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.

Upshow.png

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.  

********

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

matt.png

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.

Authority, Impact, and the Future of Influence Marketing

Influencer marketing is the most powerful tool in getting a brand’s message to an interested audience in a relevant and authentic way. Whether launching a new product or just trying to raise brand awareness, it’s effective in driving engagement, visibility,quality traffic, and more. Last week I spoke at ClickZ Live New York on Authority, Impact, and the Future of Influence Marketing.

The future of influence marketing is up and coming as marketers are trying to hone in on how to develop relationships with key influencers with hopes to lift awareness of their brands. It’s not enough to market through influencers, now it’s crucial to find a way to collaborate in partnerships with influencers.

Within my speech I discussed the four rules of influencer marketing:

1) Popularity Does NOT Equal influence.

2) To be influential, a person has to be actively writing on topics which matter to your audience.

3) To be influential, a person has to have authority.

4) Influencer’s drive action.

Platforms like Instagram and YouTube have led to the rise of a new generation of influencers that have amassed huge followings on niche subject matters. A research study by Nielsen showed that buyers trust experts and influencers over branded content. It’s important start a campaign with a precise set of goals, and understand the purpose of your influencer outreach plan.  Whether its to get them to be a brand advice, guest blog, or vouch for your brand you must begin by defining concise targets and have various KPI’s for various social media networks.

So how can you find Influencers? Great Question, here are some of my favorite (and free!) tools:

1) Follower Wonk Enables you to find, analyze, and optimize for social growth, and search bios of those influencers you’re after (especially very niche topics!).

2) Twitter provides free analytics which outlines top followers, influencers, and also gives a nice overview of your impressions, mentions, and more.  I also find using twitter lists to be an excellent way to tap into and influencer and “digest” twitter in a more streamlined manner.

3) BuzzSumo allows you to find the most shared content and see what content performs best, as well as discover key influencers.

4) Topsy is one of my favorite tools to search all tweets and measure social trends, but they’ve also got an influencer option which has proven quite helpful.

5) Klout is the original tool to rank influencers based upon social networks and reach, they’ve started a content first approach, but hey, I still get free perks, and i’m still a fan!

Once you’ve found your influencers it’s important to get closer and engage with them using social media.  Being socially active you’ll be one step closer to your influential audience.  When reaching out to an influencer you’ve got to recruit, initialize and grow your relationship, and then nurture. Make sure your outreach is relevant.  Taking time to research your target influencers interests, and understand who they are and what they like is crucial.  Engage on social media by sharing an article, providing an opinion, and engaging when them in conversation without an ask. Once you’ve built your initial conversation pitch free it’s important to reach out offline to discuss next steps, and if possible remind them of your discussion and engagement to spark the conversation.

My slideshare from ClickZ Live is below, and remember Jay Baer’s quote, “Content is fire. Social Media is Gasoline.” When done right tapping into this new generation of influencers can put your brand on the map, increase traffic, engagement, and so much more.

What do you think of the presentation, send me a tweet @MarissaPick, or leave a comment below.