Viva The Influencer Evolution

March 31, 2021

Influencers have the ability to mobilize and motivate people. In the last ten years, the power and source of influence has dramatically evolved. The shift has been due to improvement in mobile technology, internet culture, and the change in consumer values. 

The influencer marketing platform has evolved during the pandemic from the purely visual feed of filtered photos to include GIFs, IGTV, and short video clips to capture attention. As consumers are undergoing change in tastes, the brand partnership industry is still set to reach $10 billion in 2021 according to Adweek

In the very beginning all celebrities were influencers

Many would say the influencer platform peaked in 2010 with celebrities driving majority of brand partnerships. Consumers were looking to the stars with admiration and aspiration. Few years later, the visual platforms including Instagram and Pinterest were launched and became the talk of every town. 

Fast-forward to today and the change in culture is clearly evident. During the pandemic, word-driven platforms such as Medium and Twitter are drawing record crowds as humans are looking for deeper, more meaningful information. Both blogging and microblogging platforms have become strategically important for companies to make their marketing stories more humanistic and accessible. Although COVID-19 has brought with it some gloom and doom for the “end of the influencer” revolution–the truth is influencers still have relevance as a marketing tool.

As society’s values change so does social currency

Social media seems to be in an early stage of transformation during the COVID-19 crisis. The ethos is shifting from a place of individualism to a place of helping the collective. For example, the new neighborly app NextDoor has risen in popularity due to people searching for connection and information during the lockdown. 

Knowing what’s going on in the neighborhood has become important when the circle of radius becomes small. NextDoor has also increased communication between neighbors who previously had never met or barely spoken. 

Now they are having conversations, joining groups, and buying or selling items through the platform. Becoming an influencer in 2021 has shifted from celebrities to friends and neighbors’ joining hands to help one another.

The smartphones role in influencer culture

In 2021, mobile technology has gradually shifted to give every owner of a smartphone better option for becoming an influencer, videographer, and podcaster. Nearly every smartphone on the market today including industry leaders Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy include powerful processors, fantastic multi-camera setups, sensitive microphones, and 5G access for faster uploads plus multiple apps processing. Of course, the key appeal to any phone today is the camera and voice recording options. These are fully baked essentials for both influencers and the youth audience to step inside the role of the entertainer or thought leader on TikTok, Instagram, Pinterest, and newest podcasting craze Clubhouse.

How is the influencer platform changing in 2021?

Both Influencers and micro-influencers (those with fans under 2000) do have the power to affect consumers’ purchase decisions as they once did prior the pandemic. However, there is a shift away from a product driven influencer marketing pre-pandemic to a helpful approach to connect with people searching for thought leadership, opinion, and expertise. To cultivate relationships today, you will need to refine your strategy for the post-pandemic world.

Consumer’s now want:

  • Realism versus puffery or hyperbolic claims or fake news
  • Increased awareness for social issues and inequalities
  • Increased mental health awareness
  • Conscientious consumerism 
  • Genuine human connectivity
  • Compassion

The mindset of the consumer has changed. The skeptical consumer who has been inundated with misinformation in recent years is exhausted by the lack of substance on social channels. Your company has to adapt and experiment with what works and doesn’t in your niche. 

Selecting influencers for your digital spotlight? 

The two main reasons for influencer marketing are:

  1. Elevate brand awareness 
  2. Increase sales 

Before you select an influencer, you need to hone your strategy. As a company, you need to identify whether you want to increase customers in the younger demographic? Or expand into a multicultural audience that has money and is ready to buy? 

Or do you want to skip trends entirely and talk about building a bridge for new brand values?

Influencers have the ability to reach specific audiences. Yes, they are now competing with creators and thought leaders for attention. All are engaging their audiences through entertainment and information. However, brands will require a new type of brand advocate in the post-pandemic world. 

Creating new customer attitudes is the goal of the brand advocate

The messages your company puts out today are equally important as your goals for increasing sales. Selecting the key influencer(s) to increasing visibility with their followers by engaging with your product in creative ways is the solution. 

However, unlike the past, this brand advocate will alter what and how people share on social. As consumption gradually rises again, your new brand advocate will ensure value driven communication drives social currency for the greater good.

Brands should use multicultural voices to reach an affluent audience

Brands should seize the opportunity to connect with the fastest growing demographic in the USA–South Asians. 

In 2022, this affluent demographic is slotted to spend approximately $1.3 trillion on items like smartphones, cars, beauty, travel, food, and fashion. As a brand advocate, business leaders should use FrontAd as an influencer to reach this new customer while showcasing your brand authority, expertise, authenticity, and values in alignment with your new customer. 

FrontAd can assist your company to be highlighted to the affluent South Asian American community with highly polished product narratives in the context of stories to alter human consideration.

South Asian Americans–shining in the influencer spotlight 

Affluent South Asian Americans are the new customers you should hold as core to your brand. The unexpected events of 2020 have catapulted this cohort into influential territory. 

Your brand should use FrontAd to channel new social voices into your product ecosystem. FrontAd has the affluent, mass audiences looking for information as a source of inspiration.

FrontAd can be both an influencer and also assist in finding brand advocates to meaningfully connect with new followers. Wealthy South Asian Americans are the ideal customers for brand marketers both during and after the pandemic. 

Reality is the new style for influencer marketing

According to The Atlantic, young GenZ influencers are using unfiltered imagery to convey more authenticity than the millennials. Superstar influencers such as: Jazzy Anne and Joanna Ceddia, prefer a messier un-edited, un-filtered style and post directly from their mobile phones. Anything that feels staged is undesirable. 

As the public has become inundated with sponsored posts, real influencers are speaking out about real topics such as burnout, mental health, stress, and perfection–important topics for the pandemic–are seeing more value than surface visual posts.

 Are you on the lookout for new voices with a specific focus?

As you search for new ways to reach an affluent audience, consider FrontAd to assist you in finding dedicated, brand loyal consumers from the South Asian American community who value a lifestyle that would be aligned to your products. 

If you would rather showcase your messaging directly to a community of affluent buyers, we can assist with that as well. 

FrontAd can help you revise your influencer marketing strategy to how it should be during or post-pandemic and build digital campaigns that will introduce your products or services to an important, wealthy consumer market.

Connect with FrontAd for the ultimate FOMO experience.