Influence Weekly #264 - 56.8% of Social Commerce Buyers Trust Social Media Influencers for Making a Buying Decision

Influence Weekly #264
December 23rd, 2022
Executive Summary
  • 56.8% of Social Commerce Buyers Trust Social Media Influencers for Making a Buying Decision
  • TikTok Bans by States in U.S. Will Impact Tourism Marketing
  • Why Ritual is leaning into podcast ads to attract loyal customers
  • What Is Instagram’s Latest Notes Feature?
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Great Reads

Stephanie Ledda: Breaking Into The Fragrance Industry With Her Audience By Her Side
Stephanie Ledda is a beauty influencer with 1.12 million subscribers on her YouTube channel, SMLx0. She started her channel in 2009, before influencing was even a thing, and has since turned it into a successful business. In addition to her beauty content, Ledda is also interested in fragrances and has recently launched her own brand, LEDDA. She uses a Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) manufacturing model and her debut scent, 22 Orris, is made with unique and expensive ingredients. Ledda explains, "Orris is a very unique scent and it is not in a lot of fragrances. It has just this unique buttery quality. It’s also one of the most expensive ingredients to work with, which is probably why it’s not that common but it’s truly unique." She also discusses the inspiration behind the name 22 Orris, saying, "22 comes from a few different things. It’s the year 2022 but also we were playing around with different oil percentages of the fragrance and ultimately, we landed on 22%. For those who may not know, if you alter the percentage of the oil, it can completely change the scent."

Ledda has relied on social media marketing tactics to promote her brand, including creating content and receiving organic shares from influencers she has gifted the product to. She explains, "I feel like that goes a long way, especially when people see that it wasn’t an AD and people are really loving it. I think word-of-mouth is really the best thing right now as we grow." In addition to her fragrance brand, Ledda also has a successful wine brand, Esemelle, and plans to continue expanding her business by using the same DTC model. She says, "I really believe in the DTC model and I think that’s the future of retail. I think that’s how you’re going to be able to differentiate yourself and offer something that’s unique."

56.8% of Social Commerce Buyers Trust Social Media Influencers for Making a Buying Decision: GoodFirms Survey
GoodFirms, a research, ratings, and reviews platform, conducted a survey titled "Social Commerce - Progress and Future: GoodFirms Survey 2022" to analyze the current state of social commerce, its key drivers, opportunities, challenges, and future scope. The survey was conducted to understand the transactional activities that occur in digitally intensive social environments, such as showcasing products and creating shoppable content, and to identify the top marketing strategies used in social commerce to boost brand awareness, sales, and customer engagement.

Some key findings from the survey include:
  • 86.5% of respondents prefer Instagram for buying products.
  • 56.8% of respondents buy products based on the advice of social media influencers.
  • 48.6% of respondents prefer virtual try-on clothing and accessories on various social commerce platforms.
  • 27% of respondents reported spam selling on social commerce platforms.
  • 40.2% of respondents were unhappy with social commerce brands' customer service.
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Campaign Insights

TikTok Bans by States in U.S. Will Impact Tourism Marketing
Multiple state tourism agencies in the US have ended their participation on TikTok to comply with state executive orders. The orders were issued by the governors of Texas, South Carolina, Maryland, Oklahoma, Utah, Alabama, Iowa, Idaho, and Georgia and reference TikTok’s ownership by Chinese company Bytedance, making it subject to the Chinese government’s interests. 

The orders have been primarily issued by Republican state governors and a ban on TikTok in the US could be implemented soon, with Senator Marco Rubio introducing a bill with bipartisan support to ban the app in the country. The US Senate has also unanimously passed a bill that would ban federal employees from downloading or using the app on government devices, though it has yet to be passed by the US House of Representatives and signed by President Joe Biden. Multiple executive orders also cite FBI Director Christopher Wray’s warnings that TikTok poses a national security issue and could be used by the Chinese government to influence, spy on, or control American users.


Cisco is training employees to be LinkedIn influencers to help recruit top talent for competitive tech jobs
Cisco's chief people officer, Kelly Jones, has implemented a company-wide initiative to train all of its over 84,000 employees to serve as talent influencers for the company. Jones believes that every person at Cisco can be a recruiter of top talent for the organization, as it is essential for the company to fill highly technical and specialized roles. Cisco has reportedly laid off about 4,000 employees in the past month, however Jones stated that the company expects to end the year at around the same headcount it started with. 

