2020 as we know, introduced an overwhelming amount of change. In the face of a pandemic and countless social issues, we’ve all adapted to a different way of viewing the world. Our shifting reality has changed the way brands and influencers interact with their audiences and with each other. As we continue to adapt to the changes, we should continue to expect a shift in the digital marketing realm.

Here are a few predictions we’ve made about the shifts that marketers will experience in 2021.  These predictions can hopefully serve as tips to follow when curating your brand’s digital marketing campaigns this year.

Expect micro-influencers to become more prominent.

In recent years, brands and businesses have discovered the many benefits of utilizing micro-influencers for their marketing campaigns in place of well-known macro-influencers. 2020 taught us some important lessons regarding partnering with micro-influencers. Here are a few key benefits that we learned about partnering with micro-influencers.

  • First, macro-influencers can make a significant dent in a brand’s budget, meaning they are often too expensive to work with. Brands are realizing that excessive spending on macro-influencers is unnecessary and can hinder the return on their investment. Here’s why:

Marketing directly to your brand’s unique niche is essential for successful digital marketing. Extremely popular macro-influencers who have a colossal number of followers will be less effective in reaching that niche audience than a micro-influencer would. Macro-influencers reach a substantial audience in general, but not as much of your audience.

  • One of the most beneficial parts of working with micro-influencers that brands have noticed is their tendency to convey authenticity. Choosing to work with micro-influencers whose values and interests align with those of the brand is vital. Once this is in place, their messaging will reach your niche audience in a real, authentic voice. In contrast, when a macro-influencer promotes a brand, it can seem like just another job they agreed to rather than a genuine promotion of a product they love.

Because of these key benefits, we expect micro-influencers to continue to thrive in marketing campaigns in 2021.

Brands will have to take action against social issues. 

2020 was a year that caused us to learn more about the social issues around us. More and more brands and influencers alike have been encouraged to stand up against several social issues, causing a significant shift in focus for the digital marketing realm. In their 2020 #BrandsGetReal series, SproutSocial found that 70% of consumers say it’s important for brands to take a stand on social and political issues, up from 66% in 2017. Taking a stand and spreading awareness about social issues will continue to be just as crucial in 2021. Customers want to ensure that they are supporting a brand that shares their values.

However, we predict that speaking up and taking a stand will not be enough for brands and businesses in this new year and in the years to come. With our rocky social climate, consumers want to see brands take action. This is mainly because consumers know that brands have the power to make a difference. 

Many large brands have already implemented actions to be taken against injustice. For example, Peloton announced this past year that they would be investing $100 million to fight racial injustice and inequity across five areas. Expect many more companies to follow this example soon as it becomes more important to their consumers.

Brand-influencer relationships will be more important than ever.

Lastly, as authenticity is the most critical factor of successful digital marketing, we expect a more significant focus on the relationships that brands form with influencers.

Younger generations are often over-exposed to curated marketing on social media platforms. At this point, they can easily sniff out any fake-ness in the content they receive. The best way to portray genuine authenticity to an audience is for the influencer to connect, know, and trust the brand they are sponsoring.

Merely offering a check to influencers in hopes they will relay authentic content to their following will no longer do the trick in the digital marketing realm. 

Brands must put in more effort towards building strong relationships and trust with the influencers they partner with. This can take time, but the results for both the brand and the influencer will make it all worth it. 

As always, marketers must be ready to adapt to constant change. We hope these predictions will help guide you in your marketing endeavors for 2021!