and more and more and more collaborations
Apps are moving toward enabling multiple accounts to work together to reach audiences, share audiences, share engagement numbers. Instagram has rolled out a nice set of features to help brands amplify branded content through influencer collaborations that can be successfully promoted to targeted audiences as influencer collaborations. Collabs. Lets users co-author posts and Reels so that content can reach bigger, untapped audiences. Add Yours. Allows users to add their own pictures to someone else’s Instagram Stories. Instagram Reels Play Bonuses. Opportunities for creators to earn money directly from Facebook and Instagram for creating content that their communities love. Creators will make money based on the number of plays their Reel gets. IG will pay out on Reels that get at least 1,000 views over a 30-day period. Branded Content Partnerships (This includes new partnership message folder in the primary inbox, brands can filter through the creator’s details (using Instagram data), like their follower count, location, gender, and age range.  Brands will be able to use data and unique filters to discover and select the best creators for their campaigns. Creators can add brands they’re interested in working with to a “preferred brands list.”
  1. Familiar audio, music, and TV shows being used to connect with audiences.
We have never been so engrossed in the music. No matter where we turn audio features are being added to social platforms like crazy. Advertisers are starting to look to streaming and trending audio clips to talk to their audiences. Between TikTok, Spotify, IG Reels, Twitter Spaces, Clubhouse, etc. there are tons of options for brands looking to loop audio platforms into their social media marketing strategies. And yeah… this is the way to go if you want to reach younger buyers. Quality content is all about connecting, right? Spotify stepped into the viral audio world in a unique way. Seeing an opportunity to help connect advertisers with Spotify users and capitalize on their dedicated audience base, Spotify launched their “All Ears On You” campaign, a B2B campaign that – get this – uses neuroscience to help advertisers understand how to reach their target audiences BASED ON the type of audio content they’re consuming Snapchat announced a second partnership with NBC Universal to allow users to grab audio clips (famous quotes and theme music) from different NBC properties –SNL, , 30 Rock, Shrek, Despicable Me, Seinfeld, Friends… #RedRoss #WeWereOnABreak #Pivot Earlier this year, Snapchat inked a similar deal with Universal to allow users access to the company’s massive library of music.
  1. A rise in ongoing partnerships between brands and influencers.
Influencer selection can be a pain in the neck for brands, and the nuances of influencer contracts will make it tougher to grab up influencers easily for campaigns. So, we expect to see a noticeable rise in ambassadorships and influencer partnerships that go beyond one-off sponsored posts. Creating content is time-intensive for many brands. And while it’s easy-ish to get access to a content creator, finding one that can create value-driven content that resonates with the specific segment of your target audience you’re aiming to reach can make the effectiveness of brand sponsorships tough to quantify, and even hard to justify. In order for sponsored posts to be considered quality content, brands have to partner with influencers who understand how to communicate value. We’re way past follower count here, right? Ongoing partnerships will allow brands to consistently work with influencers who have had huge success reaching a brand’s targeted audience segments.
  1. Reels
Reels was introduced back in 2020 as an alternative to TikTok at a time when the latter was struggling to stay in the market. And this cool new feature took the world by storm, with millions of users making the most of the lockdown time at home using this unique feature. It has become a hot favourite of influencers and brands all over the world. And the importance of Instagram Reels has only increased over the last couple of years, with more and more social media marketers resorting to this feature. One of the main reasons why Reels has become so popular is because it allows you to portray who you are through short, catchy videos. Instagram Reels allows you to create short videos of up to 30 seconds to highlight a current trend or launch a brand or promote a product. You can increase your reel views by adding cool filters and music. There are nuances to reaching a target audience and even more nuances to coming up with effective influencer marketing ideas. Partnering with the right influencers to share the right message at the right time has never been more important. But, to keep your social media marketing campaigns fresh and effective, it’s essential to keep up with the marketing trends that will shape branded content. Each weird, little influencer marketing trend has the potential to impact your influencer marketing strategy. That said, one of the best things about influencer marketing is that content creators earn their keep by staying up to date on the latest influencer marketing trends. So, build out those long-term partnerships with influencers who can help you stay relevant.