To inspire a hiring culture among employees, Cisco has implemented training sessions for its employees on how to become talent influencers for the company by using their own social media pages and LinkedIn profiles to attract top talent. The training sessions have proven to be successful, reducing time-to-fill for positions by about five days and increasing employee retention rates. In an interview with Fortune, Jones said, ""We say at Cisco that we have 84,000 brand ambassadors. We recognize that it’s not just the recruiting organization’s responsibility to bring talent here.”


Kimpton Hotels aims for more diversity
Hospitality chain Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants has launched a diverse creator collective alongside brand commitments for more inclusive social media content. The brand’s recent global survey included over 4,000 respondents across the UK, Australia, Japan, and the US, revealing that consumers do not feel represented in travel influencer social media. In response, Kimpton launched the Stay Human Creator Collective to produce social media content that better reflects inclusivity. The diverse creators gathered in London to contribute thoughts on how Kimpton can transform travel content and establish brand commitments. 

According to Kathleen Reidenbach, chief commercial officer at Kimpton: "We want our guests and our employees to be comfortable and embraced for being their most authentic selves, no matter their pronoun, skin colour or body type...we are committed to diving deeper into the foundation of our 'Stay Human' brand ethos with new brand commitments that will continue to change the way we work with creators, the imagery we share and the experiences we offer."


Why Ritual is leaning into podcast ads to attract loyal customers
Wellness brand Ritual wants podcast listeners to hear them out.

Ritual — which sells a suite of multivitamins for adults, prenatal and postnatal — is leveraging podcast ads to gain the attention of potential customers. The company has now partnered with over 700 podcast creators, and says it plans on increasing that number. It teams up with podcasts from a range of genres, including health and wellness, true crime, parenting, relationships and comedy.

According to Justin Fredlender, Ritual’s vp of growth, podcasts are a great source of high-value customers. The customer lifetime value of its shoppers that come from podcasts are typically 20% higher than the company’s business average, he said. Thanks to its customer acquisition strategies, Ritual has amassed over a million customers and brought in over $100 million in sales in 2021

The use of podcasts as an advertising channel has been a growing trend amoung brands in recent years. Insider Intelligence estimates that podcast ad spending in the U.S. will exceed $2 billion next year. In Ritual’s case, its podcast ad spending has grown over 100% since 2019.

“We saw the opportunity to expand our reach into new diverse audiences,” said Fredlender. “As we’re growing as a brand, we just understood that there’s probably an opportunity to diversify into also just new channels in general.”
Interesting People

YouTube influencer Emma Chamberlain built a thriving coffee brand
YouTuber Emma Chamberlain has turned her social media fame into a coffee brand, Chamberlain Coffee. Launched in 2019 with a single-serve coffee bag, the brand has since expanded its product range and retail presence as sales grow. Its competitors in the space include Bankroll Coffee, created by personal finance influencer Graham Stephan, and Stella Blue Coffee, launched by Barstool Sports radio host Dan Katz. Chamberlain Coffee owes its popularity to Chamberlain, who has 11.9 million followers on YouTube, and has turned the product into an "aspirational beverage" that allows drinkers to feel like they're living her lifestyle, according to Ben Grinspan, director of cultural strategy at Omnicom-owned culture consultancy Sparks & Honey. Prices range from $16 to $22 per bag, higher than those offered by Dunkin'.

Chamberlain started the brand with simple branding to test how consumers would respond, and has since released a new product almost every month this year to engage existing customers and reach new ones. "As we’ve evolved, I’ve taken a step back on having the brand be all about me and putting more love into creating what Chamberlain Coffee is on its own without me in your face as much on the packaging and in the promo," said Chamberlain. The rebrand, which came about a month after partnering with Copenhagen-based venture capital firm Blazar Capital, saw the brand work with Blazar Capital and UTA Ventures to raise money and expand into a range of products that featured characters, such as Witty Fox Hazelnut and Sneaky Bat Pumpkin Spice blends.

