January 11, 2022

The future of influencer marketing in 2022

Jenna Mason

Content Strategist

Influencer marketing has undergone a drastic makeover in the last two years. In part, due to the obvious (pandemic), and also due to the ever-changing nature of social media (thanks, TikTok!). What's been so important for brands and influencers in 2020 and 2021 is authenticity — that will be no different for 2022. As you approach your marketing mix for 2022, take note of the opportunities you have with influencers.

10 Things to know about influencers in 2022:

1. The power of micro-influencers

Influencers range from celebrities, like the Kardashians (hello, OG influencers!) to major YouTubers like ASAPScience, to micro Instagram influencers. Many brands consider macro-influencers (500k+ followers) as the only type worth considering to promote their products. But that's changing. 2022 is the year of the micro-influencer — those with 5k-30k followers. Accounts in this category feel more authentic and are easier to trust for audiences. Followers feel like they are BFFs with their favorite influencers (Literally, me). As a result, micro-influencers are more captivating for audiences. Brands looking to create more loyalty and trust need to consider these smaller-scale accounts.

2. The blurred lines between influencer marketing and social commerce.

It's no surprise that influencers have been driving sales for brands in the last few years. They'll be boosting conversions in 2022 as well. Social platforms continue building influencer and shopping tools into their apps, making it even for influencers to affect sales directly. Example: Instagram announced the ability for users to shop during an Instagram Live. Could this signal a comeback of QVC-style live shopping?

3. The importance of inclusive, diverse, and gender-full campaigns.

This past year has marked impressive growth in gender-neutral marketing, but 2022 has more in store. Brands need to market outside of the gender binary. Native deodorant created a more gender-neutral website by removing the "men's" and "women's" shop tabs. When it comes to including a more "gender-full" audience, it's imperative to represent those consumers within influencer campaigns. Be strategic with influencer selection. Partnering with an influencer means you partner with their whole network of followers. Selecting the right one can be difficult, but consider audience, interests, hashtags, overall demeanor, etc. Consider who your audience is and their diversity, and then examine which influencers are best to reach your target audience. 

4. The entrepreneur influencers.

Influencers have started to recognize the extent of their, well, influence over their followers. Instead of promoting a brand's products or services, influencers have created their own brands and products. How can brands maintain a working relationship with influencers aiming to become entrepreneurs? Consider collaborating with them on product lines and edits that allow them to bring their personality to your products. For example, the D'Amelio sisters partnered with Morphe to create their own line of skincare and makeup called Morphe 2. A small-scale option is allowing influencers to make an edit with your products. Several fashion brands such as Nasty Gal and Pretty Little Thing have done this with celebrities and influencers alike. 

5. The in-house influencers.

The in-house influencer is a newer approach to influencer marketing. "In-house influencer" can mean having an influencer team, like the Fenty House on TikTok, or hiring people to work a 9-5 job who happen to be influencers (think Netflix's Emily in Paris). Having internal influencers gives you more control and a deeper relationship with them. For example, when hiring, a lot of big brands such as Coach, L'oreal, and Nike ask candidates to link their social media accounts in the hopes of hiring an employee that has influence. 

6. The TikTok effect.

With 1 billion monthly users, it's no surprise TikTok has taken over in the last couple of years. The platform will continue to grow and gain attention in the coming months. We've seen products fly off the shelves due to viral TikToks, such as Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice, Aerie Crossover Leggings, and CeraVe. This will be no different in 2022. Now that consumers know TikTok is the place to find the best products, they will be hunting for them. Consider seeding your products and services with TikTok influencers in the hopes of emptying shelves.

7. The surge in short form video content.

This year, the Head of Instagram, Adam Moressi, announced that the platform would no longer be a photo-sharing app and is making the shift to short-form video. We have seen this with the introduction of Reels (ahem, Meta's answer to TikTok) and the removal of IGTV. Users constantly find themselves going down a rabbit hole of videos on their explore page, discovering new brands and products to try. When working with influencers, consider creators who have experience in video creation to better optimize for the platform.

8. The breakout influencers.

TikTok introduced the world to viral stars like Charli D'Amelio and Addison Rae (yes, we're talking TikTok again). These creators quickly grew their accounts to millions of followers and billions of views seemingly overnight. In 2022, brands should consider tapping influencers on the brink of going viral before they become out of reach. Examples of influencers in that sweet spot include Team USA's Illona Maher, who blew up during the 2020 Summer Olympics by showing behind the scenes of being an Olympic athlete. Brands like Ralph Lauren saw an opportunity to collaborate with her after mentioning their Team  USA collection in a TikTok. 

9. The wellness & fitness influencer.

2020 and 2021 had no shortage of trying and stressful moments (try months). With this, we saw the rise in wellness and fitness brands and influencers since gyms were closed and mental health was top of mind. At-home workout brands exploded, such as obé Fitness and, of course, Peloton. Other fitness and athleisure brands such as Girlfriend Collective and Outdoor Voices saw success through the power of TikTok and the "hot girl walk" trend. With everyone stuck at home, even luxury brands dabbled in creating loungewear for their consumers. We will continue to see wellness and fitness influencer marketing evolve in 2022. 

10. The rise of creators.

The line between creators and influencers is increasingly fuzzy, but there is a way for both to work in your marketing strategy. The word influencer can be defined as someone building a platform to work with brands. In contrast, the word creator refers to someone who has a unique skill set, such as an artist, a writer, a videographer, a chef, etc. By going for creators, your brand has a better chance of reaching audiences outside of the crowded influencer channels.  

What this means for brands:

Influencer marketing can impact your brand in many ways. If you choose to embrace these trends, return on investment is in your brand's future. Not only in dollar signs but in brand sentiment. Are you interested in building relationships with various influencers and executing a full start to finish influencer marketing campaign? Curiosity has you covered! We've crafted our influencer practice to grow and evolve with the ever-changing social media landscape. Curiosity's influencer experts will find the perfect influencer for your campaign, build a meaningful relationship, fuel content creation, and keep the flame alive to solidify brand loyalty. Are you ready to reach and engage new audiences? Let's hit the ground running!

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