While returning to “normal” post-Covid is expected to be a slow process, Arthur Altounian, vice president of client strategy and Asia-Pacific growth at CNIB, says e-commerce and social media will continue to fill the void left by the loss of in-store retail.
While e-commerce on marketplaces is the preferred channel for shoppers in Southeast Asia, social commerce has become the second most popular form of shopping and is expected to be worth $2.6 billion within two years in the region. Influencer marketing, once seen as an add-on to a digital strategy, now drives billions of brand conversations, with content driving purchases and driving millions in sales. However, to reap the full benefits, marketers must be prepared to scale and shape their influencer investments with the fierceness and resilience that the Year of the Tiger demands.
Here are four ways brands should start including influencer marketing in their strategy to stay ahead of the competition and be fierce in the industry.
Dive into the Metaverse
Although still in its infancy, the metaverse has the potential to completely transform lives and will inevitably reshape the social media landscape. Key to this is Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s decision to change his company’s name to Meta in his grand plan to develop a virtual world.
According to Zuckerberg, the metaverse will be an interactive digital space where users will be fully immersed in content rather than simply consuming it. This could open up a whole world of interaction and communication for influencers.
A recent report from R3 revealed that authenticity, individuality and immediacy are some of the key attributes that young digital natives look for in their influencers. The metaverse has the potential for a whole new world of interaction and communication for influencers, both with their peers and their audience.
Influencers can recreate their real life in a parallel virtual world without borders. Brands will therefore have more opportunities to flex their creative muscles, pioneering new ways to speak to consumers on a deep and immersive level. Communicating with large communities comes naturally to influencers, so they will be natural candidates to attract consumers to a brand’s virtual space.
Platform shopping on social media is set to skyrocket to become a $3.37 trillion business worldwide over the next eight years. It’s no surprise, then, that Meta/Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest are all investing heavily in creating smoother shopping journeys on their platforms.
At last year’s TikTok World event, we got a sneak peek at the platform’s upcoming features, including ‘Instant Pages’ and ‘Pop-up Showcase’, which should improve collaboration between the brand and the creator and be a driver of customer buying decisions.
As noted by R3, consumers in Southeast Asia value a hyperlocal marketing approach. Therefore, social media influencers applicable to each regional market can generate more trust in their brand endorsements, giving them more power to drive online sales. This applies to both influential celebrities and so-called micro-influencers, who command dedicated audiences through their niches.
QVC goes digital
Anyone over the age of 35 may remember their parents killing long afternoons shopping on QVC TV networks and channels in the United States that gave the viewer a home TV shopping experience. However, this relic of the 1980s and 90s could be making a comeback in live shopping experiences on social media.
Indeed in China today, direct purchases represent 9% of e-commerce sales. While Southeast Asia has yet to see this take off, there are a few key innovations marketers should be aware of.
On Facebook live shopping and Shopee Live, for example, influencers can livestream themselves discussing their favorite products. This can range from fitness tips to makeup tutorials – content where a target audience is actively seeking product information, usability, and recommendations.
However, creators are only part of the process. While they can engage their audience and direct them to recommendations, brands will need to invest in more self-distribution capabilities to control their traffic and brand message, while providing a seamless option for purchases.
Crunch the numbers
It’s all too easy to think the job is done when the campaign is finally launched, but sadly, that’s not the case. Measuring campaign traction and content creator sales conversions with accurate attribution will help marketers track ROI while informing campaign positioning across other media.
With effective measurement in place, marketers can better leverage the numbers for further brand amplification. Increasing content, using platform integrations and partnerships will result in scaling outside of a creator’s organic network.
By creating the perfect combination of influencer-generated content and paid channels such as social media, digital out of home (DOOH) or connected TV, marketers will achieve more quantifiable results in the marketing funnel while generating a higher return on investment. of the influencer relationship. Consistent content amplification also builds follower trust, which translates into a lasting impression and increased brand awareness.
With the return to post-Covid ‘normalcy’ expected to be a slow process, e-commerce and social media will continue to fill the void left by the loss of in-store retail. Marketers who can harness the reach, trust, and buying power of influencer marketing will be the ones to earn their stripes this year.
Arthur Altounian is the vice president of customer strategy and growth in Asia-Pacific for INCA.