Are social media influencers really worth the effort?

There is always much talk regarding the real impact of social media influencers. Are they really worth the time to recruit and, as importantly, are they worth a chunk of your marketing budget? It does appear as if it just may be worth the effort for a small business to take on a social media influencer with a large following to help drive traffic and increase brand awareness. In some recently published data and research from Forbes, the influence of the influencers just may be gaining some serious momentum. The following is taken directly from that published research:

  • TikTok’s explosive initial growth was fueled by young adults. Now, the short-form video content platform is gaining cross-generational appeal. This consumer shift will likely drive a shift in brand spending, and we think sponsored content partnerships will become more common on the platform. At the beginning of 2021, only 9% of marketers were using the platform; by the time we conducted our mid-year influencer marketing survey, more than half of all marketing agencies polled said they intended to do a sponsored TikTok collaboration within the year.
  • Despite TikTok’s popularity, Instagram wins when it comes to new features focused on content creators and brand partnerships. Last year, Instagram developed Collabs, which allows creators to build content together and then take advantage of a larger shared audience, as well as “Add Yours” stickers to boost Story engagement. Instagram’s link stickers also provide new opportunities for nano- and micro-influencers to create direct traffic to brand landing pages, so they can more easily quantify the benefits they create for brands.

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  • The pandemic proved the importance of a digital presence and e-commerce capabilities. In 2022, we will probably see a continuing shift toward social commerce as more consumers embrace shopping directly from social networks. With platforms’ push for in-app shopping, influencers are becoming the entire marketing funnel. Brands will be able to leverage them as an awareness strategy and as a purchase driver.
  • Last year, LinkedIn launched a new function — “Creator mode” — aimed directly at professionals seeking a foothold in the influencer world. This mode allows business leaders to leverage their expertise and be intentional about building community on the platform. Brands should look at this as an opportunity to leverage the reach and expertise of LinkedIn influencers in their respective industries and develop cross-promotional partnerships that take advantage of the platform’s broader push to incentivize content creation.
  • We predict that 2022 will be a year when partnerships between brands and influencers are stronger, more diverse and more purposeful than ever. The digital transformation continues to bring retail online, which means brands need more creative online partnerships to differentiate them in an all-digital space. We’re looking forward to seeing influencers refine their offerings and take advantage of the growing respect afforded to them by both platforms and brands alike.

-Written by Kevin Sawyer