Influencer Marketing has risen in popularity over the years, as platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok have given an outlet to users willing to invest their time and talent into them. Brands have since realized the potential of influencer marketing deals and what it could mean for their business if they work with these creators.
The landscape is much different in 2023, with the creator economy growing at an expedited pace. No longer are influencer marketing deals seen as a mystery, or a huge risk–they are almost essential if brands want to see success on social media. The stigma behind creators/influencers being anything but entrepreneurs and business owners themselves is gone.
It is easier than ever for brands to work with influencers, especially with tools like TikTok Creator Marketplace, where brands can reach out directly through the app to request to work with these influencers. Users desire authenticity and real people talking about these products, because they can relate them back to their own life, and turn over a purchase easier. Making influencers part of your social media advertising campaign is essential.
Why Do Brands Do Influencer Marketing?
With the rise of social media, influencers were able to have a platform to grow quickly and organically to build their audiences. The original influencer breed built a presence on YouTube and Instagram — these channels were and still are the key drivers in the rise of the influencer.
However, TikTok’s emergence has proven to be an even stronger catalyst in how influencer marketing (now dubbed creator marketing) has evolved recently. With its powerful algorithm, TikTok has given almost any creator a chance to stand out against the competition and gain a following. This broke the barrier of entry for many creators, whose previous experience was from YouTube or Instagram, whose discoverability had slipped in the past few years.
TikTok gave many influencers a voice and platform to make videos quickly and authentically, shaping the way for the influencer marketing boom. Influencers could create content quicker and authentically, and brands could order more of it and rely more on that influencer’s persona and background than investing in a curated feed or a channel.
Strategically, this can be advantageous for brands trying to tap into existing or even new audiences that the influencers can provide for their product or service. It can be a more organic or authentic way to get your message across to people that would not have thought of your brand otherwise. The influencer provides a very personal value proposition and connection for the viewer that can put your product in a better light for that person.
What Makes Influencer Marketing Successful?
What makes for a “successful” influencer marketing campaign? Is there a special formula that you, as a brand, can do to achieve peak performance for your campaign? If your influencer of choice is successful, does that also translate into a working campaign?
Although influencer marketing can have a lower barrier of entry, it can also be difficult to determine what makes it successful. Look through their social feed and see what type of content they make, how many views they receive on their videos, and any other engagement metrics that are important to assess if they would be the right fit for your marketing campaign.
Think of an influencer as a micro-celebrity. They have fans, or followers, that come to them for value, whether that be advice, entertainment, or a unique viewpoint. They differ from a celebrity where offline, they might not be as influential or popular. They are often providing the most value on social media where their audience lives. It is a transactional relationship between the influencer and audience, where they know what to expect and rely on that influencer to provide that value at the end of the day.
Tapping into that influencer and their audience is the key to making your brand stand out from the competition with a person that actually uses and vouches for your product or service, and can recommend that to their audience directly from their social channels, or straight through your brand’s page. It is the tactic of “putting a face behind the name” type of relationship or strategy.
Success comes when that influencer is authentically delivering the message you are wanting to provide for your product or service. It shouldn’t come off too salesy or inauthentic, because audiences, especially on platforms like TikTok that thrive from being real, see through it and can often lead to a bad impression.
Find an influencer whose values align with your own and who are confident can accurately represent your brand. Observe their viewership, engagement, and follower count to reflect the metrics you are wanting to target. Lastly, watch their videos and determine if this could be an influencer you would want to work with and put their face next to your brand.
Who Is Doing Influencer Marketing Right in 2023?
CashApp is a money transferring application that also specializes in investing in stock and bitcoin, offers banking services, and even helps users file their taxes. They have a more relaxed nature and easy-to-use mentality that is a unique offering for users amongst the competition.
