Welcome back! The entire AspireIQ team and I hope that everyone who celebrates Thanksgiving had a great holiday and those who don’t still caught a few Black Friday deals. We’re back with a recap of November's top industry news. Keep reading to learn what experts are saying about IG removing likes, Moose Kuckle’s community-first marketing strategy, and how Gen Zers engage with influencers.
The article: Instagram is still the most lucrative platform for branded content deals, even without ‘likes.’ Here’s why, according to influencer-marketing experts
Although Instagram has been testing hidden “likes” globally, the platform proves to be the leading platform for monetizing a social media following. Instagram has been one of the only platforms where influencers can reliably monetize their following via social commerce tools. According to influencer marketing experts, this likely won’t change even if “likes” are permanently hidden because advertisers and influencers now care more about click-through traffic than vanity metrics. However, one up-and-coming competitor may be TikTok, which has reportedly been piloting social commerce tools similar to Instagram.
If I was a betting woman, I’d bet it all on the fact that Instagram is here to stay, despite the app changing the way we measure engagement by removing ‘likes’. It’s very unlikely that Instagram’s more than 1 billion monthly users will flock to other social media platforms after these changes take place permanently. In fact, I’m betting it’s quite the contrary.
I remember first getting an Instagram back in 2012. One of my first – now deleted – posts was a granny, mediocre-at-best photo of the lunch I was having before cheer practice. While it didn't garner many likes, I really wasn’t bothered. I remember commenting back and forth with a few friends and posting something equally as “raw” the next time I was compelled to do so. It’s safe to say that I speak for a large group of Instagram users when I say that removing visible likes on IG has the power to bring us back to those good ol’ days.
Instagram used to be much more authentic. We didn’t worry about the best times to post, finding the perfect filter or making sure a picture fits in with our feed aesthetic. By removing the pressure to post, I think brands, influencers, and the average user will be more likely to post what feels authentic and see an increase in engagement in other ways.
The article: Moose Knuckles leans on wholesale and micro-influencers as it embarks on U.S. expansion
Canadian outerwear company Moose Knuckles is making its official retail debut in New York City and using word-of-mouth and wholesale partnerships to build a cult following. The brand has seen five consecutive years of 60-70% annual growth in sales, and it’s projected to grow the revenue an additional 70% this year.
CEO Ayal Twik credits word-of-mouth for the brand’s success stating, “We really grew very quickly because Koreans living in Toronto became really into the brand about six years ago. The community told all of their friends back in Korea, and then a lot of the Korean celebrities started wearing our jackets.” Additionally, Moose Knuckles is partnering with micro-influencers, artists, musicians, DJs, chefs, and baristas, to help raise awareness of the NYC flagship store. Twik says, “Using that sense of community is how we build the brand in new markets. Once we build those communities, it’s like dominos.”
The internet has expanded the reach of brand communities and given brands endless opportunities to interact with their fans — yet most brands have not seized this opportunity.
Take note, because Moose Knuckles is not one of them. The brand has successfully tapped into a community of people who are fans of the brand to spread brand awareness. Moose Knuckles understands that its fans are its biggest advocates, and giving fans the space to sing the brand’s praises will result in returns that spread much further than just purchases. Investing in a strong community has the power to create long-term relationships with customers, inject authenticity into brand strategy, differentiate you from competitors, and ultimately entice others to join the brand community — encouraging long-term brand loyalty and affinity.
Market research company Morning Consult recently released a report showing that influencers are increasingly becoming a central driver of millennial and Gen Z consumer decisions.
The report reveals that 88% of millennials and Gen Zers learn about new products through social media. This article also summarizes key takeaways from the report such as both Gen Z women and men regard certain YouTubers as more influential than major celebrities, 86% of young Americans are willing to post sponsored content for money, and 58% of respondents say the most important trait an influencer needs to have is authenticity.
You might ask yourself why Gen Zers are all that marketers can talk about nowadays. Well, the fact is, by 2020, GenZ will account for 40% of all consumers. Young people have always had a large hand in shaping how consumers relate to brands. But Gen Z — those born between 1995 and 2010 — have truly changed how consumers interact with brands.
Gen Zers’ emphasis on social media, authentic interactions, and their willingness to speak up for what they believe in is a peak into the future. Brands that don’t adjust their marketing strategies to appeal to Gen Zers will be left behind.