A new generation of influencers is emerging. They are affiliate native, passionate about their niche, close to their audience, and concerned about a different number 🤑

– James Brooks

The Social Commerce Wave

Social commerce is here and scaling rapidly, in big part thanks to TikTok Shop.

This isn’t just a fairytale, we’ve seen the social commerce phenomenon taking Asia by storm – and the storm is moving West.

If you sell stuff online, you need to be paying attention to this and taking the opportunity. Not just to get your products listed on platforms like TikTok Shop, but more importantly to build relationships with the influencers who keep the wheels turning. If you’re reading this in 2023, you’re early but, the space could quickly saturate in a race to the bottom. Getting ahead now is the best option.

The Old Model vs The New Model

Old Model: Pay an influencer a 3 or 4-figure amount, pray that it drives sales.

New Model: Gift an influencer your products, pay them ~10% commission on everything that sells

“But”, you say, “I’ve tried that and no one wants to work on commission”

Yeah, none of the old guys do – but the new generation are affiliate native.

The New Model is a Win-Win

The new generation is all up for a win-win. They are happy to work based on gifted products and affiliate income.

TikTok Shop is leading the way and changing the game. eCommerce will never be the same.

TikTok has come up with a model which de-risks everyone and makes it a win-win.

Creators get paid (typically 10%) commission and are paid fairly based on the impact of their content, and brands don’t have to risk paying for campaigns upfront. They just have to make sure that lots of influencers have the samples that they need to go out and create content.

So long as the commission is baked into the pricing, you have something that, if you have a great product and smart influencer outreach, is seriously scaleable.

Don’t Underestimate TikTok

It shocks me how many people still think that TikTok is a niche platform for young people. This could not be further from the truth and if you are a DTC brand or a marketer who believes that, you need to review this ASAP.

TikTok is investing hugely into this new wave of Direct-To-Consumer shopping – and let’s face it – it’s an age-old, proven model in a new skin.

Think about it. It’s the new version of TV-Shopping and Tupperware Parties.

It would not surprise me if TikTok are investing heavily in fulfillment infrastructure.

As far as I am concerned they are gunning for Amazon and they are going to steal market share.

You can see Amazon windmilling, trying to keep up (see: Amazon Influencer Program).

It’s not just Amazon either. Social media platforms are (rightfully) scared.

Watch as every other social media platform scrambles to make eCommerce as frictionless as TikTok (and as they do, make sure your brand is on there! Let’s ride the wave, baby!).

What Does a Social Commerce Influencer Look Like?

Answer: very different to your traditional social media influencer!

I was at a TikTok Shop event recently and the crowd was very different to previous events I had been to at TikTok.

Many of the creators there I would consider to be nano or micro-influencers – so I asked my TikTok Creator Manager what was up with that. Her response really surprised me.

She told me how well her “micro” influencers with ~10k followers are doing on the TikTok shop. Shifting HUGE amounts of product for brands…

Their content is authentic, entertaining and shows the product from a consumer’s perspective.

What should I be doing with this information, James?

Well, let me put it really simply: GET ON TIKTOK SHOP.

I know that might sound scary and complicated but, TikTok has made it unbelievably easy to get started. If you’re really scratching your head at this stage, I give free advice on this all the time. Message me on LinkedIn and I’ll happily walk you through the steps.

If you have a product, start giving it out to influencers (remember, you’re not looking for the perfect mega influencer here 1.5k-20k followers is a real sweet spot). Build a friendship with these influencers and let them know you’re on the TikTok shop.

My platform ThingyBridge is an effortless (and very cost-effective) way of connecting with influencers who would be perfect for this.