The Influencer marketing landscape is ever changing; and with Influencer marketing trends 2022, there’s so much to keep up with this year! A big part of finding success as an Influencer is understanding trends and keeping up to date with best practices so that you can continue to grow your influence and scale your business.
At Sidewalker Daily, we cover all things Influencer marketing and Creator economy. Because we work with brands on their Influencer marketing campaigns, we understand the brand perspective. We also work with Creators through one on one coaching sessions, our Creator community and digital courses to help them build their businesses. This puts us in a unique position to be on the pulse of Influencer marketing– since we work on both sides of the industry.
To help you get a jumpstart on the Influencer Marketing Trends 2022, we put together a list of the top trends you need to know so you can be prepared and potentially even incorporate them into your marketing strategy if you’re a brand, or your overall business strategy if you’re an Influencer or Creator.
1) Influencer Marketing Is Now The Standard
For a long time, Influencer marketing only caught the attention of certain brands, while others overlooked it almost entirely. But there has certainly been a shift in this perspective over the last year or so! (And we’re beyond excited to say this.) More than ever before, brands started seeing the positive effects of Influencer marketing and now truly understand how powerful it can be. As brands experimented with using Influencers to market their products and services and grow their digital presence, they collected data and insights to analyze their efforts and figure out if working with influencers is worth the marketing spend. They realized what works and what doesn’t, what types of Creators they like working with and how they can continue using Influencers and Creators in their business growth strategy for years to come.
If 2021 was the year of more brands experimenting with Influencer marketing, 2022 will be the year of scaling it. Influencer marketing is no longer just an option to consider, it’s the standard. Expect to see most brands, if not all, finally build out an Influencer strategy into their existing marketing plans. No matter who they are, brands everywhere will be on board the Influencer train in order to keep up with the constantly growing, ever-successful industry.
2) Brands Will Target Existing Communities
What’s one of the main reasons brands work with Influencers? Because Influencers have audiences who trust them! Brands want to leverage this relationship to help their own businesses grow. So, it really comes as no surprise that we’re seeing brands spend less time trying to create their own communities or even their own paid social campaigns. Instead, they’re leaning into Influencers’ existing communities and using them to promote their products and services.
If you’re an Influencer or Creator, this is your sign to hone in on your niche and really build out a targeted community. The more niche your community is, the stronger your brand collaboration pitches will be and the more opportunity you’ll have to work with brands. They’ll want access to your very specific community!
3) Anyone Can Influence
We’re calling it now: 2022 will be the year of the Influencer and Creator! And by that we mean that we expect to see more and more individuals being paid for content, regardless of the type of content it is that they create. Anyone can influence, and in fact, we called this long ago because we know that there is a space for everyone in this industry, especially with the rise of niche communities. Either way, moving into 2022 the barriers for entry are lower, and brands are looking to work with anyone who has Influence over any given niche. No longer are there just “general style” Influencers, for example, that exist as a catch-all type of account for all beauty products.
Here at Sidewalker Daily, we work with Creators at all levels and in almost every niche. From travel creators to fashion influencers to nurse influencers and even woodworking influencers, we’ve seen it all and are confident that there is space for everyone to succeed. With a focused niche, strong content and an engaged community, the sky is the limit and this is one of our favorite Influencer Marketing Trends 2022!
4) Influencers Experimenting with NFTs
Influencers and brands have begun collaborating on different NFT collectibles and creating different collections. This is going to allow Influencers to monetize off of their most viral content. We saw an example of it with TikTok; they did an entire “on the moment” campaign, where they allowed fans to own viral moments from some of their biggest Creators.
TikTok has always led the way when it comes to giving back to and valuing Creators. While TikTok was one of the first in the Influencer space to create this kind of program, we can expect to see more and more brands working with Influencers in the NFT space.
Creators are also starting to turn their work into NFTs and there are niche creator communities focusing on the NFT space and making money off of their content in this way in additional to their other revenue streams.
5) Brands Will Finally Invest in TikTok
The digital marketing space is constantly evolving, and we’re all used to that by now. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easy for everyone to accept new techniques and platforms overnight! It takes time for brands to get comfortable with new platforms– we saw this with Instagram several years ago and we’re seeing it with TikTok now.
But the marketing trends in 2022 are definitely leaning towards a huge acceptance of TikTok as the place to be. Brands are finally going to understand the power of TikTok and how it can improve conversions and sell more products. A lot of millennials are using TikTok as a search engine, literally searching the app for the things they’re interested in or for solutions to their problems. Now that brands are seeing this behavior, (and seeing it pay off), the platform will only continue to grow as a prime space for Influencer marketing.
