By: Toby Britton, co-founder of Miappi
There’s no denying that high-profile influencer marketing is here to stay and that when executed well, can drive a mass of traffic and word of mouth hype. But now thanks to ASA laws, influencers now have to be transparent when working with brands on these campaigns, which can leave customers feeling unsure as to whether an influencer is being authentic or just being paid to like the product. As a result, a brand’s authenticity can become compromised.
Thankfully, there’s a way to get the benefits of an influencer campaign at a fraction of the cost and risk for marketers (promise!). While many larger brands have been competing for the well-known household names, they’ve often been overlooking their most cost-effective creators and loyal customers. Some of your most highly engaged consumers are right under your nose, all you need to do is find them. This might sound like a lot of work initially, but fortunately cutting-edge community technology is on hand to make this job a breeze.
So how can you find these customer brand advocates?
If you can find customers who already have an existing positive relationship with your brand, they are more inclined to be inspired to work for you and create an authentic response with your customers that is likely to leave a positive impact on them. Research shows that more than 50% of consumers want a brand to tell them what type of content to create and share (Merkley & Partners). And if you identify the right customers that align with your brand, your most engaged creators will happily produce user-generated content for you organically, reviewing and showcasing your business in an authentic way. Research from Nielsen shows that 92% of consumers trust earned media more than traditional media. So, what’s stopping you from getting started?
Most brands have untapped potential right underneath their noses. These are the exceptionally creative individuals who already happen to be talking about you using your relevant hashtags, @mentions and happen to create great content.
For some brands, there is plenty of great UGC out there already that when rights-managed, can be injected into multiple aspects of their marketing activity. UGC builds trust and makes brands authentic. By adding such content in places where others can see it, brands are able to influence prospective customers and boost sales.
Create a community to drive your marketing forward
Once appropriate customers have been found that resonate with your brand, many larger brands already have separate, integrated brand communities up and running in order to engage them. But this doesn’t mean you have to have a bottomless budget to also benefit from creating a community for your brand advocates.
When it comes to approaching brand advocates on social media, you’ll often find that because they already love your brand, they can be motivated in more ethical ways, ways that don’t necessarily involve financial rewards. Existing UGC marketing technology has made it easier than ever to discover these vocal brand advocates based on what they are saying and creating on social media. By combining such technology with a community marketing platform in your marketing stack, you are suddenly able to invite those individuals into a unique brand community experience. Giving you the chance to develop meaningful relationships with creators, who’s love for your brand is real and therefore their content is truly authentic.
When it comes to approaching your brand advocate’s you’ll often find that because they already love your brand, they can be motivated to create without money, leading to a more sustainable and meaningful partnership long term.
Marketing trends show that brands using community marketing believe that this style of marketing is making a huge difference to their bottom line, with 80% of marketers indicating that building brand communities has increased traffic (Hubspot). Also, once a community of creators has been established, many marketers find that this kind of community flourishes with very little intervention. To hit this magic sweet spot, community technology is key, but don’t worry it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.
Most community platforms allow anyone to sign-up, with community members therefore nominating themselves. But when in search for creative collaborations, brands should instead look to develop invite-only creator communities. By operating as invite-only, not only is the power placed in the hands of the brand, but this also allows brands to only invite those who are proven advocates. Community members can be selected based on organic content that already exists and is being posted to social media, unprovoked.
Brand new community platforms are making customer collaborations possible, giving brands and customers alike a space to collaborate, work on briefs together and build a rapport that ultimately leads to increased levels of UGC.
It’s true, traditional influencer activity isn’t going anywhere. But savvy brands are multiplying their content marketing output, whilst building brand trust simply by engaging their own customers. Brands, that have armies of passionate and creative fans, will outperform those who rely on mercenaries.
About Toby Britton, co-founder of Miappi
Toby is the co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer at Miappi. Toby has been involved in the creative and communications industries since the mid-nineties when he started working for independent TV production companies in the production of documentary films. In 2001 he transferred his film making skills to marketing and advertising before starting to focus on digital projects. It was these agency-side projects that led Toby to start the business that would evolve into Miappi. Today, Toby oversees the design, development and marketing of Miappi.
Miappi is the all-in-one solution for discovering great user-generated content, and for building communities of brand fans.
Miappi is a SaaS marketing platform powered by consumer-generated content. Our technology helps brands to discover and harness these authentic stories in order to drive consumer engagement and increase conversions. Miappi helps Enterprise clients to discover, curate and license the very best visual content (images, videos and comments) from social media platforms, review sites and from direct upload. The platform then makes it easy to publish the best of that content to websites, digital signage, live event screens, email campaigns and paid advertising.
With Miappi Community, brands can connect more meaningfully with the customers posting about their products or services, providing a way to recruit these advocates into a new community user-experience. Community makes it easy for you to nurture relationships with everyday customers as well as facilitating creative partnerships with your most talented customers.