Remember last year when you couldn’t scroll through Instagram without seeing a Bachelor in Paradise contestant whitening their teeth? It seems like a lifetime ago—and that’s a good thing. Brand collaborations with influencers don’t have to stop at generic captions and selfies with strategic product placement anymore. In fact, today’s partnership content, when done creatively, is adding more value for followers than ever before. Here’s what you need to know:
For brands and creators on social media, what was once a space for heavily edited product shots and selfies has given way to a new domain of imperfection. The veil is slowly being lifted to reveal the authentic voices underneath, and brands that don’t comply can say goodbye to engaged audiences. This is especially true when it comes to their partnerships—savvy users can spot an ad from a mile away, and they aren’t falling for it. Thankfully, many brands are paving the way for unique influencer content that both educates and entertains.
For businesses that offer physical products, demonstrations are vital to digital sales. When shoppers can’t try on a clothing item or test out a gadget in store, a video is the next best thing. Plus-size fashion retailer Eloquii deeply understands this. The brand partners with micro and macro influencers who create try-on hauls that show off entire clothing ranges on diverse body types. The result is a highly effective series of videos that put the spotlight on several looks in seconds—and drive customers to shop at the link in bio.
Who needs a traditionally shot advertisement when you have the power of TikTok behind you? PromGirl takes a similar try-on approach but mixes it with a little GenZ flavor. The snappy videos with catchy tracks garner the brand tens of thousands of views and it’s no wonder why—TikTok influencers are quickly eclipsing those on other channels in audience size and recognition.
With the film and television industry on pause, social media has become the first stop for virtual entertainment. Brands have been creating and sharing content on IGTV or Instagram Live to help keep followers’ spirits up and give them something to do—and influencers are playing a huge role in their success. Fitness authority Bandier partners with influential fitness leaders to run workouts on IG Live, then publishes them to IGTV for those who miss the stream. It’s a way to bring their community together through shared interest and demonstrate the durability of their gear—not to mention draw new eyes to their page from the influencers’ follower pools (and vice-versa). A win-win for all.
Missguided takes to Instagram Stories with tons of live and pre-recorded content from yoga sessions to concerts. They also expertly leverage static user-generated content (UGC) from influencers in-feed using the hashtag #babesofmissguided. It’s a simple, easy opportunity to find potential partners you might have missed from seeking them out directly.
While the way brands are working with influencers is evolving, the face of those influencers is evolving, too. Social media users want to see themselves reflected in the content they consume and, perhaps by happy accident, brands have been delivering. Limitations can sometimes spawn deeper innovation and creativity than limitless situations, and that’s exactly what we’ve seen in the period of COVID lockdowns. Fresh Beauty started the #PassTheSoy challenge to promote their much-loved cleanser, and the video that inspired it all starred their own team members. It proved fame isn’t everything (is it, Mr. Potter?) when it comes to engaging audiences. Genuine people with a passion for the product can generate as much of a response as big-name social stars.
At the end of the day, the way you shape your brand’s influencer strategy is completely up to you. Some marketers choose to populate their content mix entirely through influencers, others don’t use them at all. Keep in mind that partners are an investment—whether you gift products or pay for promotion, you want to make sure you’re getting value in return. Consider your audience and goals, be thoughtful about who you’re working with, and do your due diligence to make sure they’re a good fit from the aesthetic of their feed to the demographic of their followers. If you have the right pieces, the content should naturally fall into place.
P.S. To make the most of your influencer partnerships you can track their progress and results using Dash Hudson’s Relationship IQ tool.