6) A Blurred Line Between Influencer And Creator
The line between Influencer and Creator has always been relatively thin, but as we move into 2022 it’s going to be harder to see at all. Before, Influencers would be paid by brands only to post content, but this seems to be changing as the skills of Influencers and Creators continue to grow. Brands are now working with Influencers in other ways, such as:
- Writing their email newsletter copy
- Managing their social media accounts
We’re seeing more Influencers taking on projects that freelance content creators would do, and we’ve even seen Influencers working in-house for some brands. For example, we worked with a Creator here recently at Sidewalker Daily who has evolved her relationship with a brand so that she now does 100% of their video content. That means she has the brand’s full video production budget allocated to her making amazing content for them all the time!
7) Influencer Marketing Strategy: Less “Pay to Play,” More Authenticity
When it comes to negotiating brand partnerships in the Influencer space, being “picky” is trending. And we mean that in a good way! Brands know that they can’t reach out to any Creator and ask them to promote their product quickly even if it’s not a good fit. The days of doing that are long gone, as people turn to Influencers for their specific value and personality. And Influencers know that this untargeted marketing wouldn’t work on their audiences anyways, and don’t want to risk losing the valuable trust they’ve earned from their followers.
As storytelling and authenticity take the lead in content strategy, long-term partnerships are going to become more common. Brands will want to work with Influencers for more than just a one-time post, and really build their story and purpose into the collaboration to build stronger relationships with the Influencers’ audience over time.
8) Brands Understanding Influencers’ Value Beyond Sponsored Posts
We’re not saying that sponsored posts are likely to go away, but we expect to see Influencer data to be used to inform brands’ greater marketing strategies as well as for social growth. Let’s look at an example to show what we mean.
Recently at Sidewalker Daily, we worked with an Influencer to help a brand grow their email list. They wanted to get more subscribers onto their email list, and used the Influencer to drive that growth. However, they didn’t stop there! They then used those emails to create Facebook campaigns of look-alike audiences. Because they were able to generate such large data from emails, the brand was able to use that in their campaigns on Instagram and Facebook ads.
Influencers are starting to come in handy for digital marketing initiatives in a variety of ways outside of just posting sponsored posts and brands are taking notice!
9) The Metaverse
We couldn’t talk about marketing trends in 2022 without talking about the Metaverse! Content is already coming out within the Metaverse and similar areas, like the fashion giant Gucci’s 100th anniversary launch on Roblox and Verizon’s 5G scavenger hunt, so we will definitely see more brands dabble in this space in 2022. And if brands go there, Influencers are likely to go as well, meaning brand partnerships may start popping up more in the Metaverse. Metaverse brand partnerships that replicate what’s already happening in the real world will likely begin this year so it’s an Influencer Marketing Trend 2022 to look out for!
10) Performance-Based Marketing
Affiliate marketing is nothing new, but sometimes we see Influencers who don’t focus on this type of monetization opportunity. If set up correctly, there is money to be made. With Instagram building out their own native affiliate tool, affiliate marketing will probably become more commonplace for Influencers on social media since the opportunity to make more money through affiliate commissions will be greater.
This affiliate marketing tool is also going to help brands measure the effectiveness of an Influencer campaign and make it easier for Influencers to monetize from the products they recommend.
11) More Social Media Platforms Supporting Influencers
Social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and TikTok are starting to increase their investments in the Creator Economy. In 2022 the focus on keeping Creators on their respective platforms will only increase since the competition is stiff– it won’t just be about drawing brands to the platforms anymore.
Consider Instagram. They’re creating a ton of tools within the platform that keeps the Creator engaged and makes the Creator want to spend their efforts to create content for Instagram instead of competing platforms. For example,
- Reels bonuses
- Badges on Lives
Both of these features are designed to incentivize Creators and Influencers to stay on the platform…because if they can’t make money there, they’ll likely move onto a platform where they can. There are plenty of places and ways to monetize your Influence these days, Creators just need to be strategic!
Whether it’s through bonuses, ad revenue share, or paid to post structures, expect to see social media platforms supporting Influencers in new and creative ways all throughout 2022. We wouldn’t be surprised if Instagram came out with a marketplace, similar to TikTok’s Creative Marketplace, to help facilitate relationships between brands and Creators too.
12) The Importance of Search In Influencer Marketing
If you work in the digital marketing space or are an Influencer, you’ve probably been annoyed with a social media algorithm at one point or another. And if you haven’t, you definitely know someone who has. There’s almost a never-ending list of ideas on how to beat the Instagram algorithm or keep up with the algorithm on social platforms, and they’re going to continue to evolve throughout 2022.
