I’ll say it: 2021 will weed out influencers who don’t adapt to the wave of changes and follow some key influencer trends.
Social media is a living, breathing environment. As a result, creating content on social media is expected to evolve. Viral-worthy content entering 2020 is, unfortunately, slowly phasing out as a thing of the past, and people are consuming information differently than last year. If you’re not riding the wave, you’ll quickly get left behind.
The influencer world is at the peak of transition, and my best piece of advice (being in this world for over 8 years) is to make these influencer marketing trends the bread and butter of your content strategy, especially if your goal is to become an influencer… and a competitive one at that.
It’s no secret: you saw the boom of TikTok when ‘rona hit. You saw Instagram‘s response coming out with Reels to compete with TikTok and keep their users on the app. Not only has short-form video become people’s preferred way to consume content in 2020, but it’s a great way to let your personality exude through the screen (because you know, we can get lost in translation over text).
If you’re not on Reels yet, you are missing out on a huge opportunity to grow organically and exponentially. I said this on a Forbes’ article I got featured in, “Instagram always favors users who use their new features right when they come out. They will push your Reels up the algorithm more than they will your regular posts.” There is definitely a learning curve on conveying a message in less than 30 seconds, especially if you’re not familiar with how TikTok users create content, but I promise it is so worth it! I’ve grown my Instagram audience by over 5,000 followers in 1 month just by posting consistent Reels content, and I haven’t seen that much growth since 2015.
And of course, TikTok has become the fan favorite of 2020 because of the way its algorithm levels the playing field for ALL users. Since your content is consistently shown to mostly new people through the FYP (For You Page), there are more eyes to potentially build that like-know-trust factor with on top of the people who already love your content to begin with.
But let’s also not forget the importance of long-form video content. IGTV, Lives, webinars and YouTube videos are a wonderful way to get MORE value and to learn more from what you know. Classes are online now across the board, so treat long-form video like a class and that your audience wants to learn from your expertise. It’s also a way for your followers to have more access to you as a friend than a fan.
One of the influencer trends I saw emerge in the middle of 2020 is the rise of quotes, infographics and illustrations. And it wasn’t because I saw a lot of influencers posting them, but because I found myself reposting A LOT of them on my IG Stories. Not only are these graphics easy to digest and learn from, but they are extremely shareable. I tried this with my account for Juneteenth and the post shared almost 43,000 times!
The more I saw this pattern, the more I’m realizing the behavior of users is shifting from using social media as an escape, to finding educational, inspirational, motivational and valuable content, as well as influencers who are intentional with what they post, which brings me to my next point…
I talk about this a lot on my Instagram and my “I Wanna Become an Influencer” Mini Series on your WHY and it’s now becoming even more evident that posting just to post is truly just wasted effort. Value-based content is taking over, and the need for an incredibly curated feed is becoming secondary. If you’re not giving your followers a reason to stick around or being relatable, they will quickly see through your intentions.
Ditch the clever 1-liner caption with emojis influencer trends, or you’ll find your engagement slowly dwindle down because there is only so much conversation sparked from a photo and a pun or a song lyric. If you’re looking to build a tight-knit community, tell a story, teach something, inspire, get vulnerable. Content that will drive a reaction from people who follow you, or encourage them to get vulnerable with you, will make your social media presence much more sustainable long-term.
You’ve probably heard the rumors all over social media, and you’ve seen Instagram making huge changes to the platform like releasing Instagram Guides and providing suggestions on the Instagram Search Bar. Yes, Instagram, along with other social media platforms, are shifting towards becoming more SEO (or Search Engine Optimization) friendly. What does this mean?
This means that your social media page has the opportunity to pop up on a Google search when you sprinkle 3-5 keywords related to your niche. And the more specific your keywords are, the better your content will perform (ie. instead of using “fashion”, use “affordable women’s fashion” or “street style”). There are 4 ways to get this done:
Instead of using your name field for your name, try adding your location and/or your niche (ie. LA Street Fashion, or NYC Luxury Fashion).
If you’re familiar with adding “Alt Text” to blog posts, you can now do this for your Instagram posts. Alternative Texts are meant to describe the photo for visually impaired people, but now widely used in articles to provide a text equivalent to the image provided. When using this on Instagram, not only should you describe the photo, but it should also have your main keywords related to what your post is about.
