There is no doubt that the global pandemic has impacted our marketing and growth plans. Indeed, it has forced a step-change in everything – from the way and how we work, to the where we work … so it is little wonder that marketers are feeling the strain.

Add to this the massive shifts around business accountability, increasing expectations of brand authenticity and respect for social license, and 2020-21 can easily be seen as a turning point for the often fraught relationship between brands and their audiences.

So what is the role of influencer marketing in the distinctly modern marketing mix? Ryan Skinner from Forrester offers some suggestions:

  • Social advertising: There appears to be a downward trend in social advertising – with spend dropping off by 10-20%
  • Influencer marketing as a growth opportunity: While social advertising is trending down, marketers are seeing the opportunity to expand their influencer-oriented activities, citing share of attention (more time on social – 63%), growing awareness and positive perception (of influencers)
  • Influencer content sentiment trends upwards: Only 20% of people indicated a negative attitude towards influencers. This receptivity creates an opportunity to communicate in a more one-to-one vs one-to-many scale to build awareness and reinforce brand-to-consumer relationship building.

What then, might be the way forward?

  • For those brands comfortable working with influencers:
    • Treat your approach to influencers as an opportunity to double down on long term brand messaging – built relationships and position for the future
    • Develop a growth plan connected to your influencers and your brand position
    • Experiment with influencers-as-a-channel – work closely with your influencers to build a content plan rather than just push content into a particular platform (eg TikTok or Instagram)
    • Move an additional 5% of your media spend towards influencers and double down on your experiments.
  • For those brands new to influencer marketing:
    • Shift 5-10% of your marketing budget to influencers. Understand that it will take time to learn how it can impact your activities and use the time and budget to build your expertise
    • Seek category and domain expertise alignment in your influencers and use your traditional marketing efforts to amplify the work of your influencers
    • Be creative – don’t just focus on transactional or bottom of the funnel marketing with your influencers. Find or create opportunities to communicate your brand values with and through your influencers.