It is tempting to adopt a siloed approach to marketing and brand communications, especially when dealing with an audience you don't interact with daily. In a way, social media platforms are like boxes, containers of the audience segment your brand wants to reach. But if you look closely at each box, you will soon notice that no two platforms look alike.
These days influencers are often between you and the audience you wish to reach, representing an unparalleled opportunity for brands. The only caveat being that they spread across multiple platforms, all with different needs, targets, followings and more. Some prefer following their favourite influencers on Instagram, others on YouTube and TikTok – and your influencer marketing strategy cannot ignore the abyss between all these different ways of experiencing content.
We've heard from Mary Keane-Dawson, group CEO of Takumi, on why a multi-channel approach is the best way to achieve success with influencer marketing. Keep reading!
Mary Keane-Dawson, group CEO of Takumi
YouTube, TikTok and Instagram: Why a multi-platform approach is key to influencer marketing success
The influencer marketing industry has never been more diverse and active than it is now. Throughout last year, significant strides were made in delivering increased authenticity and improving legislation, and influencers continued to position themselves as creatives for brands rather than simply advertising channels.
2020 is set to be another year of change. The influencer industry is responding to the ongoing COVD-19 pandemic and its impact on consumer behaviour, and TikTok is now the world’s most downloaded non-gaming app. The short-form entertainment platform is founded on the belief that social media is more relevant and engaging when it’s raw, authentic and spontaneous, and its popularity has helped establish it as a genuine alternative marketing channel to YouTube and Instagram.
In this new influencer marketing landscape, marketers will be encouraged to explore each of these channels to get the best out of their advertising budget. But content strategies must be adapted carefully to suit the distinctive characteristics of each platform, the type of creators they attract, and the varying user behaviours.
Why multi-platform campaigns are beneficial for brands
The reasoning behind this is clear – as customers engage with a brand on a more regular basis, the chances of them becoming and ultimately staying loyal to that brand increase. This is supported by a consistent message across multiple platforms but with activity on each being tailored to suit the user experience and demographic. This can lead to an uplift in brand awareness, advert recall, and engagement: customer engagement platform Braze recently found that when customers received marketing messages on two or more channels, engagement was 166% higher than a single-channel rate and 642% higher than customers who received no messages whatsoever.
This guided the strategy behind Häagen-Dazs’s new #HaagIndoors initiative in partnership with Secret Cinema, and supported by TAKUMI. The campaign, #SecretSofa, a virtual film club, ran across an 8-week period, and allowed consumers to immerse themselves weekly with in-home screenings of Secret Cinema’s most celebrated and critically acclaimed films, while creating a community during the nationwide lockdown. It was successfully promoted by nano, micro and macro influencers on both Instagram and TikTok.
Adapting content to user experiences
Striking the right balance between marketing on YouTube, TikTok and Instagram and knowing what influencer content works best on each platform can be tricky. YouTube with its longer-form content allows for in-depth product reviews and how-to videos with high production values, where long-term brand partnerships can naturally fit and evolve; Instagram’s visual aesthetic, e-commerce integrations and user-interface leads to digestible, artistic and engaging stylised content; while TikTok encourages a more entertaining approach with its snappy, homegrown and trend-led content – a more unpredictable platform for brands but with huge potential.
These variances were explored in our latest whitepaper. Our research revealed why being platform agnostic is now a necessity for any social media campaign and how to do it right.
Across all markets, TikTok is perceived as being more escapist, entertaining, and creative than Instagram. 36% of 16-24-year-old consumers even crowned the platform king of creativity, and three out of five (60%) marketers agreed. In contrast, Instagram is considered more aspirational, informative, and user-friendly than TikTok. The majority of marketers (83%) also favour Instagram as the most informative channel.
However, consumers ranked YouTube highest across all these characteristics. On average 40% of consumers across the UK, US, and Germany believe YouTube is the most creative social channel, over half (55%) believe it to be the most informative
This is not lost on content creators as well. @bambinobecky, who has over 300,000 combined followers across YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok, says she needs to adapt her content to suit the characteristics and expectations of the users on each platform:
"Different platforms allow me to create multiple kinds of content and access to different audiences and engage in multiple ways. For Gen Z, YouTube is TV, Instagram is bite-size entertainment, Twitch is a live show and TikTok is literally everything else, which is why it is so addictive!"
Why a clear brief is key in a multi-platform campaign?
However, despite consumers perceiving YouTube, TikTok and Instagram differently, it is not unheard of for marketers to issue a single brief to content creators that fails to incorporate this.
For example, @amberdoigthorne, a content creator with nearly three-quarters of a million followers across the three platforms, receives bespoke briefs:
“The briefs I receive are normally not platform specific, there will be a general brief for a campaign that is suited to all platforms… but I know that some of my channels have a higher/lower age demographic, and so I need to alter my content accordingly… for example, longer vlog style content works better on YouTube, short comedy sketches and challenges are perfect for Instagram and TikTok. It’s all about understanding your audience.”
A brief is central to a productive relationship with brands, allowing a healthy dialogue to develop whereby brands can outline their key objectives clearly and influencers can provide consultation as experts in the field. So, it’s hardly surprising that influencers place high importance on a clear brief, especially for multi-platform campaigns. Marketers must consider each of the platform’s distinct characteristics, the creators they attract, and the consumer impact to decide where individual influencer briefs are best placed and how they can be adapted to optimise results.
Trust and influence: a platform-by-platform relationship
A more harmonious brand-influencer relationship can lead to better quality content and reduce ‘disingenuous endorsements’ – a key concern across YouTube and TikTok among a quarter of consumers. This can also improve consumer trust, a key influencing factor in purchasing decisions.
The research results identify a clear correlation between trust and influence across YouTube, TikTok and Instagram, with older legacy platforms coming out on top. Influencers on YouTube, a more familiar platform having recently celebrated its 15th anniversary, command 28% of consumer trust compared with 22% for Instagram (which turns ten later this year), and falling to 15% for TikTok (founded in September 2016). In the last six months, over a quarter of consumers (27%) have been influenced to purchase a product or service by influencers on YouTube, followed by 24% of consumers on Instagram and 15% on TikTok.
While the overall picture may appear fairly straightforward, the differences between age demographics and international markets are more nuanced. For example, TikTok influencers are more likely to generate sales among younger generations, with up to 40% of 16-24-year-olds in Germany and 30% of 16-24-year-olds in the UK admitting to purchasing a product or service as a result of their recommendations. In the US however, TikTok influencers are most likely to persuade 35-44-year-olds to purchase a product or service (37%), showing both TikTok’s potential to deliver ROI for brands beyond its core younger user demographic and also the importance of adapting marketing strategies across platforms, demographics and markets. Commenting on this, BMX cyclist and influencer Ryan Taylor agrees, says:
You must be relevant, and to stay relevant you need to make sure you have a presence on every platform that you feel you can be your authentic self on.
This deeper dive into YouTube TikTok and Instagram reveals a trust gap between platforms and industry professionals, but ultimately shows how influencers can be powerful and compelling communication channels for brands – even surpassing more traditional brand endorsements. Multi-platform and multi-market campaigns are now key to influencer marketing success; managing them effectively will unlock the industry’s potential.