Following the rebrand, the company began growing its team, hiring former Red Bull Strategy Director Chris Gallant as CEO in 2021 and Liz Ahern, also formerly of Red Bull, as CMO in November 2022. Chamberlain Coffee has released a new product almost every month this year. "It's a way to continue to engage our existing customers to come back to the brand for new consumption occasions while also reaching new customers," said a brand spokesperson. "Frequent launches have been a key driver of our growth."


Nikki Glamour Connecting With Others Through YouTube Story Times
Nikki Glamour is a YouTube storytime, fashion, lifestyle, and true crime influencer with nearly 650,000 subscribers. She started her YouTube channel in 2013 while working two other jobs and initially focused on makeup content. However, she quickly discovered the popularity of storytime videos and began incorporating them into her channel. All of her storytime videos are based on real stories, but she changes the names, locations, ages, and timelines to protect the privacy of those involved. Nikki's most popular storytime videos include tales of dating a celebrity's son and getting into a fight with a pregnant girl in middle school (which Nikki was unaware of at the time). 

In addition to YouTube, Nikki also posts content on TikTok and Instagram, with a focus on lip-syncing and fashion content on the former and everyday life and motherhood on the latter. Nikki has worked with numerous brands across various industries, including jewelry, fashion, makeup, and food companies. She prioritizes working with brands that she genuinely believes in and ensures that any brand partnerships feel organic and fit naturally within her content. Nikki values privacy and is careful about what she shares on each platform. In the future, she plans to continue growing her channel and potentially expanding into podcasting or creating a physical product line.


Kaden Smith: Sports Marketing With NFL Tight End
Kaden Smith is a professional American football player in the NFL. He is also co-founder of Progage, a sports marketing agency focused on helping brands with social media marketing and creative storytelling. The agency aims to form authentic partnerships between brands, universities, athletes, and collectives within the sports industry, and has worked with brands such as Samsung, Coca-Cola, BODYARMOR, and The Bountiful Company.

 Progage aims to help brands connect with less-known athletes and assist athletes in connecting with authentic, reputable brands. In addition to helping brands and athletes connect, Progage also works alongside them to develop authentic marketing campaigns and reduce the workload of working with athletes. One of Kaden's favorite brand campaigns was with Fourlaps, a high-performance athletic apparel company, where he participated in a photoshoot and produced social media content featuring the brand's products.
Industry News

Virtualness, A Creator-First Web3 Platform, Announces $8 Million In Seed Funding
Virtualness is a mobile-first platform that makes it easy for brands and creators to scale their business and capture value-creation opportunities from the Web3 and blockchain. The platform offers an intuitive interface with free creation tools, enabling creators to design and create branded digital collectibles, share them on social media, and interact with their community in new, monetizable ways. 

For creator and brand audiences, Virtualness provides a platform to directly engage with their favorite creators through selling and trading branded digital collectibles and experiences, as well as community tools to showcase collections. According to Kirthiga Reddy, co-founder of Virtualness and former employee #1 and Managing Director of Facebook India & South Asia, "I am very excited about the fundamental changes that Web3 technology enables and how that can change the way that creators connect with their fans, how brands connect with their fans." 

She adds, "Having seen this play out in the Web2 world where technology really gave a voice to creators and to brands, we wanted to do the same in terms of bringing the power of the decentralized world, the power of blockchain, and the power of Web3 to creators and brand.


What Is Instagram’s Latest Notes Feature?
Instagram has released a new feature called Notes, which are simple disappearing messages that appear in the inbox section of the app. These messages can only be sent to those in the user's Close Friends list or to followers who also follow their account, and are designed to encourage interaction in a group setting. 

Each Note is 60 characters long and does not last for more than a day, making them quick and easy to digest. Instagram Notes may also encourage users to access the app more frequently, as they must read and respond to the messages before they disappear. The feature is also aimed at encouraging users to use Instagram's direct messaging platform instead of competitor apps. To create a Note, users must access their inbox, tap the + icon, type out their message using 60 characters or less, and select the users they want to share it with. Currently, only a select group of users have access to the feature, but it is expected to be rolled out to more users in the future.


How Amazon Inspire Is Looking To Extend Social Shopping
Amazon Inspire is Amazon's latest foray into the world of social e-commerce, using short-form videos to attract customers. The platform has a feed similar to TikTok and allows users to engage with and like the content, as well as save it for future reference. The products featured in the videos are also presented at the bottom of the screen for customers to interact with and learn more about on the Amazon website. 

