More and more direct selling companies are increasing their marketing budgets to influencer marketing, and you should, too!
The recent data show that the value of the influencer industry has more than doubled since 2019, growing from $6.5 billion to $13.8 billion in only three years.
There are several reasons why so many companies want to leverage an influencer’s follower base to sell their products or services.
One of the most significant benefits of influencer marketing is that it is not as pushy as a brand’s content. Moreover, influencers can expand your reach online and position you as a modern, engaging brand.
Another massive reason is the credibility & trustworthiness of the influencer in the eyes of their audience. In fact, a whopping 40% of consumers have claimed that they have made a purchase based on an influencer’s tweet.
In 2022, we will continue to see robust growth for the broader influencer industry, especially in the booming DTC segment.
Now, let’s dig deep into the top emerging influencer marketing trends of 2022!
1. Dive into Social Commerce
Influencer marketing will drive online sales by offering seamless shopping. Thanks to social commerce features like online checkout and native shops on almost all social media platforms, influencers are important in-betweens in converting awareness into online sales.
Adam Shapiro from Upfluence predicts that influencers will lead the way in powering a seamless social shopping journey thanks to their role in live social shopping, affiliate marketing, and sharing authentic product recommendations.
The youngest generations have become at home with social commerce. According to Forbes, most Gen Z consumers (97%) say they use social media as their top source of shopping inspiration. In addition, 65% of Gen Z say they use social media to find entertaining content, and 61% are specifically interested in watching more video content.
Social platforms pay attention to these trends, and they want to occupy a more prominent place in the purchase funnel of goods. Therefore, they strive to make shopping within the platform as easy as possible.
For instance, recently, Google announced its plans to turn YouTube into an ecommerce platform through its integration with Shopify.
Moving into 2022, brands should pay more attention to the social selling opportunities through Instagram posts, Reels, Stories, and more. And the most visionary companies are already taking advantage of these new conversion tools on social media.
2. Unleash Your Potential with Live Shopping
When we speak about social commerce, we can leave out one massive trend: live shopping or live ecommerce.
As 2021 is about to end, live shopping is slowly becoming a regular part of social commerce and influencer marketing campaigns. And in 2022, experts expect live shopping to become a staple for influencer campaigns.
This modern, QVC-style live shopping experience is one of the features Facebook and Instagram rolled out this year. Pinterest and Amazon offer similar features, too.
From the customer’s perspective, live shopping is a great way to interact with the influencer who demonstrates certain products or services.
Ultimately, hearing & seeing how the product feels increases the chances of purchasing the products right on the platform.
Next year, influencers will play a direct role in helping direct-selling brands generate online sales, and you should be ready to embrace this trend as soon as possible to stay ahead of your competitors.
3. Nano- and Micro-influencers Are on the Rise
The trend of nano- & micro-influencers has been here for a couple of years now. However, in 2022, their partnerships with brands are expected to shine like never.
There are several reasons why (not only) direct-selling companies choose micro-influencers to promote their products. Generally, micro-influencers bring higher engagement and conversion rates. In addition, they are much more authentic, affordable, and above, they specify in niche markets–which might be exactly something your brand needs for successful influencer cooperation.
Even though many influencer marketing experts believe that nano- & Micro-influencers will continue to take budgets away from mega influencers and celebrities, some disagree on the benefits of micro-influencers.
Some argue that micro-influencers won’t necessarily make your potential customers purchase your product as they cannot influence choices and lead to sales. And the truth is that more and more brands are shifting focus to measuring sales and conversions instead of social engagement.
4. Experiment with TikTok
One of the fastest-growing social platforms is undoubtedly TikTok. In fact, TikTok is a perfect example of the democratization of media, and here is why:
TikTok’s algorithm makes it easy for unknown users to grow enormously from one day to another and gain millions of followers. This, combined with its easy-to-use platform that simplifies content creation into one app, allows more everyday users to become internet sensations. That is great for nano- and micro-influencers who might become famous almost overnight.
TikTok often has a more raw and quick edge to its content. It grabs the viewer’s attention directly, entertains them, and, most importantly, rides the waves of current viral trends.
Moreover, TikTok has become a crucial platform for social commerce. For example, the hashtag #tiktokmademebuyit has upwards of 2.3 billion views on TikTok. For the comparison, the hashtag #amazonfinds by well-renowned, well-established Amazon has more than 6.7 billion views.
