Top Social Media Channels for Influencer Marketing – how to find success with each

GRIN also recommends this free guide: How to Get ROI from Influencer Marketing.

top social media channels for influencer marketing

Over the last decade, social media channels have come and gone. But several have stayed and grown, now offering lucrative brand-influencer partnerships. Today, we discuss our top picks for the best influencer marketing social platforms in 2021:

  • Instagram
  • TikTok
  • YouTube
  • Blogs
  • Facebook
  • Twitch

How to Identify Which Social Media Channels Will Work Best for Your Influencer Campaigns

Marketing programs grow with testing and data. The more you can expand your influencer marketing reach into additional social channels, the more you’ll learn about your audience and where they prefer to engage your brand.

That said, it makes sense to focus on those social channels that best meet your marketing objectives. As you gradually add new channels and techniques to your influencer program, you learn which tactics outperform the others.

Establish your influencer marketing goals.

While influencers are great for driving sales, most marketers collaborate with influencers to achieve several objectives at once. For example, influencers can also raise brand awareness and drive website traffic.

Facebook and Instagram have a robust marketplace platform that allows brands to use influencers to create shoppable ads and eCommerce shopping within the social media platform. Blogger influencers can contribute to your website’s SEO through quality backlinks and referral traffic. 

TikTok is a new player in the social media game and is delighting a fast-growing user base. Many brands are using TikTok to drive brand awareness and user-generated content. 

Other video platforms like YouTube and Twitch appeal to specific users with long-form, informative content. In-depth informative content allows brands to establish themselves as industry authorities and offer third-party credibility.

As we unpack each social channel below, be sure to keep your influencer marketing objectives in mind.

Identify the social media platforms your target audience is using.

At the end of the day, it’s all about your target audience. Your current and future customers will have social media preferences, both in where they prefer to spend their time and how they like to engage with your brand.

Find influencers that align with your brand.

After selecting the channels that best fit your objectives and audience, your next big task is partnering with the right influencers. Because not every influencer will be an ideal fit for your brand, you should pay close attention to each influencer’s posting style, relationship with their audience, and love for your brand.

Strategic influencer recruiting can make your campaigns significantly more effective.

Top Social Media Channels for Influencer Marketing

Instagram

“Sports and Fashion & Style are the largest categories on Instagram, while TV & Movie accounts count the highest follower growth [in 2020].” – InfluencerDB’s Social Media Growth Report 2020

Arguably the most influencer-rich social channel is Instagram. This platform empowers creators to showcase authentic content. And as influencers draw-in a virtual crowd, they can leverage genuine brand excitement to promote their favorite products/services to their followers.

Why It Works

Because Facebook owns Instagram, many of the same analytics tools that exist for Facebook users are also available for brands and influencers. Instagram’s Creator Profile allows influencers to better understand who their audience is and what content they find most compelling.

Users have grown accustomed to influencers promoting their favorite brands on Instagram. That said, brands must choose influencers carefully by their authenticity and meaningful engagement.

The Many Ways to Use Instagram Influencers for Your Influencer Marketing

Primarily a visual social channel, Instagram has several options. One of the recent, fastest-growing posting styles by influencers is the use of Carousels. These carousels allow influencers to post a combination of images and videos in a single post. Instagram allows up to ten videos or pics per post. Brands can collaborate with their influencers to feature a significant amount of content within a carousel.

Instagram Stories give brands and influencers the option to add a sense of urgency to their campaign message. These stories post for 24 hours (unless the brand and influencer agree to add the story to the influencer’s highlights indefinitely). Stories also give followers more ways to engage, such as answering a poll, swiping up to access a link, chats, sharing, tags, and more.

Instagram posts also make for great repurposed content and shoppable ads. Brands can convert top-performing images or videos into newsfeed ads that don’t feel like ads. Including Instagram’s shoppable ads features also allows users to shop on an eCommerce store without leaving the app.

In Instagram Takeovers, brands may allow influencers they trust to “take over” their profile page to promote a new product, special message, or sales event. Influencers post as the brand but make strategic use of tags and hashtags to alert followers that a takeover has occurred.

Not to be outdone by TikTok, Instagram recently added Reels – a video recording option with editing and music features. Instead of uploading a video, users have more options to create professional-looking videos (Instagram Reels) from the mobile app.

TikTok

TikTok is a short-form, vertical video social platform. Users can choose from countless editing options, add music, and even alter playback speeds.

“TikTok is easy enough for kids to use and sophisticated enough for videographers to create incredible content. Non-creators still enjoy the app because it offers ten different ways to share favorite videos, along with several different ways to engage.” GRIN, TikTok Influencers In Demand as the Social Platform Aims to Dominate the Market

TikTok has given rise to a significantly younger generation of social media users and thus offers a new selection of unique influencers to choose from. 

Why It Works

Short-form videos are easy to watch, and TikTok editing features allow non-videographers to make impressive-looking reels. The platform also gives users multiple ways to engage than you’re likely to find on other social channels.

The Many Ways to Use TikTok Influencers for Your Influencer Marketing

Like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, brand-influencer hashtag use can draw consumer attention and allow followers to contribute with ongoing user-generated content of their own. 

With TikTok, it’s easy to combine multiple videos into a seamless, short-form video. Influencers can make themselves “magically” don a whole outfit in a split second or offer compelling before-and-after video posts.

TikTok duets allow users to follow along with their own version of an influencer post, such as a dance, sing-off, or exercise. Influencers often invite their followers to participate in this fashion and create ongoing user-generated content.

TikTok challenges are another fun way for brands and influencers to build audience engagement. The influencer performs a simple move or trick on screen and invites others to take up the challenge. A great example of this technique was Chipotle’s Lid Flip Challenge (#chipotlelidflip).

