Last week I was on an IG LIVE panel talk hosted by Performance marketing Weekly. It was a really exciting conversation centring around the symbiosis between influencers and brands and how they maximise their Influencer partnerships. Many of our answers to PMW’s questions centred around the every changing landscape of social media and how we have well and truly arrived in the Video era of social.
Read on for me hot take on Influencer brand partnerships and how these can be well executed on TikTok as well as how influencers can stay mindful of the cost of living crisis.
Social media is a lot about following trends, copying sounds and styles, how can influencer marketing catch the benefits of getting involved with trends whilst still producing authentic content that will relate to your audience?
I think the answer to brands keeping their AD content relevant lies in the level freedom the creative brief has. Brands will always want engaging and fresh content but when a briefing feels like a straight jacket more than a set of guidelines, 99% of the time that’s when the content falls on its face or on deaf ears with an influencers audience.
Scripts, extensive lists of USPS, having too many hashtags and handles on the content, insisting on links on every story and restrictive creative guidelines will effectively eliminates the creators personality or creativity and therefore defeat the point of working with that Creator in the first place. Brands would do well to remember that the Influencer have eyes and ears on their audiences needs and likes. If they are allowed to create concepts off the back of this whilst marrying their unique voice to any new trends on social the content is more likely to perform better.
In terms of capturing trend led content for b2c. I also always tell The She Brief followers (who are all freelancers and small business owners themselves AND creating social presence for their brands) that their customers want to see all their BTS (behind the scenes) of how they run their businesses.
BTS content is a great way for brands to lean into trending sounds and edits whilst creating real life organic content that people want to engage with. Examples of BTS content can be a tour of the office highlighting key players in the team, an items journey from concept to product to posting, packaging orders.
Another way for brands to be leveraging authentic and trend led content is to utilise UGC on their social channels. User generated content is so hot right now and brands have discovered that content featuring real people using their products, instead of glossy but faceless marketing media, performs so much better and encourages more sales due to the raw relatability of the customer seeing someone, like them, integrating the brand into their life.
This could look like product reviews, unboxings, styling content.
Will brands and influencers who are not on TikTok fall behind and not see as much success, or is the platform also a ‘trend’ that will soon fall out to longer standing platforms?
I don’t think we can consider TikTok a trend anymore. Post-pandemic we are truly in the era of video social and that was cemented by the fact all IG’s update are desperately trying to imitate what TikTok have created with their short form video app.
In terms of selling, when TikTok began it was purely an entertainment platform but as it grows they have adapted to make it a place where users can shop and Creators can sell easily. As a Creator on TikTok, the push for us to sell more through the platform is huge. I get weekly emails inviting me to webinars to learn how to best sell to my audience and build successful shops.
This quote from AD week is proof that TikTok is a great place to sell – “49% of TikTok users say that they have purchased a product after seeing it promoted, advertised, or reviewed on the app.”
And if the hashtag TIKTOKMADEMEBUYIT is anything to go by its an amazing place for brands to be thinking about influencer marketing.
With 91% of creators keen to know more about the metaverse, and 55% of UK brand marketers already set budget aside taken from other marketing channels, how do you see influencer marketing and creators working in the metaverse?
I honestly don’t know and that’s mainly because I don’t think as social media users we fully understand what the metaverse looks like ourselves as it’s still a work in progress.
Social media is getting ready for it though – Facebook rebranding to Meta is a huge indicator that they are ready to jump on the metaverse as soon as it becomes clear what that will become. However, the metaverse unfolds the trend for instant access to product and experience continues.
How will the cost of living crisis affect influencer marketing strategies for brands and creators as consumers fall on financial hardships?
I think the quote “WHEN TIMES ARE GOOD YOU SHOULD ADVERTISE, WHEN TIMES ARE BAD YOU MUST ADVERTISE” is pretty poignant here.
Brand still need to sell their products at the end of the day and we saw during coronavirus that people continued to buy despite economic uncertainty for many. Advertising during economic downturn can help brands maintain awareness, build a greater market share, with a more solid brand image by showing their brand is strong or reliable even.
In my opinion displays of excess wealth on social media feels very “2017” and as Influencers should be mindful of the cost of living crisis when we choose how to execute our brand partnerships.
However, it will be down to the influencer and their relationship with their audience to really gauge what feels distasteful or excessive. If you wear head to toe Dior on the daily and fly a private jet and lots of your customers can buy in to that lifestyle too, then it might be disingenuous to play this element of you life down.
The influencer landscape is becoming increasingly saturated. Does this dilute influencers impact as a pre-purchase touchpoint for consumers?
82% of consumers say that product recommendations from influencers across social media drive them to explore a brand, learn about new products, and ultimately to make a purchase.
My overwhelming opinion NO. There really is room for everyone to influence an audience.
From a consumer standpoint I also think that social media users are advocating for themselves more and taking responsibility to curate and mute, unfollow where they no longer engage with a certain influencer. But when a consumers mutes/unfollows someone there is always a new influencer to essentially “take their place” on their feed who will influence / sell to them.
Ultimately the influencers that are succeeding and having long term engagement with their audiences are the ones that are adapting to new platforms, utilising new updates and the ways to speak to their audiences.
In terms of creators over-saturating their feed with ads, this can be tackled by brands seeking out long term partnerships, which negates the needs for one off partnerships which can make feeds feel over saturated to a user.
What metrics and KPIs should performance marketers focus on to measure the success of influencer marketing campaigns and their ROI?
From an influencer standpoint I feel its the “unseen” or “Invisible influence” metrics that need to be considered more when deciding the effectiveness of a campaign as opposed to just the vanity metrics.
Vanity metrics being : Content quality, Follower number and engagement
Invisible influence metrics being: Testimonials, DM’s, Sales data from affiliate links, over delivery for example; post campaign coverage, traffic on other channels, reach and audience demand.
Conversations taking place on DMs is a huge indicator of my invisible influence. So much so that I sometimes screenshot DM’s to share with clients. And I always think statistically for every 1 person that DM’s me saying they bought something I posted about there’s another 5, 6, 10 20… who purchased and never told me about it.
So, Marketeers that tend to focus more on vanity metrics are only understanding the surface level of the potential value that influencer partnerships can bring to their brand. A one-off partnership for example doesnt allow for an audience to become as invested as a long term partnership. It’ll be the brands that are invested in long term partnerships that will be rewarded with the *invisible influence* you don’t often see as a marketeer on an influencers account.
Watch the IG Live of this talk here.