Marketing trends come and go, but the pandemic taught us that influencer relationships and fresh, creative marketing tactics are fundamental to sustaining brand growth.
2021 B2C marketing insights revealed:
- Consumers are less likely to trust mainstream media and are more likely to rely on their relationships with influencers before considering a purchase.
- Gen Z dominates the creator economy and will soon become the largest cohort of consumers—and brands who want a piece of this opportunity will need to understand their tendencies and digital expectations.
- Business competition continues to grow. Since June 2020, the average number of monthly new businesses formed is 92% higher compared to the previous 16 years.
The year 2022 presents new marketing challenges for brand growth. Third-party data is dead, making it even harder for a brand to deliver targeted digital advertising to the right audience at the right moments. According to 44% of marketers, they will need to increase their spending by 5% to 25% to achieve the same goals as 2021 because of this, too. In other words, how can a brand grow its awareness without majorly increasing its media budget?
Even though influencer marketing and community building are both important marketing strategies, if they are not hyper-focused and targeted, they can be time-consuming and costly. So how does a brand scale its marketing efforts to reduce overhead and focus on high-impact tactics?
Invest in technology that scales and improves your Influencer relationships
The Influencer Marketing Industry is expected to hit $13.8bn this year. With nearly 50% of Twitter respondents relying on influencers for product recommendations, and 52% of buying decisions influenced by Facebook, influencer marketing tactics (think relationships) are now THE foundation for return on ad spend. If you don’t have some sort of influencer marketing strategy in the works…are you even relevant?
The Creator Economy is permanently shifting the way brands do business with influencers, who demand a level of ease, professionalism, and respect. Creators are banding together to demand fair pay and transparency in rates, as well as investing in their own communities and forums to expand their personal brands and grow their businesses. Ask yourself, “What tools and resources will creators need to create the highest quality content for my brand and deliver the best results?””
Investing in platforms that scale creative marketing efforts and foster healthy, long-term relationships with creators is crucial for marketing teams. Benefits of an influencer business tool include:
- Quick creator onboarding like W9s, shared file storage, and more
- Improved creator and influencer communication and simplified workflows
- Seamless usage/whitelisting rights for paid ads
- Access to credit lines to increase influencer sponsorships
- Easy invoicing and mass pay abilities to reduce AP headaches and avoid delays from tedious approval processes between departments
- Compliance with new tax considerations, like the new IRS $600 payment app threshold
Interested in learning more about building better creator relationships? View our playbook on how to maximize your influencer relationships to achieve the best creative results.
Lean into Pinterest
Despite not being the newest kid on the block, kudos are definitely in order for this content platform that consistently engages users. Pinterest’s Global Monthly Active Users (MAUs) have grown 30% year over year since launch to 478 million, and their shift in creator-first mentality is generating headlines. By announcing their new monetization platform and brand-new rewards program for 2022, Pinterest is doubling down on making their platform offer the tools creators need to focus on their business goals, including increased brand partnerships.
Pinterest offers a very healthy consumer landscape, as well. Unlike TikTok, a survey of US Pinterest users found that age demographics are nearly split with 32% aged 18-29, 34% aged 30-49 and 38% aged 50-64. New types of video formats like ‘Idea Pins’ and a TikTok-like “Watch” tab can help amplify creative assets. This platform allows posts to live for 3-4 months (sometimes longer), so brands do not need to worry about their creative going viral to make an impact.
Consider experimenting with a marketing campaign on Pinterest to see how your audience responds. Partnering with Pinterest influencers and extending your creative practices to this marketing channel will no doubt increase your brand awareness as well as increase revenue over time.
Get your Twitch on
Think of Twitch as the new wild west, with endless possibilities for advertising. Twitch nearly doubled monthly broadcasters in 2020 and grew 6.9 million, and in 2021, 8% of brands reported a penchant for influencer marketing on this streamer platform. As Twitch expands its content beyond gaming to other creative categories including fitness, beauty, and art, it shows that live streaming isn't just for fun, it's a marketing tool that helps brands stand out.
Advertising tactics on this platform should be creative entertainment first, and sales second. Patrick O’Keefe, VP of Integrated Marketing at cosmetics-house ‘Elf’, tested Twitch to “grow and explore frontiers” in 2021. Partnering with gamer LoserFruit generated a successful, engaging, and very creative campaign with over 100K views and increased their brand awareness with Gen Z consumers.
Even fashion house Burberry has partnered with Twitch to “create a truly live, interactive, never to be repeated experience.“ Talk about venturing into a new creative tactic in 2022!
Because streamers trust their community much more than businesses, shout-outs, giveaways, and unboxings of products are the best ways to generate demand on Twitch. With nearly 80% of Twitch users open to brands sponsoring a specific gamer or team, finding the right channel and setting up a paid project will be a worthwhile marketing investment in 2022.
Double down on niche, micro-sponsorships
In 2022, marketers will need to concentrate much of their efforts on reinforcing how their products or services address customer needs.
Why? This is because, as mentioned above, such a significant portion of consumers rely on influencers and sources outside of the brand itself. To foster authentic, deeper connections with their audiences, brands should partner with highly trusted and engaging community leaders, such as influencers. This inbound marketing tactic is becoming ever more critical for brand growth. In 2019, 80% of marketers said influencer marketing is effective, and 89% said it worked just as well (if not better) than other marketing channels. In a survey conducted by Hubspot, 86% of marketers plan to continue investing the same amount or increase their investment in influencer marketing in 2022.
Although larger influencer partnerships are worth your time, niche, micro-influencer sponsorships are also worth your time this year. Data shows that compared to macro-influencers, micro-influencers can deliver up to “a 60% increased engagement rate and a 20% higher conversion rate.” This is a staggeringly high statistic for any brand that simply cannot compete with a larger media budget and require innovative, fresh tactics for results.
Quality sponsorships mean less time sourcing more sponsorships = more time nourishing the right sponsorships for incremental growth!
Through niche sponsorships, your brand has streamlined access to a hyper-curated community enabling a degree of targeting that’s impossible with macro-influencers. Tap into platforms like Circle, Patreon, Discord, and even Reddit to open up a whole new world of community forums and audiences. If your brand contributes to these social platform communities, you'll become recognizable and loved by the consumers who are a part of them, too.
Take a look at trends in crypto
Keeping an eye on the future is the key to successful marketing. Social tokens, NFTs, and other cryptocurrencies are a big topic in the Creator Economy and will undoubtedly shape the future of business between brands and influencers, content creators, and freelancers. Businesses like Twitter, Patreon, and even smaller brands like BBTV see this as a major value to their creative strategy and offer crypto as a selling point when doing business with their platform.
Not only does this position a brand as creator-friendly but it also gives brands a competitive edge when negotiating payments or contract terms, especially with Gen Z creators. After processing millions of dollars in creator payments, Lumanu is prioritizing a crypto approach so brands can do better business with their creators, too.
Besides paying in crypto, platform social tokens might be the next big ‘membership pass’. These tokens promise to drive lasting loyalty, keeping audiences engaged and thereby increasing customer lifetime value. In a Creator-focused marketing world that relies on community building and relationships to grow your brand awareness, planning to include payment options such as Crypto will most definitely work in your favor for brand growth in 2022.