Influencer marketing and its many hidden benefits
Marketing with influencers is the most genuine and authentic way to relate to your customers. But could it also be a credible content generation machine?
The results seem to point to yes.
When you use influencers to promote your brand, they go through a process of photo selection and storytelling that very closely mirrors what you might do in-house, and because they’re so keyed into what their fans want to hear, what they create is often far simpler and better than anything that Ogilvy & Mather could come up with. Plus, it has the added benefit of being authentic, which means that it’s guaranteed to connect better with customers than what you can come with in-house.
Today, we’ll explore how to fit it into your normal content strategy and share 3 amazing use-cases of brands re-purposing their influencer marketing content and how you can copy them with devastating effect!
But what about my normal content marketing, you ask?
Most definitely do not stop the presses, but do consider the phrase, “I have too much high quality content, I wish I had a lot less!” It's never been said (or tweeted) by any marketer, ever, as far as we’re aware. As marketers we’re always looking for more testimonials, narratives, graphics, and customer stories. You can never have enough. And why is that? Because the process of generating them will always by its nature be cumbersome.
In fact, if you think about your normal content-creation process, it’s basically a long journey to figure out what people want to hear, to say it, and then to listen for results and repeat. You send surveys, conduct consumer research, hold focus groups, and then brainstorm, edit, publish, track, and measure everything. This is a full team’s job, to say the least, and while that’s not bad, it certainly is slow. But you know who already knows exactly what your customers want to hear? People like influencers.
It’s also important to realize that by using influencers, who are also your customers, you’re going straight to the source. No matter what you dream up within your office walls, brands aren’t really in control of their image these days anyways. As epic fails like Microsoft’s Twitterbot fiasco and the #AskSeaWorld campaign teach us, brands today are more like curators of their message, but the image belongs to the public and social media’s top independent spokespeople, who are going to be talking about you anyway. Best to go direct to the source to avoid costly mistakes!
So, given all of this, how should you balance this content with your normal content?
Just think of influencer marketing as another content channel, and let it inform everything else that you’re doing.
The truly beautiful thing about doing this is that it’s not only a great infusion of fresh ideas, but it’ll reduce your overall content creation costs too. Influencer marketing is its own demand-generation channel which by its nature already pays for itself, and yet leaves you with stacks of new photos, testimonials, narratives, tweets, and more. They’re high quality and cheaper by a wide margin.
In fact …
By using influencers, brands can create content that's 75% cheaper than traditional studio photoshoots with even higher performance.
And with that sort of surplus in your budget, you’re free to reinvest it elsewhere while repurposing the influencer content to do things like this:
Here are 3 examples of what brands are already doing with this content:
1. Using images in targeted ads: Every consumer out there with a smartphone is lugging around an 8-megapixel digital camera these days. With the ability to edit and apply filters on the fly, their work rivals that of professional photographers armed with a DSLR and Photoshop. And this is not to say that influencers aren’t using those tools too (for many of them, they invest heavily in their equipment) but it means that nearly every picture posted in the campaign is content-worthy, even if it’s not directly from the influencer who posted it. Often, the flourish of audience responses creates a growing tree of high quality user-generated images that you can then re-use for ad campaigns.
Here's an example from Five Four using influencer content and channels to run more effective Facebook ads:
2. Using product review demos on ecommerce pages: If you’ve ever been involved in customer service and have been amazed at the sumptuous variety of ways that people interpret and re-purpose your products, then this one is for you. YouTube testimonials are where your influencers can break down your value propositions into true layman’s terms for their particular niche, as one consumer explaining to another. A fashion influencer can explain how your company’s toothpaste is the best option for tooth whitening while a DIY influencer can show how the same product can be used to shine silver and remove scratches from DVD’s. They’re often use-cases you wouldn’t have guessed, and they’re product demo gold.
Here's a great example by Gaiam, a yoga-fitness brand, who uses walkthrough videos on its product pages to increase conversion through education:
3. Reposting content on your own social media: Influencer’s content is often akin to testimonials and when companies like Fashion Nova gather 280+ pieces of content from a single campaign, they’re just about set on positive reviews to share for life.
Using their campaign hashtag #novababes Fashion Nova amassed enough content to post several such testimonials each week.
Pieces like all of the above are part of a large Rubik’s Cube of content that gets dumped on your door each week which can be shared, mixed, and repurposed with abandon!
So what are you waiting for? Take control of your influencer content!
If you work directly with influencers we highly recommend speaking with them about a licensed agreement where you retain ownership of their tweets, Instagram posts, Pinterest boards, and YouTube videos for marketing purposes. If you’re working through an influencer marketing platform, talk to your account manager and see if they already do this for you, or how you can go about making it happen.
Content creation is a colossal hidden benefit to influencer marketing. Once you start your program you’ll have created a content generation network made up of influencers hard at work promoting your brand with authentic, valuable, user-tested marketing materials that can then empower your regular operations.
And maybe, if you do it well enough, one day you’ll utter the phrase, “Stop the presses! I have too much great content!"
But probably, you won’t, because it’s of such incredible quality that you’ll never want to turn it off.
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