So much for Instagram—Macy’s is tapping into its employee pool to populate its new influencer program.
Macy’s staffers can now apply to become members of the Style Crew; those selected will share posts featuring Macy’s products on their own social media accounts, such as how-to videos. By relying on its own employees, the retailer might be able to get a digital boost without the risks of traditional influencer marketing.
In the face of the retailpocalypse, mid-tier department stores have tried multiple ways to reverse the tides, including extending discounts and promotions to near-perpetuity and opening their own off-price outlets within existing locations, but the impact of this strategy on mainline sales and store traffic remains uncertain. Macy’s has thus far managed to stay ahead of the pack, displacing Nordstrom to nab the top spot in Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Department Stores thanks in part to excellence across all its social media platforms. As one of the first department store brands to embrace shoppable tags on Instagram, Macy’s has a history of prioritizing social media—an automatic advantage in today’s app-centric world. A remarkable 60% of Instagram users say they learn about products and services on the app and 75% say that Instagram posts have spurred them to take some form of action such as visiting a brand site or mentioning a product to a friend.
However, when influencers are added to the social media mix, success is not always guaranteed, especially when brands opt for full-time influencers with large followings. Influencers with 100,000 to 2.5 million followers are often overpriced relative to their ability to boost engagement on branded posts and dabble promiscuously in many brand partnerships at once, resulting in inconsistent and inauthentic posts, according to Gartner L2’s report on measuring the impact of influencer partnerships. By straying from the norm and leaning on its own employees, Macy’s new program might be able to reap the rewards of influencer marketing, minus the heavy investment and the risk of appearing inauthentic.