Influencer marketing trends ebb and flow, but the top influencer marketing trends in 2021 will absolutely leave a mark for years to come.

The year 2020 really gave us a lot of time to think about what we value as individual human beings, as well as how we relate to one another. If there’s anything that social media has taught us over the past year and a half, it’s that we need to find more people that value the same things -and businesses and influencers are right smack in the middle of what everyone is looking for.

From redefining what it means to be an influencer to creating deeper connections with your audience, the following are the top influencer marketing trends to master this year and surely after:

1. Creators > Influencers

The term influencer has always held a negative connotation. This mostly has to do with the influencers were initially either celebrities or celebrity-esque people garnering a large following and leveraging that following to sell products and services.

More and more people within the influencer community are now identifying as either content creators, digital creators, or just simply creators.

This is because creators are people who put more value on their creative worth as well as the quality of their content. It’s less about becoming a “celebrity” and more about becoming recognized for their actual talent, skills, and work—not just for how pretty they look and what they can sell to the masses.

Additionally, the term content creator allows space in the social media world for leveraging more professionalism, which equates to more respect from brands and followers alike.

2. Micro and Nano-Influencing Is the Way To Go

Being a successful influencer in terms of brand partnerships and status used to mean having millions of followers. Now, there are several different types of influencers and they’re all defined by their follower count.

Incidentally, Nano influencers—those with just a few thousand followers—and micro influencers—those who have between 10,000 and 50,000 followers—are the ones making waves now.

The reason? It’s much easier to engage consistently with a smaller following, and micro influencers especially have a high engagement rate. This is precisely what allows an influencer’s following to get up close and personal with the brands their favorite influencers represent.

It’s all about making deeper connections while also being able to stretch the marketing budget, and this is true for essentially all the top influencer marketing trends on this list.

3. Cause and Issue Marketing Are a Top Priority

When we talk about cause and issue marketing, we’re talking about a brand and influencers’ core values.

Consumers everywhere are increasingly looking to make purchase decisions based on their own core values, which include things like environmental impact, social justice, inclusivity, and so on.

According to a 2021 consumer survey, 55% of the consumers that were polled stated that they were much more likely to purchase from a company that shares their values. This includes paying premium prices for the goods or services that align with what they care about.

As a result, company and influencer values have become the pinnacle of marketing campaigns.

4. Brands Are Seeking Ongoing Partnerships

With brand and influencer values needing to align to produce successful marketing campaigns, you can now expect more long-term partnerships to form in place of on-off sponsored posts.

Of course, values aren’t the only reason for this shift in influencer-brand relationships. Ultimately, it comes down to the fact that sales take a while to make, and influencers won’t be able to up the engagement in just one post.

As an influencer, this means putting together a package deal offering your services as well as sponsored posts over a certain length of time to garner more interest. 

5. Short Videos Continue to Reign Supreme

Video content is still the number one way to format your content as it has the unique ability to combine virtually every type of content into one short and sweet format.

Video is in demand even more now than ever with the increasing popularity of YouTube, TikTok, Instagram Stories, Reels, and the up-and-coming IGTV, Facebook Live, and more.

Live video watching is up by 50% thanks to the pandemic, and it’s only predicted to increase from there as more social media apps offer up video content creation options.

6. Expect Performance-Based Deals

As brands and influencers look towards a future of long-term collaboration, you can expect performance-based influencer marketing to increase as a result.

This means that brands will hold influencers accountable for their services. For example, they’ll be expecting a specific amount of sales, clicks, and even engagement. Anything you say you can do for them, you’ll need to deliver on that.

Pro tip: Consider turning those performance metrics into ongoing royalties rather than a single upfront payment. You’ll also want to carefully review your contract to ensure you can guarantee the return your future clients are looking for. 

7. It’s All About Niching Down

The majority of influencers out there have already claimed a niche, be it fitness, food, travel, fashion, pets, and so on.

Now, it’s time to specialize your skills and areas of expertise and leverage that to essentially create a micro-niche. Once you do this, you’ll be more sought after by brands tapping into those areas.

For example, do you like to hike daily nature trails or do you like to hike seriously rugged terrain that takes days or even weeks to get through?

Do you specialize in baking or do you specialize in vegan and gluten-free baking?

Being more specific with your niche is on par with becoming a Nano or micro influencer, which makes you the golden egg for the types of brands you like to work with.

8. Paid Advertising Will Become More Beneficial

Paid ads aren’t usually the norm in influencer marketing campaigns, but hear us out.

Paid advertising equals paid amplification of influencer content. In other words, by leveraging the already perfected Facebook Ad targeting and elsewhere, brands can put forth more high-quality influencer content directly to the audiences that want to see it. No more battling with different algorithms—it’s a win-win for brands and influencers.

9. Social Media Metric Tracking Is Critical

Since performance-based deals and their subsequent contracts are going to become the new business standard between brands and influencers, taking on data analysis and planning will become another digital trade skill influencers need to have under their belts.

By tracking your own social media metrics, i.e., key performance indicators (KPIs), and generating consistent data reports, you can demonstrate proof to the brands you want to work with that you can deliver on your promises.

It all starts with learning which social media metrics are most important, as well as how to track them and how to identify what makes them successful.

10. Authenticity Is Key

Both brands and audiences are looking for one major thing: Authenticity.

This means that influencers will have to be careful in curating their content for each specific brand to ensure that any products they’re promoting also resonate with their own following.

Of course, the responsibility of authenticity is also up to the brands when finding an influencer to work with. That’s why it’s so important for brands and influencers to pair with those that align with their core values.

Basically, there needs to be a genuine sense of excitement and integrity coming from the influencer when they post about a certain product or service from a brand. It’s that genuine excitement and honesty that deepens an influencer’s connection to his or her audience. It’s also the very thing that’s going to drive sales.

What’s the Best Influencer Marketing Platform?

Another top influencer marketing trend: Being valued and respected for your work.

While this is true for all job types, as an influencer, it can be incredibly difficult to find a platform that offers you the support and respect you need and deserve.

That’s where TrueFanz comes into play.

TrueFanz is a platform designed for creators by creators. Here is where you can truly position yourself as a top-level content creator by leveraging the above trends as well as taking advantage of the intuitive features the platform has to offer. Request an invite and see for yourself!