Today’s world is shifting away from traditional advertising and brand interruption. With the adoption of technologies such as AdBlocker and DVR, consumers can easily ignore a brand’s message. Even if you do manage to get their attention, only 10% of people will trust what you have to say.
On the other hand, 70% of people believe brand recommendations from friends. This means influence marketing has the power to affect people’s purchase decisions.
Branded content is no longer king. Influence marketers realize user-generated content (UGC) is really where the power lies.
UGC falls into three categories: brand-generated content, influencer-generated content, and co-developed content.
If your brand creates the content, you are simply asking influencers to share it with their networks with no extra personalization.
For example, say Oreo creates an image promoting their limited edition pumpkin spice cookies. If they activate influencers to share it with their social networks but they don’t ask users to add any personalized content, this would be brand-generated content.
With brand-created content, the influencer takes no part in creation. He or she is simply activated to spread the content and increase its reach. Due to the lack of creative effort, it may be easier to get users to share the content, they simply have to repost or retweet it. If you plan to offer an incentive, usually you can offer something small like a $1 off coupon. One drawback of brand-generated content is, because of the lack of personal endorsement, the content may fall short of driving conversions.
Influencer-generated content is almost completely in the hands of the influencer (as the name might give away). If your objective is to collect this type of content, give users a general prompt like asking them to share branded content or their brand experience.
For example, if GoPro asked users to make a video or take a picture using their camera, this content would be completely influencer created. They could capture anything from epic big wave surfing to a grandma singing opera.
This type of content is good for showing raw customer experiences. It shows users’ friends that they are using your product and gives users the freedom to create whatever they type of content they want. However, it may not be branded enough to influence people’s purchase decisions. For instance, if someone took a video on a GoPro and shared it, how would people necessarily know it was taken with a GoPro?
If the content doesn’t include a branded hashtag or doesn’t have an interesting theme, it might fall short. Also, a famous study by Sheena Iyengar found that the presence of choice might be appealing as a theory but in reality, people might find more and more choice to be debilitating. In the case of influencer-generated content, if you ask people to create content without any direction or theme, they are likely to become paralyzed with decision and not participate at all.
To create co-developed content, your brand comes up with a foundation for the content that influencers will share but also gives influencers some creative freedom.
In the example above, if GoPro asked people to include a branded hashtag and gave people instruction like “post a GoPro video of the best moment of your summer,” it would be considered co-developed content. Influencers would have an idea to work with and the content would be properly branded.
Another example would be if Starbucks asked users to take a picture of their branded Starbucks coffee cup in a holiday themed setting and asked them to include the hashtag #StarbucksHoliday. This is co-developed content because Starbucks comes up with the general idea and a way to emphasize their brand and influencers add personalization to the content.
Another way this can be done would be if Starbucks had people share a Starbucks created video but asked users to include their own personal message. Co-developed content is optimal because brands can give direction to influencers, making the content more branded and organized. It also eliminates overwhelming influencers with decisions. It also gives users the ability to add a personal touch, making the content more powerful and influential when their friends see it on their social media feeds.
The Wrap Up
When deciding what type of content to have your influence create/share, think of the differences above.
Keep in mind:
- More influencers might spread brand-generated content, but there isn’t any personalization
- Influencer-generated content leaves room for creativity but might not drive a lot of participation or conversions due to its lack of focus
- Co-developed content is a balance of brand-generated and influencer-generated content and allows for both branded direction and personal creativity
If you want to drive sales by having influencers share co-developed content, use Splashscore to find and activate your most influential consumers on social media.