Amazon Inspire aims to become more competitive with other social shopping options such as Instagram and Shopify, which allow users to see and purchase products within the same app. The platform is accessed through the Amazon Shopping app and users can choose from over 20 interests to personalize their feed. Amazon Inspire relies on the work of Amazon Influencers to create and promote content, and these creators can monetize their work by joining the Amazon Influencer Program. Brands can also use the platform by enrolling in the Brand Registry and setting up a Brand Storefront. Amazon Inspire is currently only available in the United States.


Meet Whalar, The Streamys Choice for Agency of the Year
In February, Martha Stewart took to TikTok for the first time to give people her tips on posting thirst traps. The video, which taps into the platform’s trend of using the text-to-speech feature, was part of an ad campaign for French makeup brand Clé de Peau. Posted in February and viewed 9.2 million times, the 30-second clip is the end result of a partnership between Clé de Peau and creator commerce company Whalar—the Streamy Award winner for agency of the year. According to Whalar CMO Jamie Gutfreund, Clé de Peau had approached Whalar in the fall of 2020. “[Stewart] did what she does best, which is telling you what she's thinking and how you should do something,” Gutfreund says. Eight months later, the campaign won Branded Video of the year at the Streamy Awards.

Amazon goes TikTok. Here's how it will work
Amazon has launched a new short-form video and photo feed called Inspire in its app, which aims to bolster and build on Amazon's existing influencer content, which spans products from fitness to fashion to cooking. Oliver Messenger, director of Amazon Shopping, said that the company's goal was to create a "more immersive" shopping experience on Amazon's app, one where discovery is built-in. He said: "It’s streamlined in the sense that it’s tailored to you and your interests. When you start up Inspire, we ask you: What are you interested in? What do you want to see? You can create, cite your hobbies or types of things you’re into—and your feed will learn from that."

Messenger added that Inspire would also show customers content that they "may not have found yourself," from a range of brands, creators, and customers in line with their interests. He said: "It’s also deliberately not streamlined in the sense that we’ll show you content that you maybe didn’t expect from a range of brands, creators, and customers in line with those interests, but it’s content that you may not have found yourself."

Amazon Inspire is currently only available to select customers, but the feature will be available to all Amazon customers sometime next year, with the current goal being Q1, according to Messenger.
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TikTok Class Is in Session - The New York Times
TikTok is now so big that people are paying to be good at it — and influencer-instructors are saying that, for a fee, they can teach that. These classes usually fall into three buckets: how to navigate TikTok, how to actually make videos for the app and how to make money from them. TikTok's highly personalized algorithm has made more people go viral. As a result, influencers, new and old, are harnessing their moments of fame into another income stream and selling classes to people hoping to achieve similar heights.

"People are realizing that this is the future of social media and they need to learn now how to create video content," said Taylor Loren, a social media strategist in Vancouver who teaches people how to use TikTok and whose success has led her to offer a new class about Meta's short video competitor, Reels. "I just saw a really big opportunity."

"You can get money for your videos, but it's a very small amount," said Karen Jordan, a toy design student from Menifee, California, who has more than 1.4 million followers on TikTok and offers an hourlong class on the online learning platform Skillshare, where an annual membership costs $165. "I can always promote my class anytime."

"I started teaching about TikTok because I was getting so many questions from friends and family about it," said Tessa Barrera, a high school Spanish teacher from San Antonio who has been teaching a TikTok course on the online learning platform Udemy for about six months. "I never thought it would take off like this." Barrera's course has been taken by more than 6,500 students and has a rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars.


Meta Is Shutting Down Experimental Livestreaming Platform Super - Business Insider
Meta is shutting down its Super platform which enabled influencers to host interactive livestreams, engage with fans, and earn revenue. The product, which was not an extension of Instagram or any of Meta's existing products, had initially been compared to Cameo and FaceTime, but had become more similar in functionality to Twitch. Super will no longer be available from 15 February 2023. The platform was developed by Meta's New Product Experimentation (NPE) team, which has also tested products rivaling TikTok, Twitter, and Clubhouse. Chris Thompson, an influencer with over 1 million followers on TikTok, said he thought Super was "a great streaming option for those who don't have the desire to make their own layouts," adding that he enjoyed using the trivia function.
 
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