Online communities and social influencers have been growing as an industry for several years with the influencer marketing industry exceeding $13.8 billion in 2021. When Hubspot asked global B2C marketing professionals which trends they planned to invest in for 2022, 61 percent said they would focus on influencer marketing because it generated higher ROI than other trends like mobile web design and short-form video marketing.
The Creator Economy
While the industry has seen this group as a channel for marketing, they have quietly become the most powerful and trusted publishers and organizers. Whether it is social change, commerce, or the latest trends, their collective voices are leading us into a future that will be known for the “creator economy.”
Individuals seeking to make a living doing something fulfilling with greater autonomy have driven the growth of the creator economy. Consumers have responded by finding independent content creators, and becoming loyal followers because of people they trust and share their values. According to SignalFire, there are 50 million creators, two million (four percent) of which earn a full-time income from their content and (4 percent) and 47 million (94 percent) earn a part-time income from their content.
Attracting social influencers to your destination is no longer a transaction, we need to broaden how we think about engagement with these creators. Yes, there will be paid social influencers initiatives, but there will also be earned creative and content partnerships that will require the same level of concierge services destinations provide to traditional earned media partners. Metrics and engagement will also evolve as social influencers have the ability to provide high-quality content and metrics from their efforts. While the largest branded publications have a wide-reaching audience, we are seeing data suggest that micro-influencers with under 100K followers may be more effective as their niche audiences are more invested and engaged.
These creators are also going to reshape the digital landscape. Creators are already moving their top fans off of the largest social networks and on to their own websites, apps, newsletters, and monetization tools like Substack. Taking the power from the hands of monolithic Web 2.0 companies, these creators are going to usher in the next evolution of the web as the cloud and decentralized platforms used in the Web 3.0 future that will go well beyond the “meta-verse”.
More Predictions to Come
Be sure to keep an eye out for future blogs as we further explore each of these key concepts and trends, and follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn where we will be sharing more predictions for this year from our team.