In my last year’s predictions, I definitely missed the COVID19 crisis – that one was really hard to predict. Nevertheless, the influencer marketing industry weathered it well – in so many ways even better than other industries. The reason? Because it’s slim and lean – most production is based in an influencer’s home or outdoors. So 2020 saw a lot of low budget yet great social media influencer production!
For 2021, I predict content, messaging and platform resets in our world “thanks” to post-COVID19 (as well as coming from the U.S. election results):
1. Social Media Content Reset
There are two main reasons reasons why I predict a huge content reset in 2021:
1. The world is winning the COVID-19 war with a new tech/vaccines, and ain’t nowhere better to bring this news to the world than Instagram/Tiktok/Twitter and the like. This will bring waves of new optimism (vs the foe/friend 2020 apocalypse). We’ll also see more people seeking outdoor-activities.
2. Joe Biden will be the new President of the United States of America, and seems to be determined to change the approach to world issues to “let’s solve the world’s issues together, in the U.N.” And Twitter, Facebook and other platforms have already already signaled that they’ll prioritize this message in their algorithms.
We will therefore see brand new post-apocalypse topics of conversation and content thrown onto social platforms, especially:
- Vaccinations – campaigns to promote them, vs not
- New happiness and optimism seekers content (such as “we can hug again” or “we can shake hands” photography, we can go to parties, etc.
- Totally new political content in the US and from there to the world – green new deals? int’l collaboration on terrorism? global committee on virus prevention?
- More than we ever we see messaging supporting people of color and women.
- Outdoor products, services and brands will get very popular.
- Content related to airlines, traveling, outdoor concerts, restaurants, nature, travel destinations (eg Thailand) will dominate
There will be the millions upon millions of SMI* who will be recruited to explain those messages to the world’s social media citizens. Furthermore, if in the past each SMI community was focused around one niche topic, we will see more co-operation between different communities toward those goals.
*SMI = Social Media influencers. Source: Who is an influencer?
2. New Brands
Taking into account Yelp’s August report, by the beginning of 2021 over 200,000 U.S. businesses had closed permanently during the pandemic. The hit was not only on retail stores, but also airlines, malls, oil producers, etc.
Nevertheless, consumers – as well as B2B players – have new dreams now. If you want to become a founder of a new startup or a new brand, 2021 is your best bet! The desire for new content (outdoorsy, optimism, hugging is permitted, etc.) and new priorities in life will bring the birth of new kinds of brands.
And in this new reality, influencer equity deals will allow those brands to reach the marketplace quickly, without a huge investment:
3. Influencer Equity deals
The new startup/brand founders will seek to bring SMI in. The reason: many businesses have less revenue now, and yet not less starving for the success of their inventions.
They know by now that SMI are connected with their upcoming brand audience. They know those SMI can bring attention to their brands’ product/services. They are also realizing that a short-term deal with an SMI brings a blip of traffic for a day or two and no more and are looking for something more substantial. They are also looking for more effective long-term solutions to get to the market in a big way. As a result, more equity deals will be offered and closed with SMI.
4. Platform Shakeup
Social media platforms will also see a fascinating shakeup…:
- Less Internet (!!): Internet use will go a bit down for the first time… especially home use.
- Back to Pres. Biden – among the other 47% of U.S. – those that voted for his opponent – – are many who feel alienated from 2020 social media channels, such especially from Twitter, Facebook, Snap and other mainstream channels. This will put increasing pressure on those channels, and will lead to new competition and the skyrocketing of new channels such as Parler***. These channels will have their own influencers who exist outside of the traditional cable TV and conservative talk radio spaces.
- Google’s YouTube “shorts” and Keen (its Pinterest competitor) will cease to operate.
- TikTok’s power will diminish, for many reasons: Instagram will manage to clone them well via Reels, and because people are looking for the new new things and concerned with privacy issues, etc.
- All platforms will give the same video length for everyone..:
5. Influencer Tools will Continue to Suck, Not Without Consequences
Tools that match SMI to brands and marketplaces never worked well (for obvious reasons). Don’t expect those to work better this year – they won’t. Many of them will continue to spam the writer of this article daily with “our new amazing tool.” This is really sad because:
a. Most SMI are starving – the tools either don’t bring them deals, or they bring them “$20” deals for 3 days of work
b. Companies (small, medium and large) are in a bad financial state, and are laying off workers. They desperately need the attention of relevant communities on social media, and such an attention can be found via SMI.
As a result, they need to connect and I see it as a possibility that SMI and brands will take the matter into their own hands and:
a. Manually communicate directly one with another (mainly through social media DMs) more than ever.
b. Work through SMI communities (and organizations such as AIC). These will be created by SMI themselves, not by third-party companies. Such communities will be a good tool to help matching brands to SMI, without inefficient middlemen/agencies.
6. SMI Stand-Alone Production House Forever
Last year it was largely impossible to keep using conventional big production companies and content creation studios (internal and/or external) – actors, models, and staff would were locked in their homes and were restricted from gathering due to the pandemic. Instead, SMI were sometimes hired to do a job that was previously given to a group of dozens if not hundreds of specialists at mega agencies. The result: SMI did a wonderful job (not surprisingly, didn’t I tell you SMI are perfect for story-telling and very inexpensive too?) and are hungry for more.
Don’t believe me? Check out Seth, a Macro-Influencer with an impressive 4% engagement on his Instagram account who completed a paid promotion for N26 app, from his home:
The ones that had most fun – even during the pandemic – were the virtual SMIs… Here is Seraphie – she could go out and skate freely, anytime….:
Besides outdoor & indoor content creation, Seraphie does amazingly with her KPI – her average number of comments on her posts is 101,456, Likes are 1,303 and she has a dazzling 22% engagement rate, which is insane and therefore makes her super in demand.
SMI as a stand-alone production studio have been recognized in 2020 as the gold standard. In 2021 even more projects will be routed to established content-creation capable SMIs. They will establish even better records and will eventually become the standard, replacing internal and mega production studios (and, eventually, down, down, down the road, will cost almost the same amount).
7. SMI Pods as a Shelter
Social media algorithms will make it even more difficult to stay on followers’ radars for SMI. As a results, pods and boost groups will continue to flourish. Nevertheless, lLooking ahead, expect less good traditional KPI performance by SMI.
8. SMI Affiliation on the Rise
It is clear that affiliation is becoming a “thing,” especially with new SMIs. Looking forward, this trend will grow and only the good resellers/businesses will survive.
Happy 2021 to all my readers!!!!
Your eccentric marketing servant,
NG aka DearMishuDad