In 2024 new influencer trends will see them become increasingly indispensable to brands looking to tap into new consumer segments. Greater competition for eyeballs and the rapid pace of emerging trends have placed influencers at the core of every digital campaign. As marketers search for greater ROI on their social media strategies, the power of influencers to amplify the growth of brands make them a standout in the modern marketing toolkit.
With that in mind, here are the top influencer trends to be aware of in 2024.
The rise of the chief influencer officer reflects the natural convergence of marketing and social media in the digital age. While the title chief influencer officer isn’t yet universally standard, its emergence underscores a few key trends. The first of these is the decline of traditional advertising due to consumers’ lack of trust in it paired with their heavy use of ad blockers.
In this context influencers lend a far more authentic connection with audiences, especially when they genuinely use or believe in the products they’re endorsing. Thanks to platforms like Instagram, TikTok and YouTube, influencers add a personal touch that can be hard to match. Businesses in the know have reacted to this development by appointing a chief influencer officer to curate and manage relationships with key influencers.
A chief influencer officer is responsible for implementing a strategic, long-term approach to influencer marketing. This ensures better brand alignment and better campaign outcomes, and puts businesses in a position to quickly capitalise on new trends and manage potential crises should they arise.
Influencers mostly leverage their large followings on behalf of the brands that employ them, but more lately they have also taken advantage of their clout to start their own businesses, kick-start their dream careers, build multiple revenue streams and more. In Australia numerous influencers represented by Talent 26 Agency have branched out to launch their passion projects off the back of their success.
Examples include mum influencer Steph Pase who launched stationery brand Steph Pase Planners, Instagram star Jessiika Wilson, founder of baby keepsake shop Bloom Store, nutritionist Dani Guy who established @biteriteco, and internet personality Mel Watts who launched Ola The Label.
As one of the world’s most successful influencers, Huda Kattan of Huda Beauty fame is another prime example of this phenomenon. With humble beginnings as a beauty blogger and makeup artist, Kattan’s intimate understanding of her audience plays a huge role in the brand’s success.
Having invested a great deal of time and effort in cultivating their audience, influencers enjoy an enviable amount of control over their branding, narrative and ethos. Rather than relying solely on brand partnerships or ad revenue, starting their own ventures allows influencers to diversify their income, work on passion projects and maintain a direct relationship with their fans.
2024 will see the legitimisation of influencers as a crucial part of brand strategy. In turn influencers are increasingly focused on building long-term relationships with brands as they aspire to build sustainable careers over hard-and-fast cash grabs.
To this end nurturing long-term relationships with their followers ensures a consistent stream of income and collaboration opportunities. Promoting a brand or product consistently over time comes across as more genuine than one-time endorsements. On top of bolstered credibility, repeat partnerships also streamline the content creation process as brand and influencer become familiar with each other’s expectations, communication styles and preferences.
In this way it becomes easier to build a consistent brand image over time. As influencers seek to nurture and deepen their connection with their audience, these long-term relationships signal commitment and discernment from both sides and ultimately contribute to creating a loyal and engaged fanbase.
Employers are increasingly valuing applicants with an online following as workers become more comfortable with sharing their experiences online. An employee with a significant online following is particularly valuable in high visibility roles, such as those in marketing, public relations or sales where audience reach can translate directly into increased eyeballs for the company.
In addition to the ready-made audience they bring with them, these employees are digitally savvy and are masters at building and maintaining an online following. With their deep understanding of digital platforms, algorithms and content strategies, combined with their knowledge of branding principles and reputation management, applicants with an online fanbase potentially make for excellent employees.
As brands look to hone their future competitiveness, employees with active online audiences are privy to a stream of valuable feedback, which could help in refining products, strategies and campaigns. Against the backdrop of a rapidly changing digital environment, employees who have successfully built and maintained an online following over time likely possess the adaptability and resilience employers value.
Micro reality show influencers or those who showcase snippets of their daily lives on platforms like TikTok, Instagram and YouTube are on the rise as audiences seek relatable entertainment and candid moments from popular influencers. Those who nail the art of sharing authentic, unfiltered moments from their daily lives tend to enjoy a higher level of engagement and trust compared to traditional celebrities.
Thanks to the rise of TikTok, there’s a growing appetite for short, digestible content. For fans of micro influencers, the real-time aspect often prompts direct engagement, with viewers more likely to comment, like and share. This further fosters the impression that a true two-way connection exists between the influencer and their audience. Watchers often feel like they’re living these shared moments right alongside their favourite influencers.
Micro reality show influencers often have specific niches, whether it’s parenting, dating, cooking, DIY or fitness. This allows viewers with specific interests to find influencers whose content directly resonates with their own lives, making them a more trusted source of recommendations. The accessibility, immediacy and intimacy that characterises micro influencers puts them in a uniquely powerful position to go viral and generates additional opportunities to appear in more shows.
Live shopping or the combination of livestreaming and e-commerce is a significant growth area and one set to take over the world. In markets like China this trend is already evolving into a sophisticated machine where influencers are drivers of the most exciting and effective content.
From live demonstrations, where influencers utilise live streams to show off products in real time, to exclusive launches in partnership with brands, the potential to create buzz around an authentic and immediate live shopping session is immense.
Just like traditional affiliate marketing, influencers cashing in on live shopping can expect to earn a commission for every sale made through their live shopping stream. To increase engagement and sales, influencers may choose to incorporate games, quizzes or challenges into their live streams, offer limited-time discounts or prizes for participation, or pool their audiences together by collaborating with another influencer.
Performance-based deals with influencers focus on tangible outcomes rather than just exposure. As influencer marketing continues to gain legitimacy, the need for more accountability and measurable results will drive the increase in performance-based deals. Aside from pay-per-sale affiliate-type marketing, there’s the pay-per-click model and tiered compensation, where influencers receive payments or bonuses based on reaching specific performance milestones, such as a certain number of sign-ups, app installations or competition entries.
Other types of performance-based measures include the revenue sharing of a flat fee or commission where influencers receive a percentage of the revenue they generate over a certain period. Performance bonuses can even be linked to content metrics like video views, shares or engagement rates. Whether they’re contracted to drive sales or engagement, the highly measurable nature of interaction in the digital realm means there’s no shortage of performance measures that can be applied to influencer marketing.
As artificial intelligence makes its way into various industries, influencers are well ahead of the pack when it comes to leveraging AI to enhance content creation, audience engagement and personal branding. For starters, AI algorithms can analyse past content and audience metrics to suggest ideal topics for content, formats and posting times, making it a powerful tool in the influencer’s arsenal.
Then there’s the realm of image and video enhancement. With the help of AI tools, the previously time-consuming tasks of editing photos and video can be completed in a matter of minutes. Podcasters and video creators will find that AI is a big help in voice modulation, creating voice-overs in different languages, captioning, generating synthetic voices and more.
In the area of trend forecasting, AI’s ability to sift through vast tracts of online data to predict emerging trends will help influencers stay ahead of the curve and align their content with what’s about to be popular. AI can also assess comments and feedback to gauge audience sentiment, so that influencers are better placed to understand what content is resonating and what needs to be adjusted.
Mikhailla Fitzgerald is director of 26 Talent Agency.
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