How Influencer Marketing Can Power Social Commerce

Over 165 million new voices have entered the ever-expanding creator economy since 2020. While 2 million pursue content creation as a full-time career, more than 50 million people worldwide consider themselves influencers and/or creators.

Consumers rely on influencers of all sizes to inform their purchasing decisions, and influencer marketing continues to become a popular choice for marketers. Although influencer marketing has gained incredible momentum over the last few years, many marketers still view it as a press-related endeavor to increase exposure rather than a content source for eCommerce. 

According to Pixlee TurnTo’s 2022 Influencer Trend Report, 93% of social media influencers post content across multiple social media platforms — authentic content that resonates with the online audiences they’ve cultivated. Influencer marketing is no longer a one-off solution for brand awareness; brands have the unique opportunity to derive more value from creator content by weaving it into different stages of the customer journey. 

Ready to get the most out of your influencer partnerships? Get the Pixlee TurnTo 2022 Influencer Trend Report

Today’s consumers expect a personalized shopping experience that clearly showcases how a brand’s products can positively impact their day-to-day lives. Because of this, leading brands are crafting eCommerce experiences that treat influencer marketing as a content engine to fuel their marketing efforts both on and off of social media.


How Influencer Marketing Can Power Social Commerce:


Influencer Content Drives Social Commerce

Social commerce is a marketing strategy that brings the shopping experience to social media channels and vice-versa. Many popular social media platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, and Pinterest now offer in-app product discovery and checkout tools for brands and creators alike. This allows buyers to research products promoted by people they trust on the social platforms they frequent, without the hassle of navigating to a new website.

On average, people spend nearly 2.5 hours on social media apps each day, so social commerce is meeting buyers where they are. This is much easier and more effective than convincing shoppers to navigate to a company’s website, making it a powerful tool for eCommerce brands. Social commerce also combines convenience with persuasive social proof. 

‘Social proof’ is evidence that other people have purchased and valued a product or service. It’s derived from a psychological concept that people often mimic the actions of others in order to assume the “correct” behaviors. Social proof can take many forms, from influencer posts to user comments, and it’s an integral part of the buyer’s journey.

In 2022, social platforms like TikTok and Instagram have become increasingly saturated with brand and influencer content. However, only some of those brands take that content a step further by incorporating it into other marketing channels like email and website displays. By combining their approaches to social media marketing, influencer partnerships, and the eCommerce shopping experience, today’s brands can feature their products in interactive, shoppable posts with built-in social proof to help convince shoppers to make a purchase. 


How Brands Benefit From Social Commerce

Savvy brands are making the most of the new sales path paved by social commerce. By creating shoppable galleries and tagging products on posts, eCommerce companies turn their social accounts into effective digital storefronts. 

Social commerce becomes even more dynamic when combined with influencer marketing and user-generated content (UGC). While brands can (and should) turn their social accounts into secondary storefronts, it’s important to recognize how this social-first approach can be applied to their product pages, website displays, advertisements, and email content.

Customers know that content made by brands typically has one goal — to sell them something. This inherent bias can make them hesitant to buy. That barrier can be removed by supplementing brand content with community-driven social media posts, both on and off of the platforms they originate on. Posts from influencers, ambassadors, and everyday customers are viewed as more authentic and trustworthy, which is why successful brands extend the value of that content off of social media. 


Influencer Marketing Driving Social Commerce

It’s valuable to look at your brand community as it pertains to influencer marketing like a spectrum; thanks to smartphones and ever-growing social media tools, anyone can become a content creator. Your most powerful influencers may already exist within your customer base, and combining your approach to influencer and UGC management can help you identify those potential partnerships. After all, Pixlee TurnTo’s 2022 Influencer Trend Report found that 80% of influencers regularly use products from brands they end up partnering with.

Women apparel brand Windsor nurtures an engaged audience of thousands on Instagram, TikTok, and other social platforms by consistently sharing influencer-led content and UGC in brand posts. From photo-sharing contests to influencer spotlights, Windsor’s social media presence is a key part of the brand’s overall marketing strategy. Windsor then uses Pixlee TurnTo to practice social listening, identifying the users most actively engaging with the brand's content, and producing their own.

Recognizing the value of its online community in boosting brand awareness and social proof, Windsor took the conversion power of its social media strategy to the brand’s eCommerce website. Sitewide, shoppable content galleries from content creators (customers, influencers, and everything in between) ultimately drove a 3x increase in conversion rate for Windsor.

