November 8, 2022 / Thought Leadership

Tips for Your 2023 Influencer Strategy 

Alyssa Stevens, Director of Public Relations & Social Media

Learnings from the Influencer Marketing Show London 2022

As an influencer marketing professional, I’m consistently impressed by how rapidly this industry continues to grow and evolve. For marketers who understand the value of influencer collaborations and have the desire to revolutionize the way they collaborate with them, there is no better time to capitalize on the power that the creator economy can have for a brand than now.

While living in Dublin as part of Connelly Partners’ CP Abroad program, I attended the Influencer Marketing Show in London. With panels on topics ranging from how to make your influencer strategy recession-proof to the role of artificial intelligence in creator engagements, one thing was very clear…influencer marketing is no longer a “nice to have” for your 2023 marketing strategy. It’s an essential component for how a brand can effectively reach its target audiences, capture their attention, and foster trust that translates into conversion.

As an industry born out of aesthetically pleasing, well-curated photos, influencer marketing has evolved into a multi-dimensional approach for reaching consumers at every stage of their journey. With 2023 on the horizon, I wanted to share takeaways from the Influencer Marketing Show, along with tips for how you can create an impactful influencer marketing strategy for your brand. 

Let’s Create a Community! 

Web3 is being touted as the “community-based era,” where brands, creators, and consumers can come together to be part of inspiring content and experiences. With so much of our lives being spent on social media, today’s consumer craves a sense of belonging. 

Influencers can help a brand to foster a sense of community with its target audience by creating content and experiences that allow for a better brand-consumer connection. These communities can be built around a singular topic/interest, and they can even function to provide critical feedback to a brand around its own products and innovation. In fact, in a presentation by Maira Genovese, it was noted that businesses who invest in communities can increase their innovation speed by 52%. 

Activating influencers, who possess a loyal following that resembles your target audience, and empowering them to help that audience feel part of the brand’s evolution will foster brand loyalty and trust, on and off line. Simple online interactions are no longer enough, consumers want to feel like they ‘belong’ with the brands that inspire them.  

Interests Trump Social Connections.

The early days of social media were fueled by personal social connections; we regularly logged into Facebook to see what our friends and family were doing. While people still visit social networks like Facebook and Instagram to connect with the people they know, through the rapid adoption of TikTok, we’re beginning to see the primary use of social media shift to people’s desire to connect around similar interests. At the same time, we’re seeing a new crop of influencers emerge across a diverse array of topics.

Now more than ever, consumers visit social media to discover. Whether that’s learning something new (a recipe, money-saving tip, or hairstyle) or seeking inspiration (to visit a new destination, try out a different restaurant, or find a hobby), social media users are actively looking for unique content around specific topics and interests. With users spending upwards of 95 minutes per day on TikTok, brands have a clear opportunity to capture their attention by collaborating with influencers who focus on content creation around their niche. 

This shift from a social focus to an interest focus allows brands to connect with their target audience in an exciting, new way. However, it’s also becoming increasingly important for brands to find the best influencer partners to communicate their subject matter. Navigating TikTok’s creator community around specific interests can be like searching for a needle in a haystack. At Connelly Partners, we’ve invested time and resources to make the search for the best partners streamlined and fruitful. TikTok has shown us that it prioritizes engaging content over follower count, which means that when a brand marries the right creator/influencer with their product or service, magic can happen. 

Don’t Skip the ROI Beyond Social Posts.

There’s no denying that influencers can create amazing social media content for your brand, but it shouldn’t stop there. When influencer marketing campaigns are executed to their fullest potential, influencers are utilized across a brand’s digital footprint, paid media, earned media, and creative programming. That’s because when you select the right influencers for your brand, their creativity and authenticity can help cut through the clutter both on and off line. 

First, beyond a brand’s owned social channels, influencer content should be repurposed across a brand’s website and product pages to increase conversion. People want to see “real” photos of your product or service vs. stock photography of it. Second, influencer content assets can be utilized in paid social media. If you work with influencers who resemble your target audience and brand interests, they can act as a ‘demographic figurehead’ for your brand and offer content that really resonates with your consumers. In fact, in a panel led by the agency What They Said, it was noted that 61% of people trust influencer content over brand content on social media. Third, if you work with a notable macro or mega influencer, you can further capitalize on their influence by using their likeness and association with your brand in media outreach to secure earned press coverage. Last, many influencers are first and foremost creators; brands can leverage the expertise and vision of their influencer partners to inform their creative. Influencers have their finger on the pulse of what a brand’s audience wants to see, so by allowing influencers into the creative process, brands can pressure-test concepts to their target demographic before they commit. 

Influencer marketing is no longer confined to the social feed, and as we continue to work with brands to maximize their investment in the creator economy, we are keeping a keen eye on out-of-the-box ways we can leverage influencers for an increased ROI.