You already know what an influencer does, but what is influencer-generated content (IGC)? Specifically, what does IGC look like on the TapInfluence platform, and how can you leverage it for your own business?
Influencer-Generated Content: n The central tenant to the TapInfluence vision and a new source of fuel for marketing…. as a result, influencer marketing mores out of the dark arts of one-off projects to the scalable discipline of digital marketing and more expansive budgets of content marketing. —TapInfluence
IGC is influencer marketing on steroids, which means that you can budget more efficiently, calculate ROI reliably, and enjoy unprecedented exposure among your target audience. But let’s take a closer look at influencer-generated content and how it works for businesses in every industry.
Influencer-Generated Content Defined
Influencer-generated content marketing takes the headaches and confusion out of the influencer marketing space. It reduces your legal risks, increases transparency, and allows you to control the variables.
More importantly, it puts influencers in the driver’s seat regarding creativity and content creation. They don’t always have to post content created internally by your organization; instead, you can give them the freedom to post content in their unique voices.
People who follow influencers know these people intimately. They follow them on social media, read their blogs, and may even attend events to hear them speak. When they post branded content, the audience can often tell the difference.
That’s where IGC changes the influencer marketing game. You still have control over your campaign, but you work closely with vetted influencers who create their own content for public consumption.
You can tell IGC apart from traditional influencer marketing (which relies on brand-created content) in several ways:
- The influencers create their own content based on their experiences with your product or service.
- You’re paired with pre-vetted influencers who have audiences that match your specific needs.
- Influencers take their own, non-overly posed images to add authenticity to the campaign.
- The campaign can easily be scalable as your company grows and evolves.
- You get access to distribution, advice on legal issues, and real-time measurements of activity.
- Engagement between the influencer and his or her audience increases.
- The influencer’s voice sounds authentic to previous content instead of forced and rehearsed.
Why Influencer-Generated Content?
Several pain points afflict the current content marketing landscape. For one, consumers are more sensitive to bias than ever before. As discussed above, they can tell when an influencer they follow changes their voice, posting schedule, and other attributes to suit a brand’s needs.
Second, most influencer marketing agencies aren’t built to help their clients scale. Your company will experience controlled growth as long as you run it well, and you’ll want to prepare for the day when you need to amp up your influencer activity and use IGC on fresh platforms. Our platform is also predictable and dynamic. We don’t want brands to pigeonhole their campaigns or encounter unknown complications.
High Cost of Content Creation
There’s no set dollar amount for content creation, but Virtual Measures reports that content marketing campaigns can cost anywhere from $5,000 to more than $50,000, depending on the size of the initiative. Even for larger companies, those big content creation budgets can become overwhelming, edging out other opportunities to acquire more brand visibility and awareness.
The problem is that, when you combine content creation with influencer marketing, your costs increase steeply. Not only must you pay someone to create the content in the first place, but you must also pay the influencer for his or her time and status.
By eliminating the need to create content internally, you can slash your budget. IGC allows you the flexibility to create reasonable budgets for your brand, which means you won’t experience any unpleasant surprises as you continue your campaign.
You also have to worry about quality. Unless you have a content marketing genius on your team, or you hire a professional content marketing company, you’re likely to see a decline in overall quality over time. Since you’re writing content for someone else, you’re faced with an even steeper learning curve.
That’s why we promote IGC as an attractive alternative to traditional influencer marketing. Your costs decrease, and your influencers create content in their own voices and styles, which can vastly improve click-through rates and ROI.
Branded Content is Being Ignored
Imagine for a moment that you’re shopping for a new car. You’ve narrowed down your options to three SUVs, each from different automakers, but you’re stymied. You visit the websites for each of the three manufacturers and read all the sales copy and specs. You’re left feeling cold.
Now imagine that you fire up your Instagram account and see one of the influencers you follow standing in front of one of the SUVs on your list. He or she writes a glowing review of the vehicle, citing its maneuverability, its comfort, and its reasonable price tag.
Which bit of research will have more power over your decision-making process? Probably the latter. Research shows that people trust recommendations from peers and influencers more than from brands. In fact, Adweek reports that, in a recent survey, 85 percent of respondents said that they find user-generated content more appealing and influential than brand-generated content.
Why does this happen? There are a few reasons:
- Traditional marketing uses the same language over and over again, often in exaggerated terms.
- People trust influencers because they’ve developed relationships with them via social media and other online platforms.
- Many consumers have become deaf to traditional marketing campaigns. They tune out the white noise and conduct their own research.
- The internet gives consumers access to vast sources of information, and sometimes user-generated content ranks higher in the search engines than branded content.
While you can (and should) continue to create branded content, don’t miss the opportunity to leverage IGC. User-generated content created by vetted influencers can have a massive impact on your target audience. Plus, you’ll reach people who might never have found your company otherwise.
You’ll also show that you’re willing to put your brand into the hands of others. Choose an influencer with a massive following or go with an influencer who has assembled a small but devoted clan of followers. Either way, you’re shifting from branded content to conversations between influencers and their audiences.
New Consumer Purchasing Behaviors
At one time, Gen Y and Gen Z members relied almost exclusively on traditional advertising. They watched commercials between segments of television commercials and listened to ads on the radio during their commutes between work and home.
Times have changed. Today’s consumers don’t trust traditional advertising nearly as much; they view it as unreliable, so they seek out recommendations and referrals from friends as well as the people they follow online.
People turn to the internet more and more frequently to learn about products and services. They read reviews on sites like Yelp, send out Facebook requests for recommendations, and check out blogs that cover information in which they’re interested.
Here are a few statistics to back up these claims:
- If you search for 20 of the largest brands on Google, the top search engine results lead to user-generated content.
- Millennials seem most devoted to user-generated content. They use it primarily for purchasing electronics, cars, and major appliances. A full 46 percent of Millennials consider UCG when making vacation plans.
- Millennials consider UGC on branded website 86 percent of the time.
- Text isn’t the only medium to consider. Brand engagement increases by nearly 30 percent when consumers get exposed to both professionally written content and user-generated video content.
Your marketing strategy must evolve to meet this change in consumer purchasing behaviors. If you continue to pursue older marketing models, you run the risk of not just missing out on opportunities, but also of turning off even existing customers.
Influencer-generated content might sound like a buzzword or a marketing ploy. However, it’s worked for thousands of businesses that want to expand their brands and enjoy greater visibility online. IGC gives influencers the chance to tell their stories from their own points of view, which makes them more credible, and you can use TapInfluence’s software to automate the process, scale your marketing campaign, and much more.
We encourage you to explore IGC via an influencer marketing agency as an alternative to looking for influencers on your own. You’ll save time, money, and potential legal hassles. Plus, we focus on generating the best ROI for your business, which is your ultimate goal in any marketing campaign.
If you’re interested in transitioning from traditional marketing to IGC, we applaud your good business sense. To get a feel for what we offer, request a demo . We can’t wait to see what our platform does for your business.