Social media has become one of the most important marketing channels for retailers and brands to raise awareness and drive action among their audiences, as it takes an increasingly central role in people’s lives as a way to connect and share. Connected online social platforms are transitioning from places to participate in conversations and build a following into marketing channels, while the addition of new commerce tools and capabilities is transforming them into valuable storefronts to facilitate sales. Simultaneously, the ascension of influencers and creators with large, highly engaged audiences is changing the ways brands and retailers are able to engage with their customers, inspire loyalty, and drive purchases.
Platforms are eager to monetize their users and create opportunities for brands and creators alike to connect with their target audiences, and are rolling out a host of new features from shoppable content to marketing dashboards and best-practice guides as a result. These new tools enable influencers of any scale, as well the companies looking to hire them, to generate incremental income through affiliate links, and transform any casual fan or brand ambassador into a valuable sales channel.
Part budding entrepreneur, part social media influencer and part emerging brand, creators and influencers are taking advantage of the wealth of digital platforms and resources available to build an audience and earn an income. For the growing number of digital communities and platforms (Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, Substack, OnlyFans, Pinterest, etc.) where these creators promote their content, attracting and retaining top talent has taken on outsize importance, both for the ability to bring in new audiences as well as to drive incremental revenue. As a result, these same companies are rolling out a host of new creator tools and features to facilitate fan engagement, content production and monetization. Brands as well as platforms are very eager to leverage creator cache through affiliate marketing programs, stunt hires, and product collaborations to reach younger, digitally-savvy consumers.
It’s an exciting time for retailers and brands to explore the expansive social landscape. For the moment at least, this is where a growing majority of consumers, particularly those in the younger demographic, are spending their time and attention, and increasingly, their dollars. In the following report, the PSFK team looks at six key trends in social commerce, bringing them to life for our members with a number of recent examples from the marketplace.
As social apps and digital spaces continue to evolve into all-in-one entertainment, discovery and shopping experiences, platforms are gaining a unique perspective into digital CX spanning in-the-moment viral products to the messaging, creators, and content driving consumer engagement. Recognizing the value these insights hold for brands and creatives, platforms are leveraging their first-party data to inform best practices and strategies and provide brands and retailers with the tools for marketing more effectively through social media.In-Crowd Engagement
To better inform product development, meet existing consumer communities one-on-one, and facilitate greater connections between brand, influencer, superfan and everyday consumer, retailers are leveraging emerging social channels to interact one-on-one with fans and followers through text, Slack-like messaging groups, and video. Within these digital communities, which can be invite-only, subscription based or part of a larger loyalty offering, brands are trading access to better services and insider content in exchange for feedback and input from the communities driving their business.Stunt Hires
To build interest, connect with new consumers, and generate positive content, brands and retailers are designing social media facing competitions to fill buzzy positions and ‘dream roles' within their organizations. After competing in various TikTok-style challenges and other social-based competitions, selected winners or candidates earn covetable positions - Flavor Confirmer, Chief TikTok Officer, Director of Taco Relations - while the user-generated content submitted for each competition or job listing acts as its own brand campaign.
The risqué site is becoming a popular way for companies to let their hair down and engage with a different audience.