Brands are currently leaning into influencer marketing, but overly branded content that doesn’t match the influencer’s style tends to garner less engagement, according to Gartner L2’s report analyzing luxury brand trends on social media.
Among the Cartier-branded posts shared by influencer @alice_gao, product close-ups that didn’t match the influencer’s usual aesthetic saw 70% fewer interactions than branded posts that prominently featured the influencer and were aesthetically similar to her usual posts. The overtly branded content that wasn’t in line with Alice Gao’s style clearly didn’t resonate with her audience.
The study also highlights other social media nuances that might be easy to overlook. While posts featuring user-generated content deliver a higher lift than traditional brand posts, the research makes clear that filling your feed with UGC images isn’t always the way to go. Luxury beauty brands see a 23% engagement lift from UGC, yet auto brands see a more modest 3% increase. This could be a matter of frequency, as luxury brands feature user-generated content in only 2% of posts, while auto companies include it in a fifth of content.
The study finds no relationship between follower count and engagement lift, either. Guerlain’s top-performing user-generated post comes from an account with fewer than 1,000 followers. This demonstrates that brands should incorporate user-generated content that’s on-brand and relevant, without worrying about frequency or follower count.