Robin Ward, Head of Sales at LTK Europe, looks at the importance of influecers when marketing to Gen Z consumers.
Whether you admit it or not, we are all heavily influenced by online creators. This is especially true when it comes to our shopping habits, where creators are the most influential factor when buying products online, ahead of traditional advertising and celebrity endorsements. (LTK Shopper Study, August 2022).
Every major brand or retailer knows that having an active social media strategy is no longer just an advantage, it is a necessity. This not only refers to a prominent cross channel strategy for the brand itself, but expands to a wide array of content and mentions appearing on the pages of influencers for target industries and audiences as well.
Employing this meaningfully and thriving with it is key to connecting with shoppers not easily reached by more traditional marketing channels – such as Gen Z.
As the first digital-native generation, 97 per cent of Gen Zers claim they use social media as their top source of shopping inspiration – spending nearly an hour a day on TikTok alone, according to a study from The Influencer Marketing Factory.?This means online creators provide a real opportunity for brands to communicate with Gen Z as part of their daily life and across all categories. And Gen Z wants and appreciates the guidance. With 68 per cent of Gen Z customers watching or reading at least three reviews online before making a first purchase, choiceful influencer marketing is pivotal for brands and impactful when collaborating with the right ones.
With Gen Z representing 40 per cent of the total consumer base, according to UniDays, it’s crucial that brands understand their habits and how they can adapt their?marketing?tactics to build trust and brand loyalty amongst them.
As marketing tactics evolve to include hyped up meta universes, the human connection from influencer marketing remains at the top of the priority list for many brands. So, what is?the secret behind a successful influencer marketing strategy, and why does it work so well when it comes to connecting with Gen Z?
According to a recent study from LTK, 92 per cent of Gen Z rely on influencers to inform their shopping purchases across virtually every category. Moreover, a whopping 75 per cent of Gen Z shop online, with the majority doing so on their phone, after scrolling products on their favourite social media app.
Gen Zers are not easily fooled, and they are often sceptical of traditional marketing tactics and new products they haven’t tried. Influencer marketing helps brands connect with new audiences through personable, authentic content. Creators help humanise brands through trusted recommendations tailored to their specific audience and by displaying their honest product reviews and the multiple ways to incorporate an item into their life.
At LTK, we have seen impressive results through our partnerships with thousands of brands and retailers as creator-guided shopping specialists. For instance, in 2021, we collaborated with luxury skincare brand Elemis to help it embrace a more consistent influencer strategy for its marketing mix. Through adopting an always-onapproach, LTK was able to help cast creators with a genuine love for the brand and who brought a personal approach to the campaign.
This allowed creators to make content that resonated with their followers, which felt organic as the audience were not seeing Elemis on their feeds for the first time. ?Each creator was also provided with an exclusive discount code, which allowed enhanced tracking of performance. 76 per cent of shoppers who used the influencer’s codes during the campaign were new customers to elemis.com, demonstrating the power of driving audience acquisition through creators.
As creators are able to post personal and transparent content about virtually all parts of their lives, they can build strong trust with their followers that naturally transfers to loyalty towards a range of brands across different verticals. This relationship often leads Gen Z to follow influencers on a long-term basis, with a lot of audiences growing up with creators.. This means that if brands are able to work with creators on a long-term basis, influencers have the ability to drive affinity long-term.
In order to effectively connect with Gen Z we need to meet them where they are most actively engaged and present. This often means online through the creators they follow. With 92 per cent of Gen Z trusting niche influencers over A listers, according to Morning Consult, gone are the days where only the best-known celebrities are emulated and taken lifestyle inspiration from. These findings suggest it is financially more immediately rewarding for brands to invest in influencer marketing for short-term sales over expensive celebrity endorsements. Influencer marketing effectively driving brand recognition is just the start, it also leads to a full funnel impact, especially when it comes to raising sales, awareness and ROI.
Going beyond the top of the funnel, creators’ intimate everyday relationship with their audiences means they have a following of high-intent shoppers which can help result in a deeper rate of engagement, sales, and conversion compared to other marketing channels. When effectively tracked, influencer marketing allows brands to measure their ROI and adjust the subsequent phases of their campaigns in order to reach the optimal results.?
According to Statista, 60 per cent of marketers agree that influencer marketing has higher ROI than traditional advertising. Creators can help brands see real impact through tracked sales driven to their site. By approaching influencer marketing through the sales funnel, brands can leverage and integrate discount codes and affiliate links as part of their strategy for growth. By carefully selecting the right content creators to work with based on ability to convert and competitor benchmarking, brands can ensure their efforts reach ready to buy audiences.
From building brand trust to increasing ROI, the unmatched results of influencer marketing done right speaks for themselves. With a majority of Gen Z turning to social media to inspire their shopping purchases, brands need to think long-term and always-on with their influencer ambassadorships. By partnering with creator commerce specialists to create a performance-led strategy, brands can build powerful relationships with long-term brand advocates to capture the imagination and maintain the attention amongst a decision-fatigued society.