Windsor’s social galleries cater to the personalized experience modern customers want, implementing custom fields for shoppers to filter by when exploring the style of the brand community.


The Untapped Value of Influencer Content

Influencers’ dedicated audiences look to them for advice and inspiration. When influencers say a brand’s product is worth buying, their followers listen. This means an investment in influencer marketing can have an excellent ROI, with businesses making an average return of $6.50 for every $1 spent

Influencer content works much like user-generated content. It puts products in context, and customers consider it more authentic than brand-generated content. The big difference between UGC and influencer content is that it reaches a much wider audience. And not only is the impact bigger, it also reaches a community of shoppers perfectly aligned with a brand’s target audience.

Custom map brand Mapiful uses influencer marketing on Instagram to discover and reach niche audiences that could benefit from the brand’s products. Influencer @emsalwaysreading typically posts content for book lovers, but skillfully incorporates a Mapiful product into her “reading corner” for a sponsored post. This natural integration of the brand into her post is an influencer trend many creators are experts at, and strategy brands can learn from when appealing to new customers.

The untapped value of influencer content lies in brands’ ability to recycle that content on their own marketing channels — beyond just social media. While there’s no denying that influencers thrive on apps like TikTok and Instagram, the persuasive and original content they create also has its place at key touchpoints of the customer experience after the initial discovery.


Shoppable Influencer Galleries

One of the easiest ways brands can reap the rewards of influencer marketing off of social media is to create dynamic, shoppable galleries of influencer content. Like Windsor, brands in diverse industries can seed influencer content on product pages, homepages, and more with relevant calls-to-action. 

While consumers may be hesitant to purchase just based on product information and brand images, access to trusted influencers’ own posts featuring that product keeps shoppers on a brand’s site and promotes purchase confidence.

Aloyoga site instagram

Source: aloyoga.com

Alo Yoga gets the most out of influencer partnerships while lowering content costs by reusing these original posts with influencer permission across different teams and channels. The brand manages relationships, campaigns, and content performance with influencers through Pixlee TurnTo for Creators.


Influencer Landing Pages

Category pages on a brand’s website are efficient when it comes to directing customers to the products they’re looking for. But there’s also a marketing opportunity when it comes to dedicated site pages and community-powered content; designing pages solely to showcase content from influencers and brand ambassadors can both pique the interest of customers active on social media, and give new potential influencers a place to reach out to your brand.

Yoga apparel brand Kiragrace features an ambassador-focused website page explaining the program and how interested creators can apply. This page features original social content from existing ambassadors complete with their social handles, captions, and links to products featured in each post.

While one-off or even consistent social media posts about this ambassador program might get buried or overlooked on Kiragrace’s social profiles, this landing page is an evergreen destination for shoppers and potential ambassadors to learn more about the brand’s dedication to the community. Designed through Pixlee TurnTo, this gallery automatically populates with up-to-date ambassador content approved by the Kiragrace team.


Email Campaigns Powered by Influencer Content

Email marketing is far from dead — especially for brands that use it as yet another avenue to expand the reach of content powered by influencers. While a typical brand email may end up unopened and forgotten about, an influencer-specific campaign email catches the eye of consumers who may be familiar with the individual’s social media presence. 

Aloyoga email content

Source: aloyoga.com

Influencer social posts and profile links can be directly incorporated into the email content itself, paving the way for more engagement and an efficient path to product discovery and purchase. Alo Yoga masters the art of social commerce in-email, showcasing celebrity Kendall Jenner in the brand’s gear alongside a gallery of other influencers’ posts linking directly to the brand’s shoppable influencer gallery.


Community-Generated Content: Stronger Together

Influencer content, user-generated content, and community-generated content (CGC), which includes ratings and reviews, work hand-in-hand to drive brand affinity, awareness, and sales. All three types of content work together to impact how consumers view your brand and its narrative. 

Cosmetics brand Morphe is known for its popular makeup products as well as the brand’s partnerships with high-profile influencers like Charli and Dixie D’Amelio. However, Morphe also recognizes the value of customer UGC and content from niche micro-influencers in maximizing social commerce benefits. With Pixlee TurnTo, Morphe builds website displays and campaigns featuring all types of community-driven content, including ratings & reviews.

