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  • Writer's pictureAnna-Louise McDougall

Top 3 Influencer Marketing Strategies and the hacks to know if they’re working

POV: social media is in the grips of a potential global reckoning, and you’re just waiting for that TikTok influencer to promote the dress with super-low sell-through.

As an eCommerce or digital marketing manager, where do you take your 2023 influencer strategy? Is it worth spending your budget on TikTok? Should you be leaving your content to be directed by the creators? What’s data got to do with it? Get the details on how to leverage current influencer marketing trends and how to know if you’re getting bang for your influencer buck.

What’s going on in the social cyber-verse?

With the ticking TikTok time bomb now facing the world’s biggest authorities from the US administration to the Australian federal government, it’s only a matter of time before brand marketing (especially where retailers are concerned) feels the sting. Right now, the majority of these decision-makers are concerned with how TikTok’s Chinese parent company ByteDance manages the data of over a billion people who use the app.

The federal government's findings of a security review into social media have resulted in TikTok being banned on government devices following fears the platform could be used for foreign interference by China. As for the US, 150 million users could be facing a total TikTok ban. Yep, it seems all social media platforms are ripe for a regulatory overhaul.

Aside from the ongoing privacy troubles of the social media giants, there are other social shifts and factors that could be getting in the way of how you’re currently using your influencers. These include:

  1. Aging fan bases Some brands might find it difficult to remain relevant as their most loyal followers get older and begin to prioritize other interests, financial pressures and social values.

  2. The rise of call-out culture With customers becoming savvier comes a higher risk of betting on big influencers or celebrities. Customers have no problem questioning an influencer’s genuine interest behind a brand they spruik and will put time into researching and substantiating claims before buying.

  3. Sponsored content crackdown The US security commission (SEC) guidelines are heavily enforcing an #Ad or #Sponsored tag for paid posts. How could we forget, Kim Kardashian was recently fined $1 million for failing to mention that she was paid $225,000 to post about cryptocurrency EthereumMax on Instagram?

  4. Influencer demands The more influential an influencer gets, the bigger their demands. Savvy influencers will use their highly influenced audience to their advantage by being more selective about partnerships and demanding a higher payday.

What should your 2023 influencer strategy include?

Given the amount of time we spend on social media, influencers are as relevant as ever and still have a significant pull when it comes to promoting brands, despite the cost of living and economic challenges. However, popularity does not equal sales— here’s what 2023’s strategies are starting to include:

Trend 1: Influencers with a ‘day job’
Chef recording a recipe video for foodie fans

More and more brands are looking to create partnerships with content creators whose 'day job’ exists outside social media, yet have large followings. These influencers (who don’t exactly refer to themselves as such) bring with them a realistic 9-5, not the online creator ‘day in the life’ that users no longer consider authentic. Because the content of ‘day job’ influencers feels less manufactured, their audiences are generally more engaged - and therefore *influenced*.

Trend 2: User-generated content (UGC)

There’s a general lean toward the golden days of influencing, where enthusiasts took to YouTube channels, personal blogs and the very beginnings of Instagram to create never-before-seen content that viewers found highly relatable. Today, the social media user vs the influencer is increasingly blurry, as, thanks to TikTok, viral videos and posts of everyday users endorsing (or scrutinizing) products can blow up out of nowhere overnight. As users learn more about brands from other users, it’s super important for brands to be everywhere all at once, and to repurpose the users that are helping you to tell your story.

Trend 3: Going small

​​As authenticity seems to be the number one deal breaker when it comes to today’s online content creators, marketers may generally shift their focus to nano and micro-influencers and activate them at scale. Research shows influencers with 1,000 to 100,000 followers are often very engaged, which helps to target niche audiences and drive awareness. Engaging micro influencers en masse can do wonderful things for your brand’s bottom line.

How will you know if your strategy is working?

It’s no secret you’re probably only interested in paying influencers who actually have influence, not just followers. Focusing on data and measuring ROI can help you understand whether the collaboration was successful or not.

This can get tricky if most of your communication and reporting is via DM or email, as you might be losing out on real-time data and reporting opportunities. You can combat this by utilizing platforms that provide results and demographics directly from the social media platform, as well as measuring reach, likes, saves, and comments of content, alongside discount code usage, UTMs and trackable URLs to measure the impact.

Using Style Arcade can also assist an eCommerce or digital marketing manager to track the success of a particular outfit or item gifted, requested, or borrowed by an influencer.

Influencer Hack #1 - Accurately track engagement

If you’re an Instagram brand (say, Skims or I Am Gia) that highly leverages your community’s favorite influencers at scale, the notes and filter functions in the Style Arcade app can be used to great advantage.

  • Detail who will be promoting the item, when, where, and how often, and create filters by how you’d like to track (by influencer, channel, style or size)

  • When the time comes for #sponcon, you won’t be flipping through spreadsheets to check who wore what and when, you can go straight to the style or SKU

  • You’ll have more time to accurately track key metrics by influencer like site and product page traffic, geolocational data and sell-through to create your marketing reports on the spot.

Influencer Hack #2 - Know your ROI by Influencer

Just like how you can determine which of your eCommerce models sell more, if a style or SKU is selling like hotcakes, you’ll quickly be able to see which influencer posted about it across X number of channels, X number of times. From here you can continue to test and learn if it’s the channel, the frequency or the influencer that’s doing the selling (or not selling).