Social & Influencers

How brands are plugging influencer content in emails, on websites, and more

We talked to True Religion and Chipotle about how they are diversifying their influencer marketing strategies.
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Francis Scialabba

4 min read

Before influencers, there were mommy bloggers. The early aughts saw the rapid rise of the cohort, which blogged about the joys and tribulations of parenting. Some advertisers, looking to capitalize on all the hubbub, began to advertise on mommy blogs, placing banner ads and affiliate advertising on the sites.

A lot has changed since then. For starters, blogs have been mostly replaced by the likes of Instagram and TikTok as the apples of advertisers’ eyes. Influencer marketing, once a niche segment within advertising, is now a multibillion-dollar industry.

Influencers themselves are also playing a larger role in the marketing ecosystem, inking endorsement deals and, in some cases, appearing in Super Bowl ads. A recent study from influencer marketing platform Linqia, which surveyed over 250 brand and agency respondents, found that advertisers are diversifying how they work with influencers. Nearly all respondents said they are using influencer content beyond just organic posting, with paid and owned social leading the pack, followed by email, CTV, and out-of-home.

“About a third of our revenue this year will be from content creation with creators, as opposed to creators posting that content to their own accounts,” Mae Karwowski, founder and CEO of influencer marketing shop Obviously, told us. “That’s a sizable portion of our business, and it works incredibly well. We assume this trend will definitely continue just given the amount of interest we’re seeing.”

Dress to impress

Karwowski said brands can get a “rich library of assets” when working with influencers. Obviously is working with a few dozen brands on content that falls outside of the typical confines of influencer marketing, such as in-store collateral, paid Instagram ads, and website content, she said. “I think brands are just so impressed by the quality of the content and the performance of the content that they’re seeing from creators.”

Clothing brand True Religion has been incorporating influencer content into different aspects of its marketing. Its CMO, Kristen D’Arcy, told us the brand is investing more in influencers, noting that when it boosts influencer posts, “that content is the highest performing within paid social.”

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It’s also using influencer content in its emails and on its website. D’Arcy said the brand has been putting “roundups of influencer content” in emails and on its site “much, much more regularly” as of late.

Within emails, D’Arcy said roundups highlight influencer posts and include links to what they’re wearing so that subscribers can easily shop their looks. On True Religion’s website, influencer content is sometimes featured on product pages alongside user reviews. “What’s nice about that is our customers can see what this would look like on somebody other than the model that we’ve shot the product on,” she said.

Phone eats first

Like D’Arcy, Chipotle’s senior director of media, Maria Contino, said the chain amplifies and boosts influencer posts so that it can “tap into their fan bases in a manner that’s familiar with the conversations that they typically have on their channels.”

Contino noted, for example, that some gamers consume and talk about Chipotle online, and that the gaming community has strong fanbases the brand can tap into. “They talk about it most during a livestream or [on] X, but also in some of their online video or YouTube channels. We’ve found success in scaling that content wherever that influencer’s fanbases live or wherever they consume content,” she said.

The brand has also invested in amplifying influencer content in national TV campaigns. Contino said Chipotle used content that US soccer player Weston McKennie had originally posted on his social channels, amplifying it through a paid social campaign and airing it during last year’s World Cup in a TV campaign.

According to Contino, the brand also puts paid media behind influencer collaborations that come together more organically. For instance, she pointed to the chain’s collaboration with TikTok influencer Keith Lee that involved creating a custom, limited-time menu item named after him after a menu hack he posted on the platform went viral.

“We’re always ready to jump in on those moments that have that viral momentum already swelling, and then we amplify it and bring it to the masses with paid media,” she said.

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