Brands are increasingly turning to social media influencers for content engagement, with sponsored feed posts up nearly 27% year-over-year, according to a recent Meltwater marketing trends report.

Leading the charge are so-called micro-influencers, who tend to have more engaged audiences than macro-influencers. According to the report, 91% of all sponsored post engagements in 2021 resulted from content created by micro-influencers.

Citing data from the Influencer Marketing Hub, Meltwater said that 75% of brands planned an influencer marketing budget last year and a majority of brands have used the same influencer for multiple campaigns. 

The Meltwater report also found brands are interested in driving both social engagement as well as sales. Changes to Twitter, Instagram and Facebook have made it easier for influencers to post content with such labels as “paid partnership with,” so that brands can attribute sales accordingly.

This evolving dynamic allows for greater trust and transparency to be developed between the brands, marketers and influencers.

“In 2022, we can expect brands to compare their company’s sponsored post performance against the influencers they are partnering with,” the report stated. “Many marketing teams may decide to boost the sponsored posts on an influencer’s account instead of deploying more sponsored posts from the corporate account if performance is strong enough.”

Despite the rise of the influencer in brand marketing strategy, one potential obstacle for brands is establishing an authentic relationship with an influencer. As Meltwater noted, marketers may struggle to establish a professional relationship with influencers who value authenticity above most all else.

Another concern for brand marketers is the diversity of the pool of influencers with which they engage. This practice should be in line with diversity, equality and inclusion efforts that companies have embraced over the past two years.

A final consideration for marketers is staying attuned to new features on social media platforms that may affect how they can collect and analyze data, not to mention where influencers are posting their content. 

As brands seek to maximize opportunities in a fragmented, fast-changing media landscape, Meltwater suggested that marketers prioritize discovering influencers and their respective communities as well as tracking the effectiveness of their outreach efforts.

“As more brands begin to see the value in influencer marketing, the power has shifted to the side of the influencer – they have more tools and support at their disposal, and they certainly

become savvier when it comes to brand partnerships,” the report stated.