YouTube

“It’s a little bit harder to become an influencer on YouTube because of the amount of effort and work it takes to record a video, build an audience, edit the videos, and upload.” – Ethan Frame, Influencer Marketing Director at MVMT Watches

Similar to Instagram, YouTube is a hotbed for influencer activity. That said, the best of YouTube often sparks from the creative genius of key opinion leaders or influencers that know how to craft compelling, long-form video.

Why It Works

While YouTube does offer many short-form video options, it is home to some of the best “how to” and in-depth product review videos on social media. Users visit YouTube for entertainment and to learn skills and concepts visually.

The Many Ways to Use YouTube Influencers for Your Influencer Marketing

“‘How to’ searches on YouTube increase by 70% every year.” – Social Media Today

The “how to” video approach never seems to get old. Brand-influencer partnerships can use this approach to showcase products’ best practices or guide viewers on developing a new skill closely-related to the brand’s industry. 

Similar to video tutorials, FAQ videos serve audiences that thirst for knowledge. Brands whose target audience places a premium on being informed can get a lot of mileage out of FAQ videos with the help of influencers.

Video product reviews are also especially effective on YouTube. When taking this approach, make sure that your influencer understands your product before publishing a review. That way, the influencer showcases your product in the best possible way and inspires viewers to try the product for themselves.

Blogs

Blogger influencers maintain their own online traffic and can greatly impact how subscribers invest their time and money. These influencers are typically industry or lifestyle experts, and they usually embrace a particular niche. Readers look to these bloggers as subject matter experts that frequently offer product recommendations.

Why It Works

Being a subject matter expert requires these influencers to demonstrate their credentials, research, and/or experience in their writing. They also have a unique ability to tell a story with their content and keep their readers coming back for the next installment.

The Many Ways to Use Blogger Influencers for Your Influencer Marketing

Humanizing your brand with the help of a storytelling blogger can help your brand feel more authentic to consumers. If your products solve a particular problem or significantly improve one’s quality of life, blogger influencers can tell that story in a way that appeals to your audience.

Similar to YouTube, bloggers can simplify difficult concepts, such as delivering a written “how to” guide or tutorial. That’s why many blogger influencers are cooks or DIY artists – they love to share their tips and tricks with their readers.

Bloggers are also great at creating written product reviews and comparisons. Readers love these informative articles, and you can drive traffic to your website by having a blogger influencer feature your product or service in this way.

Facebook

Facebook is home to many more vibrant influencer communities. Timeless social media posting styles, along with groups, new features, and Instagram integration allow brands to leverage Facebook for their influencer campaigns.

Why It Works

Facebook is the first major, enduring social media platform. It has the widest age-range audience and allows brands to employ the latest in social commerce and influencer dark posting. In other words, the platform is established and versatile for brands and influencers.

The Many Ways to Use Facebook Influencers for Your Influencer Marketing

The traditional Facebook post still works and can combine meaningful written content and images or videos. Influencers can tag their favorite brands or promote branded or lifestyle hashtags with their audience.

Facebook Groups allow smaller user gatherings to engage on specific topics. Many participants anticipate product recommendations within these groups. For many, these Facebook groups operate like forums and entertain discussions from thoughtful users.

Facebook Live allows influencers to broadcast videos live to their audience. This approach makes audiences feel more connected to their favorite influencer. Users can also post comments, questions, and reactions to the video in real-time. Brands frequently use the Live feature for virtual events.

Twitch

“On average, Twitch gets more than 15 million daily active users, with over 3.8 million unique broadcasters in February 2020 alone.” – Digital Trends

Twitch is one of the leading live video platforms in social media. Launched as a social channel for gamers, Twitch now fosters vibrant communities of fans in music, podcasts, and industry thought leaders.

Twitch is owned by Amazon and offers influencers the opportunity for revenue through affiliateships and partnerships. Those with large followings are also an emerging breed of influencers.

Why It Works

Twitch is especially popular among males under 35 years old. It is also still a channel primarily for gamer fans, though fans and users are widening its use beyond gaming.

Twitch’s greatest advantage is its live video content. Typically in long-form, Twitch videos encourage rampant engagement and favor product tutorials, reviews, and product/service best uses. Influencers can integrate brand-sponsored contests or events with their live videos, granting audiences more ways to engage and convert.

The Many Ways to Use Twitch Influencers for Your Influencer Marketing

Twitch challenges frequently occur as product giveaways. For example, a gamer playing live can mention a sponsoring brand’s intention to give away a prize and that users can chat a particular word or phrase for a chance to win. For best results with this approach, brands should do their best to be relevant to the live video content.

Influencers can also test new products or services in a live video to interested fans. These product reviews allow viewers to ask questions, and the influencer can answer those questions live while testing the product or service. Twitch is an incredible platform for testing video games and software.

Similar to the example above, influencers can use their live video feeds to show viewers how to use a product. This approach is increasingly popular among musicians and cooks. But the potential for other product tutorials is vast.

Twitch is also a platform that features live events. Whether influencer or brand-led, influencers can attract followers to their online event for product releases, “best practice” seminars, podcasts, and more.

Conclusion: Experiment with different social media channels and double down on your high performing social channels.

There is wisdom in mastering one or two social channels for your influencer campaigns. But once you’ve gained a foothold and feel comfortable with your influencer program, you should branch out and try new channels. You may uncover audiences you didn’t know you had or find dynamite influencers that you formerly didn’t have access to.

By testing new techniques and experimenting with various influencers and channels, you’ll develop a stronger intuition about what does and doesn’t work for your brand.

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Additional Resources

What the best brands are doing to drive revenue from influencer marketing

Whether you are just getting started with influencer marketing or already have your program in place, this guide gives you the tools to get the return on investment your C-level will love. 

How to get ROI from influencer marketing

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