While traditional influencer marketing still remains supreme, there are some new kids in town rising to the top: user-generated content, or UGC, and paid ads. We're breaking down what each term really means in the influencer world and how they can help create some significant results for your brand while working in unison.
Influencer Marketing 101
Influencer marketing focuses on the relationship between the creator and their audience. Traditionally, you partner with a creator that aligns with your brand then work with the creator to develop content, and trust that the creator's audience engages with the campaign. It's been a powerful influencer tool for many years, but now UGC + paid influencer ads are joining the game.
What is UGC Content?
Influencer content also works well as influencer user-generated content, or UGC. Influencer UGC is unpaid content created by fans of a brand, like a selfie posted to Instagram while using a product or a TikTok video sharing a product review. It more closely resembles a customer testimonial rather than an ad and gives the influencer much more creative control. It's honest and authentic content that the creators share with the brand. A big bonus: influencer follower count doesn't usually matter here! So if you're an influencer looking to make some $$$, this is a great niche to hop into.
The 411 on Influencer Paid Social
Influencer paid social includes the sponsored ads you've probably seen that are promoted from the influencer's social account rather than a brand's account. Brands and agencies are doing more influencer paid social options so that brands can put money into boosting specific posts created by influencers they've partnered with so they're seen by an even larger audience.
So how is the world of influencer affected?
Audience is Still #1
Like we shared above, traditional influencer marketing still remains at the top, and influencer audiences remain a priority. When you follow someone, it's because they admire or aspire to be like that creator in some aspect, whether it's look, expertise, aesthetic, sense of humor, or values. Audiences expect each piece of content produced by the influencer to feel relatively similar and to align with what originally attracted them in the first place.
In order to retain the trust and respect of their audience, it's critical that influencers really do like and use the product they advocate for and are given the freedom to be brand advocates. If sponsored content feels inauthentic to an audience, they won't react to it. For influencer marketing to work, the audience must be respected!
Influencer UGC Rises to the Top
Respecting the audience is precisely why influencer UGC is effective, since it's created from the POV of an influencer rather than influenced by brand campaign creative.
There's no limitation to how a product is used, and seeing it used in many different ways can give the audience ideas about how they might use it. When it's obvious to the audience that the creator genuinely likes the product or service, they are much less likely to tune out the message as yet another advertisement.
Influencer Paid Social Is Ideal to Scale
The final piece! Paid social comes post UGC and campaign marketing, allowing brands to scale their most effective influencer work. With this approach, brands can identify content that has performed well organically and then amplify it to a much larger audience, including boosting the content to the creator's audience or audiences that have similar interests to those that follow the creator.
Whether your influencer strategy is utilizing one approach or all three, we can see the benefits of either! Remember: always identify and work with creators who truly align with your audience and messaging - this will help carry all influencer work far and work harder for your brand.