Influencer marketing has arguably been one of the most revolutionising changes to happen in the business world since the dawn of the internet. It came about because of the rising appetite for online content, alongside a simultaneous nose dive in consumer trust of anything corporate, including big brands.
However the glow of influencer marketing has dimmed in recent times. Scandals around transparency in sponsored content have opened consumers’ eyes to how authentic their influencers actually are, while a growing resentment exists among the communities of ordinary people who elevated their influencers to success. As the influencers grow in wealth and status they leave behind their “person next door” image that gave them power among the masses in the first place.
Influencer marketing is quickly being replaced, as these things often are, with what has been dubbed “social influence” where user generated content from real people is used in marketing to influence consumers.
Customers trust user generated content
Brands know they need to provide informative and entertaining content if they want to engage target audiences and grow their business. One thing that hasn’t changed though, is the need to have others endorse your brand rather than marketing yourself. Modern consumers distrust brands, but they trust other consumers implicitly, especially those among their own networks and peer groups. This makes user generated content of any kind infinitely more powerful than the now damaged reputation of influencer content.
Shareability beats algorithms
On a purely technical level, modern influencers have been fighting a losing battle for audience reach ever since the big social channels optimised how they monetise their sites. With behemoths like Facebook and Instagram now using algorithms to choose the content consumers see on their news feeds, its becoming ever harder for influencers – even those with large followings – to effectively communicate with their fans, unless they’re prepared to invest in sponsoring their content. User generated video content is some of the most shareable content online and that means brands don’t have to worry about advertising budgets, because social media users will amplify their content for them.
Video content is more engaging and effective
This is a simple fact. User generated videos on YouTube get 10x more views than brand own content. Having user generated content on a website results in 29% higher conversion rates than websites without it. Psychologically, video content engages more of our senses – both visual and audio – thus it helps us to take in much more information in a short space of time. When said video is user generated it has the added bonus of being more likely to be trusted and, because we can see ourselves in the “star”, it is more likely to me engaged with and shared. User generated video provides consumers with the relatable audience-made stars they lost when influencer lifestyles stopped mirroring their own.
Customers want to hear from other customers
When brands traditionally partnered with influencers, the aim was to have the influencer endorse their product or service. For a long time this involved reviews, free gifts or exclusive event invites. However modern consumers are much more educated now on what is involved in these types of interactions. The simple communication of positive sentiment isn’t enough to convince them that your brand is inherently good. You can take control of this by amplifying the user generated video content of existing customers, turning them into your influencers. This has the added benefit of encouraging positive sentiment among customers who see this activity and appreciate that instead of selling to them intrusively, you have given over your voice to real people.
User generated content works harder for less investment
Of course brands do have to do some of the leg work in order to drive user generated content in the first place. Even if it is happening naturally, you need to harness it so it can be used. According to Adweek, 50% of consumers want direction on the type of content to create but only 16% of brands provide clear guidelines or simple directions. Showing your customers how to generate their content and then giving them a simple way to share it with you – like Vox Pop – gives you access to content that will statistically perform better in your marketing, without the financial investments required for professional video production.
Vox Pop creates a direct channel between the newsroom or brand owner with their audience, so that fans, followers and viewers can contribute with direct uploads of their content, which comes with exclusive license.