Morphe social pin board

Source: morphe.com

This approach facilitates both product discovery through social media posts and purchase confidence through feedback from real customers — the ideal recipe to turn a site visitor into a loyal customer and a customer into an advocate.

Influencer content helps widen brand awareness, introducing new users to your products in a positive light. User-generated content provides additional social proof and shows customers your product in context rather than in a stagnant product photo. Community-generated content, the fusion of all earned media types from influencers to regular consumers, cements a customer’s willingness to purchase and helps site visitors get the fullest view of your product’s quality and uses.

Text-based customer feedback can help brands gain insight into why customers buy specific products. NAVY Hair Care runs influencer marketing campaigns with digital creators like Daryl-Ann Denner, mapping specific purchases generated by the campaign through Pixlee TurnTo’s influencer tools. Checkout Comments, a form of text-based post-purchase feedback, showed customers specifically naming the influencers who drove them to buy.

This type of content is especially valuable for brands looking to get more from their influencer campaigns. The Checkout Comments above not only show NAVY Hair Care that their partnership was a success but they also inspire site visitors to both explore the influencer and campaign and make a purchase. This situation is exceptionally beneficial for both the brand and the influencer, paving the way for a tremendous influencer-brand relationship.

Community-generated content comes with the added benefit of positive feedback cycles for product development. Brands can review ratings, comments, and questions the community poses and use those insights to add new product features or address issues customers have identified. This ensures a high-quality product, and it’s also an effective way to win brand loyalty. Customers want to see that companies are responsive to their comments and concerns.

Community-generated content is a must-have for eCommerce marketing strategies. It’s essentially the modern-day version of word-of-mouth marketing, and 49% of consumers trust community content as much as they trust endorsements from people they know. 

Despite its effectiveness, more than half of eCommerce websites are missing CGC such as community Q&A sections. At least some of this hesitation can be attributed to not knowing how to manage this type of content. 

Keeping up with each type of content individually is almost impossible, making it difficult to track the effectiveness of an influencer’s campaign or view how much conversions have increased since adding community content. This “big picture” information is essential because it allows brands to overhaul strategies that aren’t performing, plan future content, and measure ROI.

To do social commerce right, brands must look for a technology platform that enables them to track digital assets, collect reviews, publish community content, and manage influencer campaigns all from a single location. In addition to overseeing content and creators, social commerce technology allows brands to automate content curation and publication, view content by performance, and create custom reports for in-depth analytics. 

Pixlee TurnTo integrates influencer marketing with UGC and Ratings & Reviews, giving brands one place to scalably manage community-driven content and track success by influencer, campaign, or individual post. By strategically publishing content through a technology that provides easy access to high-quality influencer and customer media, brand teams are able to spend less time on logistics and content sourcing, and more time building an engaged online community.

Social media content, whether it’s created by an influencer, a brand employee, or an everyday customer, facilitates word-of-mouth marketing. Instead of just creating and sharing sales-oriented, professional content, brands today have the opportunity to harness even more social proof and conversion power by reusing social media content from their community. This type of content is exactly what modern consumers expect to see when shopping online.

The right technology makes it simple to manage your social commerce campaigns. Book a free demo with Pixlee TurnTo to learn how your brand can get started with UGC, Influencer Management, and Ratings & Reviews tools.

Author Bio:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kyle Wong

Kyle Wong is the Co-Founder and President of Pixlee TurnTo. Pixlee TurnTo combines Social UGC, Ratings & Reviews, and Influencer Marketing tools into one cohesive software suite to unlock community-powered commerce for brands.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a commerce influencer?

Influencer commerce is about delivering a completely new approach with influencer marketing. Influencers will only sell the brand’s products directly from their own social media channels.

Which social media platform is best for influencer marketing?

Instagram is the top social media platform for influencer marketing campaigns. 68% of brands consider Instagram the top platform for their efforts. Data shows that 81% of people use Instagram to research products and services before buying.

What is an example of influencer marketing?

One example of influencer marketing includes Tom’s of Maine. This company sought to increase brand awareness with their audience, health-conscious buyers. Tom’s focused on micro influencers and encouraged their followers to publish their own content.

What type of marketing uses influencers?

Social media marketing is the primary types of marketing that uses influencers. In influencer marketing, a type of social media marketing, brands will pay people to promote their products or services to their own followers. Celebrity endorsements are the original form of influencer marketing.

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