The Future of The Micro vs. Mega Influencer – Why User Generated Content is Poised to Win for Businesses

Guest Post from Matt Gibbs, Co-founder and CMO of UPshow

Millennials and GenZ might be the curated selfie generation, but a shift is happening, and businesses are taking notice. The cultural pendulum is swaying away from brand-sponsored mega-influencer-celebrity-endorsed posts to organic content that’s generated by people you know, or even those you feel like you know. Capturing more natural moments and promoting them within a more intimate circle of followers versus big ‘on the main stage’ posts is what’s now in-vogue. An industry 2018 Trust Barometer Report revealed that 60 percent of people no longer trusted social media and reported that immediate friends and family are better for recommendations than influencers.

That said, Kylie Jenner-esque paid posts aren’t going away, but they have become tarnished, and millennials and their younger counterparts are gravitating towards more natural interactions from those within their inner circle or for relatable micro-influencers. As a result, more brands are gravitating toward user-generated content to increase engagement and build trust and community.

According to a study, 56 percent of consumers are more likely to buy a product that they’ve seen in real-life images posted by another consumer – a shift away from the rainbow-colored preplanned photos that dominated platforms like Instagram in late 2017.

UPshow, the company I co-founded, is a social TV platform that companies such as Crunch Fitness, Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen and ATI Physical Therapy are using to transform their customers into immediate influencers.  The platform entices customers to post on social media by projecting them on big screens in-venue. As a result, friends and family, also see and are often influenced by the posts. The content and choice to participate is totally in the hands of the consumer.

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Other companies also provide services that cater to this trend, such as Guest Crew and Woobox.  Their platforms harness user-generated content and boost it organically. Guest Crew leverages a community of organically generated influencers and Woobox turns user-generated content into contests.  Filtergrade uses professional photo grade filters (such as Adobe Lightroom presets) to help brands generate more professional quality shareable images that are unique and micro-influencers can use them too to make their posts mimic celebrity influencer quality.

It’s a new era for user-generated content and if brands want to appeal to younger audiences, such as millennials and GenZ, they need to embrace the social media trends that will improve their engagement rates by putting the power in the hands of the consumer in a genuine way.  

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Matt Gibbs is co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer of UPshow, a consumer engagement platform that transforms a business’s existing TVs into its top marketing assets.  Gibbs is responsible for branding, lead generation and advertising for the

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company. Gibbs is a genuine entrepreneur and trailblazer in digital media with deep roots in the Chicago start-up community. Along with college friend and UPshow CEOAdam Hirsen, Gibbs co-founded SparkReel in 2011. SparkReel created a more efficient way for friends and family to share mobile videos online and evolved into a social media agency that created user-generated content campaigns for Verizon, Oreo, Condé Nast, Apartments.com, among others. UPshow was born out of SparkReel when customers wanted social media engagement screens at events. Gibbs graduated from Miami University of Ohio and resides in Chicago, IL with his wife, two children and corgi.