The influencer marketing space has seen a massive evolution, including facing its fair share of fragmentation. User-generated content is thriving thanks to apps such as Instagram and TikTok granting consumers creative control.
Yet, as the market continues to grow, do they both hold a critical space in influencer marketing and social strategies for marketers in 2020?
In this article, we recap a session hosted by TRIBE during #SMWLDN that grappled with the answer to this question.
Here are the primary insights and takeaways:
1. User-Generated Content Drives Higher Engagement
2. Integrating Platforms Has a Variety of Benefits
3. Marketers Need to Trust Creators
4. Different Algorithms Deliver Unique Experiences and Gratifications
5. Retail is in TikTok’s Future
6. Each Social Media Platform Is Like a Different Country
7. USER-GENERATED CONTENT DRIVES HIGHER ENGAGEMENT
Lisa Targett, UK General Manager at TRIBE sees room for both. “Creating for customers can be difficult in-house because it’s low volume and expensive. A statistic from Facebook itself is that user-generated content on the platform drives 6.9x higher engagement than brand-generated content.” That user-generated content is the basis of TikTok.
Nicole Davies is an influencer and creator (@nicolefdavies) from Canada, living in the UK. “Having followers on Instagram is like having monopoly money if you’re not doing anything with it,” she says. Over the past year and a half, Nicole has worked with 71 brands via TRIBE, primarily on Instagram until very recently.
INTEGRATING PLATFORMS HAS A VARIETY OF BENEFITS
“I started posting it on TikTok because when you’re scrolling in your bed, you don’t have anyone to laugh with.” Nicole shared her TikTok’s and spoke about them on her Instagram stories, merging the platforms, after she realized she could fool the Instagram stories algorithm. “When I would post those TikTok on my story, I noticed that that story was getting way more views because people were actually watching it. From there, I enjoyed consuming [TikTok] for around four months, before I started creating primarily on TikTok.”
Ryan Martin, Commercial Strategist at TikTok, notes this as a success of TikTok’s ideal intent. “Hopefully it empowers people to go out and make short-form video content. TikTok allows people to feel really good and really confident editing video.” Despite keeping numbers close to its chest, TikTok doesn’t seem too far behind Instagram, which revealed it had 1 billion active monthly users this year.
EACH SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM IS LIKE A DIFFERENT COUNTRY
Targett wonders whether, if all the Tribe creators who are creating for Instagram create for TikTok, how the content on Instagram will then evolve. Will it become less curated and less polished and, if so, what does that mean for brands who are still struggling to let go of the creative reins?
Martin explains, “a lot of brands have realized that TikTok is this really different language. They’re asking who knows TikTok best and finding it’s people who create on it all the time. So they’re then working directly with these influencers on these platforms. For example, Pretty Little Thing works with a TikToker who helps them manage their content in line with what they want. TikTok is able to facilitate those conversations and bring people on the journey.”
Nicole believes that “with Instagram, it’s a lot more polished and on TikTok, you can let your personality shine through a bit more. That’s the fish hook that you reel people in with. Instagram is more of a catalog. You hear people say: where would I be if I got into Instagram right at the beginning? So, I’m not going to make that mistake twice. I’m prioritizing TikTok.” From a brand perspective with deciding what platform to use for campaigns, it boils down to what the company wants to achieve and get out of the campaign itself; there are complimentary opportunities and different content works in different scenarios.
MARKETERS NEED TO TRUST CREATORS
In Influencer Marketing, you have to trust the creators because they know their audience. Targett believes that “we’re at a stage operationally on TikTik as marketers, where we’re able to set up to test and learn and invite someone into a campaign. To understand how to AB test and look at vanity metrics and real results and iterate on that over time.”
DIFFERENT ALGORITHMS DELIVER UNIQUE EXPERIENCES AND GRATIFICATIONS
In terms of how the apps operate differently: Instagram differs from TikTok in the sense that you know what you’re going to see when you open it up. “You choose who you’re going to follow, people you like and have met and build a social graph” understands Martin. “TikTok works differently, so when you go in you get what’s known as a For You Feed – a feed of video that’s there as you swipe through, the machine starts to understand what you like and builds up a content graph. It’s not declared interest like Instagram.” The Discover Tab utilizes both an algorithm and in-house staff to determine the feed. “We have a team of guys that are talking to the community and understanding what trends are happening and what is happening elsewhere.”
RETAIL IS IN TIKTOK’S FUTURE
As for the future, Instagram shoppable links are expanding which will shape and change the marketplace massively, in a peer to peer, native way. Creators will be driving retail and it’s going to be embedded in one platform and not through affiliate links.
Nicole is looking forward to it. “It’ll be a lot more efficient than trying to find links somewhere else. I would be more inclined to use it within the app, to keep people on my content and improve my algorithm – killing multiple birds with one stone.”
Whilst brands aren’t yet using TikTok in this way, they’re evolving and their product offering and shopability, whilst running successful campaigns through the app. “GymShark has adopted it really well. We’re seeing different movie studios will do it for an individual film or exploring the possibility of having it as a studio as a whole,” Martin concludes, promisingly.