According to one Gen Z report, nearly 30% of respondents say an easy checkout process is crucial in purchasing.
Therefore, direct-selling brands need to consider a seamless experience — from discovery to checkout — by minimizing distractions and directing consumers to the website.
5. Short-form Video Is Stealing the Show
Video content has been the king for the past years, and it is not going anyway. So those companies who produce content in the form of video are winning customers’ attention, especially with the younger generations.
However, there is a trend. Short-form video becomes the primary format as everyone consumes and loves it. Specifically, the most consumed video content is makeup tutorials, hilarious videos, dance videos, cooking snippets, and DIY videos.
We’ve noticed a tsunami of viral 15-30 seconds videos taking the internet by storm in 2021 already. And this number will multiply in the coming years.
Innovative companies understand a few obstacles in creating short-form videos: low entry barriers, low production costs, relatively easy to make, and large-scale consumption.
6. Non-music Audio Is on the Rise
One of the biggest trends to watch in 2022 is non-music audio, specifically podcasts. So partnering with podcast influencers might be your priority for the next year, and here is why:
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. And podcast ad spend hit $800 million in 2020, but experts expect it to more than double to $1.7 billion by 2024.
Partnering with podcast influencers affords brands the chance to get their name and products in front of well-informed, high-income consumers. In addition, 94 percent of podcast listeners are active on at least one social media channel, and 54 percent of them have thought about buying a product they hear promoted on a podcast.
However, non-music audio has been on the rise outside of podcasts. Twitter recently opened up hosting permission access to every Twitter use. Anyone with a Twitter account can now moderate their own Twitter Spaces audio chat.
If your company’s goal is to increase brand awareness, sponsoring a niche podcast might be a way for you.
7. Authenticity & Integrity Is a Must
There is a massive need for authentic content and brands’ integrity. Today, consumers can very easily differentiate paid content from original content. Therefore, partnering with influencers who are sincerely passionate about your company’s products is a must.
Your company should be interested in working with influencers who not only act as message amplifiers but who are part of your community and who share your vision. Preferably, your influencers should be customers of your brand or at least passionate fans. Customers are looking for genuine experiences and honest reviews.
One of the most authentic ways to influence your fans is by encouraging employees to act as influencers. Specifically, when an employee supports their brand, the endorsement feels more genuine.
We might argue that your employees are not influencers per se. However, they might significantly impact sales and the overall brand perception.
Examples of brands leveraging employee advocacy programs include H&M, L’Oreal, and Starbucks.
Another way to maintain the integrity and authenticity of your brand is through long-term partnerships with your influencers. With the increasing number of influencers, brands want to form meaningful, long-term relationships with influencers who tick the right boxes. Such continuous collaboration increases people’s trust in the brand.
And last but not least, don’t be afraid to tell stories, be vulnerable, and show “behind the scenes” content. Consumers appreciate when they can relate.
BONUS: Influencer Marketing Trends You Should Know
Along with the 7 top influencer marketing trends mentioned above, there are several other trends & tendencies in the industry that will shape collaborations with influencers in 2022:
- Increased competition as the number of creators grows and brands will invest more in influencer marketing. As a result, there will be more monetization opportunities for creators.
- Influencers will be vital to expanding affiliate programs. Influencer and affiliate campaigns will merge to help brands leverage authentic influencer content to drive sales within an affiliate model.
- Data-driven influencer marketing. ROI and other quantifiable data have become more critical in the industry.
- Co-creations between brands and influencers are here to stay.
- NFTs are entering the influencer scene. Companies will start collaborating with influencers to produce NFT collections.
- Diversity and representation are now marketing standards. Therefore, equality and inclusion should be crucial in your marketing campaigns.
- Social media platforms will come up with more tools for influencers. For example, Instagram already offers a native affiliate tool that allows creators to earn commissions generated from the purchases they drive.
- Brands will hire in-house influencers to own the content they produce.
- Finally, influencers’ interest in wellness & fitness surged during the COVID-19 pandemic, fueling momentum for brands that support consumers’ health.
As the new year approaches, companies try to understand the nearest future of influencer marketing based on its present state. Direct sellers also seek lessons from areas where they can improve their influencer marketing strategies. This article is ready to help!
We sum up all emerging influencer marketing trends to watch in 2022. Being aware of these trends and implementing them in your direct-selling marketing strategies will keep you ahead of the competition.
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