Remember when I said to ditch the clever 1-liner caption with emojis influencer trends? THIS IS ANOTHER REASON WHY! Because you want your content to be discoverable on searches, it makes it pretty difficult to use 3-5 niched keywords in a sentence. And in the world of SEO, keyword volume builds authority. The more niched keywords are in your captions, the better your content performs in a search.
Similarly when creating Instagram Guides, sprinkle your keywords in all the titles and descriptions. This has not been implemented, but my prediction is that Instagram will add some discoverability to Guides in the future. With this, adding keywords may improve the chances of your Guides to perform well in a search.
Remember in 2020 when there was a threat to ban TikTok in the US, and all the TikTok influencers panicked and tried to get their followers to follow them on Instagram? Whether you like it or not, you actually don’t own any of your social media followers. Even though these platforms aren’t going away any time soon, it’s vital to have a blog or website that you own and have full control over (not a Linktree or a Milkshake, A WEBSITE).
We all have our preferred social media platform, but it is always smart to create and repurpose content for multiple platforms. Why? People have different preferred ways to consume content. Some like Pinterest, some like YouTube videos. And not everyone on YouTube will have a TikTok. Not only does this increase your audience reach, but you’re now creating a wider impact.
You’re already creating TikToks, why not repurpose them for Reels? Why not repurpose them for Pinterest? Why not create a blog post that goes deeper?
Followers are your social media currency, which you can, then, leverage for monetizing with brand partnerships, or even when you have your own products or services. Diversifying platforms builds your social proof. Place your eggs in multiple baskets and see which platform takes off. Maybe all of it will!
As you diversify your social media platforms, you’ll have followers crossing over other platforms. This means you’ll have a lot of new followers who won’t be familiar with how to navigate around your content. The more you make your content easy to find, the better user experience your followers will have. They will appreciate all the value you give, but they will also love how easy it is to find answers they are looking for. If they find everything they need from you in one spot, the better you’ll keep them as a follower (or better yet, a customer).
Here are some examples:
Are you truly a person of influence? Or is it just perception that you do? It’s no secret that nano-influencers and micro-influencers are growing the favor of brands when finding creators for influencer campaigns. So if you’re still a small creator, know that it’s absolutely possible to get paid well in digital content marketing. Like I mentioned, people on social media are now becoming more conscious about who they follow on social media. They value connection, alignment in beliefs, relationship and whom they find they can learn from. And even more so when we were asked to stay at home in March.
Even though followers are considered your digital currency, the strength of those numbers will depend on how well you cultivate those relationships. The tactics of opting into “giveaway loops” or buying followers to inflate your follower numbers will hurt your influencer career in the long run, so think about what strategies you’ve been using to become an influencer. The importance of fostering deeper relationships and volume of conversations don’t just matter to the brands you work with, but also to your followers should you decide to turn your influence into a brand and offer products and/or services.
On the topic of influencer campaigns, expect a stronger push for long-term partnerships and ambassadorships over one-time sponsorships. As much as brands find amazing results with campaign-based collaborations (where Brands hire multiple influencers to promote the same product in the same time frame), they are finding even better awareness, response and sales with long-term partnerships. Why?
Consumers need to build trust. The Marketing Rule of 7 states that a consumer needs to see a product at least 7 times before making a purchase. And the more they see their favorite influencers promoting the same Brand over and over, it establishes trust and authenticity. Not to mention, you build long-term relationships with brands and PR agencies who will likely want to work with you again.
Let’s face it: change is a part of life. It shouldn’t be an exception in the digital world. People digest information they see online differently, so it’s important to be versatile and have a purpose behind what you’re putting out there. The more we rely on the internet for information and connection, the more demand there is for influencers to show more of who they are than just pretty content. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, an influencer, a small business, a digital creator, etc., the need for value, authenticity, and person-to-person connection has become the standard.
This PDF includes tips, tricks, & expert advice on how I've grown my Instagram. This isn't just ANYTHING you can Google. These are tried & true strategies I've used over the last 7 years in the influencer industry, understanding how to use the behavior of the algorithm to work to your advantage.