Influencer marketing in 2021: increasing transparency and social responsibility

Influencer partnerships are not a new strategy, and it’s no secret that the popularity of influencer marketing has skyrocketed over the past few years.

In fact, a recent Insider Intelligence report on the marketing situation of influencers during COVID-19 found that the industry is on a track worth up to $ 15 billion by 2022, compared to $ 8 billion in 2019.

Despite the concerns that marketing is suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic, we have in fact seen the opposite – a huge shift towards a ‘first digital’ strategy. Since most of us spend more time online than ever before, it’s no surprise that influencer marketing is showing no signs of slowing down. But if there is anything that the events of the past year have taught us, it is that nothing is constant. And as the industry matures, so do regulations and expectations. Therefore, brands need to keep pace.

With so much uncertainty in a year, the impetus for transparency, integrity, authenticity and a deeper connection can now be expected, influencing intelligence Considering that 90% of marketers claim that proving authenticity is critical to the future of influencers’ marketing. With that in mind, we’ll explain the current state of the industry and share our key tips on how companies can keep up.

So what has changed?

If we rewind for just a few short years, the world we lived in was a different place. From COVID-19 to the Black Lives Matter movement, there is no doubt that 2020 had a huge impact on the worldview and the issues that matter to us. With the fact that there is now much more openness and transparency around the impact of social media on mental health, it is not surprising that the marketing landscape of influencers has also shifted.

Whereas in the past our communication flows were filled with reality stars who sold teeth whitening products and detox teas, now the marketing of influencers is more about reflecting social problems and creating genuine and meaningful connections with customers.

The result? Greater sense of social responsibility – from brands to influencers and consumers themselves.

How can companies keep up?

As for social responsibility, new guidelines Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) note that when creating socially responsible content, brands need to focus on three areas. These are:

  • Body image
  • Gender stereotypes
  • Men’s beauty standards

This is important because, for the first time, the industry is recognizing the responsibility that advertisers have to avoid harming consumers and the wider audience.

Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint

“The creator’s ability to be connected and bring value to the audience will be the main trend of social media in 2021. People are tired of constant gifts and “advertisements”. They want real life, real people and real advice and suggestions. ”

– Aundrea Rosenbaum, Influencer and Public Relations, Dell Via Influencer Non-social media 2021 report

It is no longer enough to just talk and just become aware of the problems. Instead, brands and companies now have to prove that they are actually operating. But it is important to understand that this “movement” is not going away – instead of seeing diversity and inclusion as “progressive”, it is important that we move the narrative so that it eventually becomes the norm in the industry.

Everything is related to a long game. Perceptions can’t change overnight, and so influential marketing is about succeeding in partnership with the right influencers in ongoing long-term projects that help strengthen trust in your brand.

After all, making a sale takes some time, and a lasting relationship can help improve authenticity while giving you more exposure. Just make sure the influencers you partner with are in line with your company’s values, code of ethics, and corporate social responsibility plan.

Align your partnership with your ethical values

As the industry strives for diversity and inclusion, brands are affected by the type of influencers they choose to partner with. Not only do you see the likelihood that brands will work with manufacturers from a much broader background, but now it’s all about working with creators who share the same values ​​and ethics as your brand.

Given that a large proportion of influencers are targeted at younger audiences, it is clear why this change is needed. For example, Gen Z – those born after 1995 – target value for the reasons they believe in and, with their digital sustainability, are more likely to make informed decisions about the brands and companies they buy from.

In fact, it was found in Facebook research 68% of General Zers expect brands to contribute to society at the same time 61% they say they would pay more for a product or service than it would be ethical and sustainable.

Being inclusive is no longer an option

The relationship between social media and mental health cannot be ignored and The increase in social activity in 2020 highlighted the lack of diversity in the marketing landscape of influencers. This has forced many brands and companies to address issues and topics from which they may deviate in the past – social activity is no longer an option, but it is what most consumers expect.

Although it will take time to implement across the landscape of influencers, and there are still many questionable tactics of brands and creators, we are finally seeing companies working with a much wider range of influencers, especially for people with minorities and minority backgrounds.

A brand that truly embraces this idea of ​​inclusion and diversity is a sustainable brand of sportswear and sofa clothing TALA. An ideal example of how a brand is moving in the right direction, they constantly share content about body positivity and use a variety of models and influencers from different backgrounds and ethnicities to show how exactly their products affect ‘normal people’. This is really important for normalizing any type of body, instead of assuming what their main customers look like.

Another great example is Rhianna’s Fenty Beauty rida. Praised for its message of diversity and inclusion, the brand recognizes that not all skin colors have the same undertone or pigmentation, and has therefore decided to create an inclusive range that reaches the widest possible audience. After all, the beauty industry has been criticized for years for its limited range of brands and the exclusion of color people.

Similarly, Fenty Beauty has a positive impact on the social media landscape by working to change perceptions of gender stereotypes and male beauty standards and is a regular partner with various ambassadors, including quirky and non-binary figures such as creator Jazzelle Zanaughtti and rapper Lil Nas X.

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