However, with the importance of search on both website and social content, we’re going to see a push for cleaner, tighter algorithms this year. From captions to tags, most everything is going to be searched-based. So for brands and Influencers partnering on content creation, making sure there is a strong focus on keywords is going to be a must to get content seen.
13) Diversity And Inclusion As An Industry Standard
Moving into 2022, we will now see brands focusing on diversity and inclusion more than ever and treating it as a standard.
Brands are making sure that they focus on representation in their influencer marketing campaigns and we can expect to see this as the future normal of Influencer marketing.
14) Livestream Shopping
With livestream shopping, brands use livestream feeds on social platforms to promote and sell their products. We often see Influencers involved in these types of campaigns, and we saw a lot of it in 2021 on Amazon. Given the success it had there, it wouldn’t be surprising to see other platforms, like Instagram, hopping onto the trend.
It’s already happening on Instagram in a way, with people going on Lives and promoting products. When they do this, their audiences can comment their interest or ask questions directly to the Influencer for immediate feedback. There is also potential for Instagram and TikTok to come up with a more formal tool for Livestream shopping directly on their platform, following suit from Amazon.
15) Influencer Whitelisting
We’ve been recommending to the Creators we work with to become familiar with Influencer Whitelisting for a while now, but if this is something you haven’t come across yet as an Influencer, you should expect to run into it this year. Whitelisting is when brands run paid ads through an Influencer or Creator’s social account to give a more authentic and organic feel to their advertisement while still having control over the audience the ad reaches. Brands are tapping into Influencers’ existing communities, trust they have with people online and their likeness more than ever so we will continue to see the rise of brands incorporating whitelisting into their brand partnerships as one of our Influencer Marketing Trends 2022.
16) Influencers Becoming Their Own Brands
Celebrity Influencers– the accounts with hundreds of thousands to millions of followers– are starting to branch out from working directly with brands. In 2022 we can expect to see more Influencers launching product lines and services of their own. As they become their own brands, they can directly sell to their customers (their followers) and benefit from their audiences in the same way we’ve seen brands benefit from them in the past.
The Influencer space has traditionally been about securing coveted brand partnerships and showing them off to followers. Influencers just weren’t as comfortable actually selling directly to their audience and wanted to focus more on being a “creative” than a salesperson. However, we think we’re going to see a lot more direct selling as Creators launch their own brands this year- from product lines to apps to courses etc.
17) Venture Capitalism And Influencers
If several years ago you said that VCs would someday be investing in Influencers, most people probably wouldn’t have believed you. Well, it’s now happening, and most likely won’t stop anytime soon. Venture capitalists are directly investing in Influencers– like YouTuber Marina Mogilko who received 1.7 million dollars in funding– because they see how valuable it is and they want a piece of the pie.
For this YouTube Creator, she received the funding in return for the VC getting 5% of her earnings for the next 30 years. Yup, 30 years. If that’s not a sign that this new trend is here to stay (and only going to grow), we don’t know what is. Expect to see more major investments in Influencers this year.
Influencer Marketing Trends in 2022: Influencer Marketing Strategy
Influencer marketing had a lot of growth and has made a lot of progress over the last year and as you can see, that means there’s a lot of exciting things to come! Here is a recap of the Influencer Marketing Trends 2022 we covered that you can expect to see over the course of the year:
1. Companies are no longer considering influencer marketing as a small part of their marketing initiatives- it’s the new standard.
2. Brands will focus less on building their own communities, and more on using Creators’ existing communities to market their products and services.
3. Anyone can influence- Influencers will be relevant in all niches and with all size followings!
4. More Influencers will experiment with NFTs in 2022.
5. Brands are finally accepting and understanding TikTok, which will bring more growth to the industry on this platform.
6. The line between Influencer, Creator and freelancer will continue to blur.
7. Influencer marketing strategy will be more about authenticity and continue with more long-term partnerships.
8. Digital marketing will find greater value in the data from influencer campaigns.
9. We can’t be sure what it’ll look like, but we predict there will be brand collabs in the Metaverse!
10. Performance based marketing will grow as it becomes native to social platforms.
11. Social media platforms now place a greater emphasis on supporting the Creator and helping them monetize.
12. The importance of search in Influencer marketing is growing each day.
13. Diversity and Inclusion is the industry standard.
14. More brands and social platforms will leverage livestream shopping.
15. The use of Influencer whitelisting will grow.
16. More Influencers will become their own brands and promote their own products and services.
17. Venture capitalists will invest in more Influencers.
Are you ready for 2022? If you’re a Creator or Influencer looking to level up your business in 2022, book a private coaching session with one of our experts- we can come up with a tailored gameplan to help you reach your goals and make more money in your business this year.
What trends do you see coming down the pipeline and think will be one of the Influencer Marketing Trends 2022? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!