Live Shopping: A New Influencer Marketing Powerhouse?
The combination of new social trends and rapidly evoling industries such as fashion and beauty makes B2C influencer marketing an incredibly fast-paced space. Pair this with the ongoing battle between social platforms to launch the newest and best functionality and it can be practically impossible to keep up with what-is-what in the influencer space.
One new platform development which offers an opportunity that has gone largely unnoticed by brands is the introduction of live stream shopping on TikTok and Instagram.
In this article, we explore recent developments in social commerce functionality and why this may just be the best thing to happen in B2C influencer marketing for some time.
Social Commerce Developments
Social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram have always been a hub of promotion for ecommerce brands. This is especially true for aesthetically driven brands such as those in the health, fitness, beauty and fashion spaces - using these image-focused platforms to drive interest and develop brand recognition.
Yet it isn’t until more recent times that social platforms have taken notice of the opportunity that e-commerce provides. For example, Facebook didn’t launch their own ecommerce platform ‘Facebook Shops’ until 2020 and Instagram did not launch advanced checkout features until 2019.
TikTok has been the latest to the ecommerce party, partnering with Shopify and other ecommerce platforms to roll out in-app shopping in 2021. Since their eCommerce launch, both TikTok and Instagram have been locked in a battle to offer the best and most advanced ecommerce functionality available.
The introduction of commerce functionality has been revolutionary for many brands, turning social platforms from slightly awkward, promotional and brand building tools into powerful ways to drive direct sales - both directly and via influencer collaborations.
Live Shopping Updates
To date, both TikTok and Instagram have rolled out ecommerce functionality across feeds and reels for the majority of businesses and creators. More recently, both have announced and started the wider rollout of live shopping experiences.
This new functionality allows those with access to publish product links directly in live stream videos, giving them the opportunity to reference any products and services they are using whilst offering a quick way for viewers to find out more and buy.
So, what will the rollout of live video mean for influencer marketing?
Honestly, it could be huge.
The biggest differentiating factors of working with influencers is the trust, authenticity and personality they build with their audience. After all, reach can be achieved via paid advertising and great content can be achieved by working with content agencies - but there is quiet literally no better way to leverage strong relationships with a specific audience than through working with influencers.
...think less ‘QVC cringe-fest’ and instead focus on creating content that seems more like a video call with a trusted friend making recommendations...
Live videos are already widely being used by brands and influencers in order to deliver information and messaging in a compelling and exciting way. With live shopping, influencers will be able to continue to use live video as a way to naturally generate audience buy-in by mentioning, demonstrating and recommending products.
However, it is important brands don’t fall into the trap of working with influencers to put out live-commercial type content. This staged type of live content is unlikely to appeal to social media audiences and will certainly look unnatural and non-native on TikTok or Instagram.
The whole point of live streaming is to generate less-produced, more authentic content that will generate a high level of buy-in from audiences. So, brands and influencers should think less ‘QVC cringe-fest’ and instead focus on creating content that seems more like a video call with a trusted friend making recommendations on new products and services.
IM via Live Shopping: Summary
Commerce via social media has clearly been identified by many brands as a large part of their sales strategy. Live videos are offering influencers a smart way to better build relationships and develop trust with their audience through less-produced content. Brands that recognise the potential of new commerce tools on platforms such as TikTok and Instagram will be the first to benefit from their huge selling power.