Holly Pither
Holly Pither 27 May 2019

Instagram’s New Checkout Feature Means Brand Strategists Need to be More Focused on Authenticity than Ever Before

Instagram has recently launched its new in-app checkout feature for retailers. The feature means that customers can tap, view and purchase products from a brand's shopping post within the app. William Soulier, CEO and co-founder of Talent Village, asks what the new feature means for brand strategists?

In our opinion, this functionality could well be a game changer for the consumer shopping experience. And even though some are saying that Instragram is a little late to the party given others are already playing in this space, we would contend that it’s well worth waiting for.

Ultimately we all know that consumers want quick and easy shopping experiences, so anything retailers can do to simplify the checkout process for consumers is going to improve conversion and result in better sales. Likewise, given that shoppers will not need to migrate to a separate webpage, they will benefit from a more seamless experience, which should keep them coming back for more. Again this will definitely help with increasing brand fans.

Nonetheless, we as brand stratgists mustn’t overlook the impact this will have on the quality of the content on our social feeds and whether the content will become less authentic. Certainly we all want ease when it comes to purchasing items, but we also like our social platforms because they are an escape from reality, a way to switch off and a way to absorb all types of content in many different ways. If Instagram simply becomes a brochure or menu from which to buy items, we may well find that people switch off from their feeds. And this we do not want.

With this in mind, we believe that for brands to get the most from their Influencer Marketing campaigns they will need to focus on three key requirements. These requirements will help brands engage their audience and ensure their activity (and by association the brand) is seen as authentic and credible, rather than just another sales channel:

  1. Connect with real talent: Fashion models, athletes, visual artists and other high-profile talent have real credibility and authentic value in their space. They can connect with a brand’s audience in a way like no other can. Pick the right influencer for your brand that resonates with your customers. Likewise, be sure to push out a mixture of posts that offer both compelling content and brand authority messages, alongside any more sales focused posts.
  2. Authenticity is key: Brands must be sure they don’t start trying to turn the Talent’s feed into one long brand advertisement. Brands will need to use talented influencers to demonstrate authenticity in posts whilst ensuring their natural creative voice shines through.  The key here is working with talent, over and above working with influence. It’s a subtle point, but one that will make a big difference to brand advocacy.
  3. Use your data intelligently: Get the most out of your results by really scrutinising your data. By understanding your engagement metrics, you will be better able to adapt future campaigns and most importantly learn from previous posts; if something hasn’t worked, interrogate the data to find out why and learn from it.  

It has never been more important for those working with creative Talent to continue to hold themselves to the same high standard set out by the platform and ensure that the influence landscape continues to remain authentic to all those that use it. We all know that the less authentic a channel becomes, the more likely it will lose followers. Brands will need to put even more emphasis on posting a good mixture of compelling content alongside any sales focused posts.

In addition, with the removal of likes on Instagram also already in testing, brands will need to realign their affiliation with the right kind of talent; those who match their values and have the credibility to talk authentically in this space.

One thing’s for certain; we, as brand strategists, need to make sure we are up to speed with all these changes and that our marketing strategies evolve and adapt accordingly.We need to ensure social feeds continue to be engaging, offer new and compelling content and most importantly feel authentic. If we miss a beat on this, we risk losing not only customers and sales, but also brand fans.

Author: William Soulier at Talent Village. 

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