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January 26, 2023 // Kelsee Sailsbery and Tiffany Frederick  //       //  Opinion

Influencer Marketing x Social Discovery 2023

When a majority of consumers migrated their online searches from desktop to mobile in 2016, it marked a seismic behavioral shift. In recent years, consumers have shifted their search habits again, and the aftershock promises to have similar, long-lasting impact. 

Nearly half of Gen Z consumers now use TikTok and Instagram to discover new brands and products compared with traditional search tools. This impacts a brand’s ability to connect and engage with its customers of any age because visual discovery offers a better customer experience. It will also have a larger effect on a brand’s bottom line as it might demand new ways of budgeting things like paid media dollars. 

As more consumer adopt this shift to visual discovery in 2023, Allison+Partners will continue to evolve our approach to influencer marketing, incorporating Social Discovery best practices into influencer campaigns through brand messaging, creative direction and further use of social listening tools. This includes sourcing more influencers for user-generated content (UGC) with a goal of supporting better and controlled social search results for brands. 

How influencer marketing can support social search 

Where brands do not yet have the reach on their owned channels or do not yet have an owned TikTok channel, influencer marketing can be a solution to bring brand awareness among consumers and provide a human voice and authenticity to its messaging.  

In 2023, influencers will become even more important to affiliate programs. Nano and micro influencers will garner more of the spotlight, and a greater emphasis will be placed on diversity and representation. But finding the influencer who truly represents a brand and can attract the right audience will always remain crucial to a campaign’s success. In the end, consumers will only listen to influencers they genuinely trust. We already know many social users, especially Gen Z consumers, are more likely to trust influencer content over brand content when doing research online. Authentic UGC cultivates that trust.  

As the move to social search continues to evolve, more influencer marketing will be based on social search predictions and UGC creators will become just as valuable as traditional influencers to drive sales and traffic. In fact, a study in 2021 showed 80% of respondents said UGC highly impacts their purchasing decisions because it resonates as more authentic.  

The benefits of incorporating social search into influencer marketing strategy are many. Just as traditional search engine optimization (SEO) boosts websites’ visibility, social media needs optimization to develop a consistent process for creating content poised to perform well relative to a brand. Social media optimization (SMO) can increase the visibility and reach of your content, resulting in greater engagement in the form of clicks, traffic and awareness. It can also help you assess the overall ROI and outcomes of your social marketing in terms of sales and brand awareness.  

Because the search landscape constantly evolves, we expect – and have prepared for – changes in our influencer marketing work. Going forward, creative briefs will likely include extra direction on keywords, searchable words and SMO. We anticipate needing additional research for best and trending social terms relevant to our clients, as well as additional required keywords and guidelines for approved content copy and text overlay. Clients will have new asks for UGC that controls and/or helps shape brand messaging and have quick-turnaround requests on any negative PR or trending issues that happen via social media platforms. And we expect more use of influencers in a “customer service” capacity on certain messaging points. 

This is the Social Discovery moment – our likes, interests and locations will have a much greater impact on the content we are served. Content from individuals will be prioritized over brands, and consumers will likely be much more informed before encountering your side of the story.  

This requires a reframing of the ways brands interact with customers and greater integration across product, marketing and customer service. Meet that moment with A+P’s Social Discovery Squad, which refocuses brand channels by considering social reach, channel optimization and social word-of-mouth referrals. Visit the Social Discovery microsite and learn more.

Tiffany is a Senior Account Executive focused on influencer marketing and is also influencer in-residence. As a multi-faceted marketing professional, she has gained a wealth of experience over the years in digital marketing and social media.

Kelsee Sailsbery is a Senior Account Executive specializing in strategy and day-to-day execution for influencer partnerships and social media campaigns.

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