Their latest influencer campaign has been interviewing influencers and celebrities with awkward money questions. In this Bella Poarch TikTok, they ask her money questions, followed by a quick request for her to send some money on CashApp and spot the interviewer $5. Having popular influencers and people talk about your app could bode well with converting users who might also be familiar with your content.
Starbucks is an established brand dominating the coffee and tea industry with stores branching across different countries and cultures. With TikTok, Starbucks leverages the power of popular influencers on the platform like @jessiecostantino and @whoslulugirl who already talk to their audiences about food and lifestyle, and would make sense with their brand.
Influencers like them have made videos talking about specific Starbucks beverages to the camera, most likely in their car, in a casual, digestible way that can convince viewers to try or order those drinks.
Although it may be too early to tell, Starry Soda, formerly Sierra Mist, is ramping up its social media content strategy to target Generation Z and younger audiences. Referencing the video above, Starry is already reaching out to Gen-Z influencers to make videos promoting their new product launch.
Gabby Morrison (@gabbymorr), a 21-year-old Gen-Z influencer, made this video about Starry soda. Starry is reaching out to influencers in her age range and audience to help market the soda aimed at Gen-Z.
An established brand like Xbox would not be where it is today without a killer marketing strategy. Xbox’s influencer marketing strategy for its lower cost console, the Xbox Series S, has been hugely successful, especially on TikTok.
Influencer and Creator, Tomas Budin (@tomasbudin) is one of many influencers Xbox has recruited to speak highly of its console. In the video above, Tomas makes a sketch where his partner tells him to check the console because “it’s not working,” where he then goes into all the features and details saying why it’s been working great the whole time. Tomas’s audience is both on-brand with Xbox and its content, making him the perfect influencer to partner with.
Gymshark is a fitness clothing brand aimed at gym, lifestyle, and fashion enthusiasts ages 18-25. They have built an empire with influencer marketing featuring and partnering with influencers that represent Gymshark clothing during workouts and in their videos.
Gymshark features people like @leanadeebb on Instagram, as well as other users in their community across their social channels that tag, represent, or speak highly of the fitness clothing brand. These influencers’ followers will be more likely to invest in Gymshark knowing their favorite influencers are wearing and working out with them.
Moment is a company that sells camera equipment, accessories, online courses, and more aimed at creatives interested in photography, videography, film, design, and more. This company is built on its community and its creators that make content with their products.
Where they excel is that they showcase these artists, either through partnering with them to create an online course, give them products to review and use (and then share that art!), and even just showcasing the artist themselves because their values align with their brand. Check out this behind the scenes with Aundre Larrow (@aundre) on Instagram for his 5 Tips For Studio Photography.
HoneyBook is a Client Management System that offers tools for small businesses to speed up their daily processes like client management, expense tracking, contact handling, and more. HoneyBook has succeeded through partnering with influencers and small businesses that actually use their products and services, making it more convincing for businesses on the fence of switching or upgrading to a Client Management System.
John Branch IV is a North Carolina based Wedding Photographer that also specializes in photography education through his YouTube channel. HoneyBook has partnered with John Branch IV, in exchange for mentioning them in his videos and creating video content around it. He even has his own discount code to convert new users to the platform.
Aerie is a women’s clothing store owned by American Eagle, specializing in lingerie, activewear, and everything in between. What sets Aerie apart is their commitment to see all women for their body sizes, showing models, products, and influencers that represent that inclusivity. That’s where the aerie Ambassador Program comes in. Aerie partners with influencers like @thejessclaire to showcase aerie products to her followers on TikTok. Those followers are able to relate to Jess on a personal level and are more likely to convert to real customers.
Influencer Marketing is a cornerstone of the marketing industry, delivering great results for brands that want to connect with potential customers on a personal level and showcase their product or service in a more approachable way. Picking the right influencer for your campaign will involve researching and knowing your target audience, or strategically picking someone to connect with the audience you desire. The brands that are doing influencer marketing right help show other brands the possibilities and tactics that others can learn from for the future.