Everywhere we look in today's age we are constantly bombarded with advertising, whether it be watching TV in the morning, streaming music on the way to work, and even scrolling through our social media platforms on our lunch break. Already by mid-day we have been targeted from numerous different digital directions. Long gone are the days of taking the time to notice a campaign on the side of a bus or in a magazine, and along with the evolution of the media world, consumer behavioural analysts have uncovered that we don't care so much for traditional methods anymore. As the busiest generation to date, we don't stop to look at posters and papers anymore, but we do use digitised platforms on a day to day basis - something brands have been tapping into for the past few years in new and more innovative ways.
Social media platforms have become a hive for consumerism, with influencers generating a following and using it to collaborate with brands in the form of campaigns. This following is dedicated, keeping up to date with what the influencer is wearing, eating and where they are travelling to - providing the perfect advertising springboard for any brand. Everything from fashion to parenting, travel to fitness, there are thousands of influencers across these platforms who are the masters of their field and willing to work alongside brands to create high quality content, that not only looks good for their blog, but can also increase a brand's outreach significantly. With the multitude of social platforms out there, influencers can utilise the social media world and target an even broader market, whether it be through a tweet with a specific hashtag, or an in depth review on a blog.
User Generated Content (UGC) has been an invaluable factor in marketing strategies when it comes to social media. It is a key factor in increasing brand awareness, with the rise in social media advertisements estimated at around 5,000+ a day. A study carried out by Twitter found that 76% of participants trusted other consumers content more than branded content, supporting the idea of UGC having a positive effect on a brand's reputation. The highly organic insight into the brand’s product / service shown through UGC is more appealing to consumers. This therefore leads them to be more inclined to try the brand as another consumer has had a positive enough experience to go out of their way to post about it. It is important to note that with UGC there is no incentive for the content creator to post about a brand and driven success comes from the consumers complying with the famous phrase ‘people buy from people’ simply out of trust and value of their opinion.
Like any modern day industry however, the marketing world has had to evolve alongside the technical advances and due to UGC’s reliance on existing brand popularity, new brands needed a way of being noticed. They have had to think of new strategies to get the same reach as bigger brands in their industry, and use modernised platform promotion methods to do so - this includes the rise of influencers and how to best use their following to increase brand awareness. But what is the defining difference between UGC and IGC?
Influencers are individuals who have built a dedicated following on their social media platforms around their interests and hobbies. Considered experts by their audiences, they are able to offer valuable opinions on products or services leading to successful engagement ratings and high quality content. It’s the new wave of UGC; UGC 2.0.
Using IGC generates substantial returns for the brands involved, not only in clicks and brand awareness, but also in the inexpensive high quality content being produced ,as it can be repurposed for the brand to use themselves on their own platforms for further advertising. With UGC, the brand has no control over the image, branding, message or audience and this can lead to it not being as successful in generating engagement. IGC marketing is perfect for brands as it takes all the confusion away from the brand, reducing legal risks, increasing transparency yet still allows the brand to control any variables with the content itself. However even followers can see a clear difference when an influencer they regularly follow posts branded content so it’s not as simple as a brand telling them to post a good review about a product they have sent. It all relies on strategic planning and vetting of influencers, carried out by industry professionals in order for the content to not look staged and fit the target audience for both brand and influencer. The campaign created can be easily scalable as the company grows and evolves by adding more influencers of a similar style in order for the brand partnership to be successful it terms of click rates and ROI. But what investment does the brand have to make in this deal?
Now brands could rely on free UGC and hope that it continues to generate the smaller and unreliable engagement ratings with no cost to themselves. It can generate buzz and there can be a lot of it created in a short period of time. But as a brand you have no control over what it contains and then will have difficulty obtaining usage rights. The creators themselves are not considered experts in their field and therefore their opinion will not be as trusted as someone who is more established. But it’s free right?
However, with a small investment from the brand, they can obtain almost guaranteed increased traffic, sales and social engagement through collaborating with an already successful influencer, perfect for their target market. This content is guaranteed to be on-brand, and highly engaging and successful for both parties with increased engagement.
To conclude, brands need to keep up with new wave of IGC in order to ensure the newer brands coming through don’t infiltrate the monopoly they have already created. New brands who are trying to get themselves out there need to invest in IGC to give them that boost and to be noticed in the already saturated market. We here at The Blogger Programme specialise in connecting brands with influencers, working with some of the biggest players in the industry, and scouting for tomorrow's new talent.
To find out more about how IGC could help your brand's success, collaborate with some incredible influencers and receive a free marketing proposal, get in touch!