Friday, June 9, 2023

For Gen Z, Playing an Influencer on TikTok Comes Naturally

Because most social media sites allow users to promote only one link in their profiles, millions of people insert a Linktree link in that space, directing visitors to a page with a list of any number of sites they want to share. While several companies offer similar services, Linktree has caught on with performers and social media personalities, from the pop star Katy Perry to the TikTok icon Dixie D’Amelio. Even the White House recently joined the service. (People also use Linktree for more than e-commerce, listing personal websites, Spotify pages and more.)

“What Gmail is to email, Linktree is to ‘link in bio,’” said Benoit Vatere, the chief executive of Mammoth Media, a marketing firm that connects TikTok creators with brands. “It’s a status marker for the Gen Zs.”

One of the hot links to include is to an Amazon storefront, where people curate their recommendations for clothing, makeup, body lotion and more.

According to Linktree, its data suggested that most users who link to Amazon storefronts are not influencers, but rather, people acting like influencers. 77 percent of Amazon links created on Linktree last year came from users who received fewer than 1,000 visits to their profiles.

Still, many young people spend a painstaking amount of time curating their Amazon storefronts as part of their TikTok personas. Often, it’s the sole link in their TikTok bios or the first one on their Linktree pages.

Chloe Van Berkel, a 19-year-old freshman at James Madison University, lists 47 items on her Amazon storefront in categories like “skincare” and “summer essentials.” Ms. Van Berkel, who has about 6,800 TikTok followers, said that the commission she earned from her storefront was paltry, bringing in roughly $10 a month. But, she added, there was always the chance that a video might go viral and send a lot of traffic to her site.

“It’s just something on the side to help make more money, and it’s cool to be able to promote stuff that you like, obviously, and to tell your friends to buy it,” Ms. Van Berkel said.

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