Glam Grannies and Kidfluencers. Who are the hottest new influencers for 2021?

As brand spending on influencer marketing increases, attractions should be looking outside the standard celebrity influencers to new markets – from glamorous grannies, through TikTok’s youth demographic to the rise of the kidfluencer. So who are the new influencers for 2021?

Influencer marketing is set to become a $15 billion dollar industry by 2022, according to Business Insider, based on Mediakix data:

“The market is rapidly expanding as influencer types have proliferated, with influencers filling every conceivable niche and sub-niche interest. Brands are increasingly tapping other key influencer types [apart from celebrities], including micro- and nanoinfluencers, kidfluencers, gaming influencers, and virtual (computer-generated) influencers.”

63 percent of marketing execs plan to increase influencer budgets this year. “2021 is the year we believe influencer marketing will be seen as its own media channel outside of tactical ‘problem solving’ or ‘nice to have content’”, says Brandon Perlman, Founder and CEO of Social Studies, Inc.

So who are the new influencers and where should attractions be spending their budget?

The untapped grey market

While marketers tend to focus on the 18-30 demographic, China is starting to realise that its ageing population is looking to a different type (and age) of influencer. A quartet of seniors called Glamour Beijing has more than a million followers on Douyin, the Chinese video-sharing platform, while @fashion_grannies has over 488,000 followers on TikTok.

According to Inkstone News the emerging trend is “a potential goldmine…attracting the attention of young tech entrepreneurs who see the spending power of China’s older population and hope to capture it.”

China’s over-60 population will hit around 300 million within five years – a sizeable audience roughly equivalent to the population of Indonesia – with enhanced spending power. Influencers in the US and Europe are following the trend with increasing numbers of 60- and 70-something women creating Instagram accounts.

The continued rise of video

The phenomenal success of TikTok has shown the importance of video content in influencer marketing. Instagram Reels hopes to bring a similar dynamic to its platform, although it seems unlikely to emulate the success of TikTok, one of the fastest growing social media platforms in the world, with over 800 million active users worldwide and over two billion downloads.

41 percent of TikTok users are young – aged between 16-24, according to Globalwebindex, and use the app multiple times per day. Its success results from the fact that it is exceedingly simple and uses arguably the best predictive algorithm in social media. The top 143 TikTok influencers reach nearly a billion users, over three times the population of the USA, according to Mediakix. They include Zach King with 46 million followers, Dixie D’Amelio with 30.5 million and Jason Derulo with over 27 million followers.

Kidfluencers – the new generation

Tech-savvy under-16s are now creating their own content and proving they can generate huge followings across a range of social media. Their presence on social media isn’t just for fun – as brands recognise that children now have a far greater say. This has increased during COVID as family decision-making has become more democratised, with children becoming more influential in family economics.

“Having grown up in a world where technology is advancing around them every single day, and never actually knowing a world without social media, mobile phones or computers, kids today are extremely well-tuned in the digital world,” says Influencer Matchmaker (an online service bringing brands and influencers together). “Kid influencers do everything that we as social media users do, they upload content for their followers. However, they do it for hundreds of thousands, and sometimes even millions of followers.”

They site Tiana Wilson, aged ten (@toysandme) who has nearly ten million YouTube followers and 189,000 Instagram followers who watch her toy reviews and challenges. She is now launching her own toy range.

Lorenzo Greer (@tekkerzkid) has 1.5 million followers on YouTube and 281,000 Instagram followers. He posts mainly around his love of football.

Micro and Nano-influencers – small is beautiful

In the past most marketing execs would dismiss any but influencers with massive numbers of social media followers. However now experts predict that many brands will take their spend to micro-influencers (those with under 100,000 followers) or even nano-influencers (under 25,000 followers). According to Later, with smaller audiences tend to have the highest engagement rates, regardless of genre, target audience or topic:

“As engagement rates on Instagram continue to decline, more and more businesses are seeing the value in partnering with Instagram influencers who have a small (or “micro”) but highly-engaged following. And with the COVID-19 pandemic affecting some businesses’ budgets in 2020, they may be more open to working with influencers in 2021 who have lower rates.”

Overall the last year has shown brands just what a vital role social media influencers can play in marketing strategies. In attractions we have seen celebrity influencers, from Beyoncé to Bowie help attract new audiences to museums.

The influencer marketing model is tailor-made for reaching customers who are restricted to their homes. It allows brands to engage with audiences with impactful messaging and authentic engagement and will only continue to rise in importance. The interesting question is which influencers have the right influence for your brand.