Last updated: Influencer marketing: Trends supercharging customer engagement

Influencer marketing: Trends supercharging customer engagement


Listen to article

Download audio as MP3

Influencer marketing has blossomed from a non-traditional marketing tactic into an essential part of advertising and communication strategies and budgets.

Influencers add flavor to campaigns like a secret ingredient to a beloved food dish. By connecting with consumers, they generate leads and boost engagement.

The space is growing and changing rapidly as several trends reshape influencer marketing, taking it it in new directions with big-time benefits for brands.

What is influencer marketing?

Remember product placement, usually in movies and television? Influencer marketing is similar; it uses people and devices outside of the brand to promote products and grow awareness and demand, often through social media channels.

While fashion, beauty, fitness, and travel were once the mainstays for influencers, today there are ones specializing in blockchain, cannabis, and education.

Companies that have historically been unable to compete with the budgets of larger companies can now tap into new audiences and start selling their products via partnerships with right-sized influencers for their needs.

Last year, influencer marketing represented $13.8 billion and it’s projected to grow to $16.4 billion. Sixty-three percent of marketers plan to increase their budget for social media influencer marketing.

Influencer trends: Creator-focused marketplaces

A creator-focused marketplace shortens the gap between brands, the snack-sized content consumers crave, and the innovative influencers reinventing messaging.

The creator marketplace, now valued at more than $104 billion, is a platform designed to allow creators and brands to connect. One of the better-known examples is TikTok’s Creator Marketplace, but there are a slew of others, such as Patreon and Fanhouse.

Companies used to employ their brand equity to influence consumers. However, as society moved to user reviews, direct to consumer, and subscription models, the power of influence landed in the hands of people, aka creators.

As a result, creators’ content has become equal parts education, entertainment, and product endorsement. And it’s all done in ways that connect with people.

For example, influencers understand that Gen Z has a social media attention span of 8 seconds, while Millennials might watch for 12.

The rise of nano & micro-influencers

The concept of quality over quantity has entered the influencer sphere, leveling the playing field. The embrace of a wide variety of influencers has created an opportunity for brands to be even more specific about who they want to reach and how.

Influencers come in all shapes and sizes, each with value for the right campaign. Although the numbers will vary by source for influencer categories, Influencer Marketing Hub breaks down four main types of influencers:

  • Nano influencers have a following of 1,000-10,000
  • Micro-influencers engage 10,000-100,000 followers
  • Macro influencers reach 100,000- 1 million
  • Mega/celebrity influencers boast 1M+ followers

What about the people behind the numbers? Nano-influencers aren’t even necessarily thinking of themselves as influencers. These accounts tend to emphasize non-sponsored content and are primarily fueled by their enjoyment of the platform. Their followers might consider them to be friends or peers.

People trust nano-influencers. They follow them because they’re interested in what they have to say.

Micro-influencers sit in the sweet spot of having a decent size following while engaging with followers in ways that macro and mega influences simply cannot. For brands, nano and micro-influencers offer quite a bit of bang for the buck. In addition, influencers with active followers often drive significant impact.

Finding the right influencer 

Partnering with an influencer is a bit like hiring an employee. They’ll represent your brand, be expected to accomplish specific objectives, and need to be qualified.

Just as not every job applicant will be a fit, not every influencer is right for your brand. Hiring the right influencer for a campaign requires research.

Depending on your goals, you might choose to work with an influencer who will help you launch into a new arena. Perhaps you want someone who complements your product in a way that adds value. For example, some influencers specialize in testimonial-type campaigns; others get wildly creative.

Establish measurement tools and expectations. Some influencers will insist on doing things their way, which works for some brands and not for others. Consider these things as you search:
  1. Does how they engage with their audience suit your brand?
  2. Are there consistent patterns to their postings?
  3. What’s your creative risk tolerance?
  4. Is the person and their content relevant to your brand?
  5. Can you detect authenticity in their posts & chosen partnerships?

Examples of influencer marketing

Natasha Nicholes is a Chicago-based nano influencer with a couple of niches. Her 6K followers on Instagram and 4K followers on Facebook look to her for guidance on travel, urban farming, and homeschooling.

Her partnerships have ranged from General Mills to Samsung. She’s known for her straight talk, colorful clothes (mostly made by her hand), and a dislike of profanity. Nicholes founded a nonprofit, We Sow We Grow, dedicated to gardening and farming in urban landscapes. She’s also the Travel Editor for Mom2.0, a conference for online influencers and content creators.

A promotion for the Chicago Food Policy Action Council: Meet them where they are: Connecting Urban Farming Through Unconventional Methods. Inset photo bottom right of a smiling Black woman in a blue, yellow, and purple head wrap. She wears a grey shirt that reads: Dirty by Nature

Daria Andronescu, who uses the account name Wonder Wardrobe, is a fashion influencer with more than 20,000 Instagram followers and 81K subscribers on YouTube. With her niche of sustainable fashion, she provides tutorials, classes, and tips for her followers. Video is her preferred medium.

A White woman with a chin length bob smiles at the camera. Alongside her image is the BBC logo and the headline, "Can fashion be more sustainable?"

Events like Mom2.0 or companies like Clever, a full-service influence marketing agency founded by influencers, provide marketers with ways to connect with influencers.

Make sure that your company’s values are matched by a potential influencer. Are they aligned with your goals and mission, such as sustainability, and increasing diversity and equality? Influencers can help draw attention to parts of your business or mission that aren’t well known.

Give customers what they want: video   

The move to video content has been fast and furious, with Instagram adding Stories and Reels and TikTok’s continued ascendance in short-form video. The Video Marketing Statistics 2022 report produced by Wyzowl indicates that video consumption has nearly doubled since 2018.

According to MarketingTech, 72% of customers prefer to learn about a service or product through video. Partnering with influencers can help brands master new platforms and understand how to engage with online audiences.

The average time spent on TikTok daily across the globe is 52 minutes. Its users are deeply committed, with most logging in daily. As a matter of fact, TikTok overtook YouTube for the first time last year, with users watching 24 hours a month. reports that consumers will surpass 548 billion hours of live streaming in social apps this year. This growth is built on the rise of video production and consumption. The brands that pivot to video partnerships with influencers for social media campaigns will almost certainly get ahead of the pack.

Banking on influencer marketing

The value of influencers is that they live, breathe, and dream social. Coincidentally, it’s also how they earn a living, which means you can’t forge a relationship with an influencer without a budget.

How much do you need to budget for your influencer marketing strategy and implementation? A  good rule of thumb would be to dedicate at least 15% of your marketing budget to influencers for marketing.

As we do more and more online, the ability of influencers to humanize brands is a powerful tool. Brands can learn from influencers and their followers, which can boost CX and even employee morale.

Treat your brand to the engagement accelerant that is the creator community.

Personalization: It’s not magic.
It’s method.
Find out who does it best HERE

Share this article


Search by Topic beginning with