The world of influencer marketing is changing rapidly. Social channels are growing, coming up with new trends, features and possibilities. The age of influencers as we once know it slowly transferring to a new ear. Let’s take a deeper look into this new influencer.
Over the past year, there has been much debate in the industry regarding the distinction between influencers and creators. In simple terms, a creator earns a living from the content they produce, while an influencer earns a living from the influence they have on their audience. A creator is someone who produces high-quality, humorous, or entertaining content that a brand can use across multiple channels. An influencer, on the other hand, is someone who provides parenting advice or educates patients as a healthcare professional. Their worth to a brand is determined by how influential their message is with the target audience. And in some cases, the creator is also an influencer.
In this new era, brands will collaborate with a greater number of professional creators to produce high-quality content that would otherwise require significant resources to execute. If social media becomes more about entertainment and less about social connections, the most optimised content for the channel will win. Creator content could be used far beyond the creators' social media profiles, which brings us to our second key pillar of the next generation of influencers.
Before brands focused on collaborating with influencers to create content for their feeds and using that content for paid social. The next generation will likely focus on adapting the content created by influencers and creators for use across the entire marketing ecosystem. This includes connected TV, programmatic display, digital out-of-home, retailer product detail pages (PDPs), retail media, and other forms of advertising. Consumers should be able to engage with authentic and relatable content across all channels, not just social media.
It’s mostly likely that the amount of commerce-enabled content generated by creators for brands will increase significantly as social platforms expand their commerce features, such as Instagram Checkout, TikTok Shop, and YouTube's test of affiliate marketing for Shorts. Direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands will likely create the necessary ecosystems to make all their digital content fully shoppable. Meanwhile, brands that sell through third-party retailers will ensure that their content can be added to a cart.
Brands are realising that influencers can be more valuable as product partners than as social media creators alone. The next generation of influencers will see a rise in brands forming deeper partnerships with influencers. These partnerships will involve integrating influencers into special product releases, soliciting valuable customer research to help inform innovation road maps, and involving influencers more intimately in the brands' broader creative and marketing strategies. Many brands will almost certainly hire creators to run their entire social media channels, either as full-time employees or as contract advisors.
The influencer marketing industry is becoming increasingly sophisticated. In the next phase, we may see more brands utilising influencer content to drive performance across all aspects of the marketing organisation. It's no longer enough to focus solely on social media impressions and engagements; we should also consider how to use influencers to significantly increase brand equity and sales. This next phase will be exciting, so buckle up and enjoy the ride!