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TikTok influencer marketing: D2C roller skates brand Flaneurz explains how it’s done

Detachable roller skates D2C brand Flaneurz launched a TikTok account for its entry-level sister brand Slades in 2020. Since then, @sladesofficial on TikTok has amassed more than 200,000 followers and over a dozen videos that have gained more than 1 million views. Some Slades TikTok videos have been viewed more than 6 million times, while an influencer video for Slades booked a whopping 30 million views and 8 million likes. In this interview with Kolsquare, Flaneurz Communications Officer Tracy Pakoua discusses the company’s approach to affiliate marketing on TikTok, and why the platform is their top priority for 2023.

portrait de Tracy Pakoua de chez Flaneurz
portrait de Tracy Pakoua de chez Flaneurz

What is your approach to TikTok?

We have an account for Slades. The goal is to also create one for Flaneurz. There are 1.5 billion recurring TikTok users, it is less and less a platform that can be neglected, especially with the launch of TikTok Shop [which facilitates sales directly in the app]. People on TikTok often act on impulse. It can feed desire very quickly, especially for a young clientele that has a need to fit in.

TikTok is very important for Slades which is our affordable, entry-level product. We see that our videos — even we are surprised because the algorithm is not always easy to understand — get millions of views in 24 hours, which is not at all possible on the other platforms. It’s happened to us a few times with Flaneurz but never with Slades on Instagram. On TikTok, it’s not that we’re doing much more [… but] we’ve become an influencer and it happens quite regularly.

How qualitative are those millions of views?

We’ve seen peaks on our website overnight, where we’ve had 600 visits during the day and we come back the next morning and there have been 9,000 thanks to a TikTok video that had a million views. It was instantaneous without it having really been pushed by a link or specified in the description. People did a little digging and went straight to the site. The influencer who made this video saw her affiliation increase. The video was reposted by many other big sneaker accounts.

Is it essential to have a branded account before tying up with KOLs for TikTok campaigns?

Our account includes a link to our page if they need more information. We also create parallel content which is a bit more product focused [than KOL content] so that if they need more information, everything is there and we’re 100% sure it’s on our page. It’s a bit like we’ve become our own influencer. That’s why it’s nice when it’s us [that goes viral. Our content] has to be fun while putting the product at the forefront. It’s a line that needs to be balanced. We make sure that we are regularly active on our account.

We stipulate in the contract that we have the right to reuse their content. Normally it’s only for a short period of four to six months. We also do internal content which we collaborate on with influencers who have longer contracts. Our influencers must be skaters, we can’t use a modeling agency because they don’t know how to skate. It’s a constraint but it’s also what makes the strength of the project.

How does affiliate marketing work on TikTok?

We’re lucky that our product is unique. [Our KOLs] really like the product, they like the innovation which makes them want to work with us without a financial counterpart. But we do try to make contracts that are favorable to them over time, which is important.

We work a lot with affiliates, which works for them as well. We’re a young brand, we don’t have crazy budgets. We give a small fee for a shoot or something. For TikTok, often they repost on Instagram, or they make videos that are simpler and require less work than a Reel.

For Instagram, they’re free to do what they want, but we ask for at least one Reel that shows how the system works. What works best for both them and us is when they show the added value of the brand. One of our Flaneurz ambassadors earned €40,000 from an Instagram video that gained 1.7m likes and 20m views. We’re lucky that we have a real partnership; working with us is also beneficial for them. When we show them the types of videos that make a million views, that’s encouraging because they can relate to them. They ask to collaborate with us without asking for income.

Do affiliate promo codes work on TikTok?

For the majority it works through their Instagram link. Instagram is still more generative for the moment. On TikTok, people scroll a lot, so it’s difficult to see if they are really captivated. They don’t necessarily look at the bios or what’s written in the description. We see a lot of questions like “Where is it from?” even though it’s written in the description. Instagram is still the platform that allows promo codes to work well because it’s well written.

What’s your plan for TikTok Shop? How important will it be to sell directly, and through affiliation on TikTok?

It could be very important indeed. That’s a real goal for this year. We would also love to have a Pinterest shop. These are things to activate but are things that IT is going to have to manage.

Have you tried long videos on TikTok?

No. You have to play the game. When you go over 30 seconds, you see that the algorithm doesn’t necessarily promote your video. Perhaps an explanatory video longer than two minutes, to encourage people to stay on the video, could work. But I think we still have a lot of other things to exploit on TikTok. Lives and things like that are  extremely important.

Given your niche sector, are KOL engagement rates higher?

Yes. Often our influencers have an engagement higher than 5%, which is really good and is what we use as our search criteria. Below 5%, 4% is not great, especially if we want them to convert with affiliation. Sometimes they don’t have a good engagement rate. Indy Jamma Jones is in the top two for affiliate sales. She doesn’t have a good engagement rate on Instagram, but because she’s on YouTube and TikTok, it compensates. There is also the prescriptive side which is difficult to quantify.

Apart from affiliate sales, what are the other KPIs you use to evaluate campaigns?

We do month-long campaigns that target a country or a network. At the end, we try to see how many followers we’ve gained. The impact on our Instagram account, and the number of views in the country. Most of the time it works pretty well. We also look at the sales in that country in the following months. During the campaign itself, it’s not much use because people do not buy spontaneously for a product that is €300 to €500. It’s two to three months later that sales start to be affected.

So for you there is no question, influencer marketing is profitable?

Yes. It is essential. With everybody already on social networks you have to be smart, but it is very profitable. We want our influencers to have their own style and show how they use the product. Everyone is different and that’s what helps us reach all corners of the skating sector, which is quite vast. Influence is the new press. Before, people used to look at magazines to see what’s available, now it’s clearly social media.

What are the key trends and challenges in 2023 that will impact your strategy?

The big challenge for TikTok is to be in line with the trends and to be creative. You have to be on them all the time. What’s the music of the moment? Should you write text or not? What video length does the platform prefer? It used to be less than 30 seconds, sometimes it’s even 10 seconds. You have to really get into it and look at the people who stay until the end of the video. If you see that nobody watches the video until the end, it’s useless.

The influencers are often ahead of us on trends, because it’s their job. That’s why we like to work with them.

About Kolsquare

Kolsquare is Europe’s leading Influencer Marketing platform, a data-driven solution that allows brands to scale their KOL Marketing strategies and implement authentic partnerships with KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders). Kolsquare’s technology enables marketing professionals to easily identify the best Content Creators profiles by filtering their content and audience, and to build and manage their campaigns from A to Z, including measuring results and benchmarking performance against competitors. Kolsquare has built the largest community of influencer marketing experts in the world, and offers hundreds of customers (Coca-Cola, Netflix, Sony Music, Publicis, Sézane, Sephora, El Corte Inglés, Lacoste, …) the latest Big Data, AI and Machine Learning technologies to drive inspiring partnerships, tapping into an exhaustive network covering 100% of  KOLs with more than 5,000 followers in 180 countries on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. As a Benefit Company, Kolsquare has been pioneering Responsible Influence by championing transparency, ethical practices, and meaningful collaborations to inspire change.

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