User-Generated Content: Turning Users Into Advocates

If you regularly emerge at Oxford Circus at rush hour, the chances are you’ve had a can of Diet Coke thrust into your hands, whether you want it or not.  And for the next 100 yards there is a graveyard of half-drunk cans. 

Which begs the question - how much are brands wasting by putting the wrong thing in the wrong hands? Imagine the millions that could be clawed back annually as companies try to get consumers to take notice, try their product and change their buying behaviours.

With game-changing marketing in the form of User Generated Content (UGC), brands now possess the remarkable capability to seamlessly place the perfect product into precisely the right hands, exactly when it matters most. 

What is UGC?

User-generated content, or UGC, is genuine branded content in the form of images, videos, reviews, or podcasts created by influencers, customers, or UGC creators. Its purpose is to promote specific products or services by blending the creator’s content, personal experiences, and self-promotion in a unique way. 

Through UGC, brands can give their products to the right customers who already cherish the products and are willing to give genuine reviews or testimonials. This may lead to the creation of authentic content based on the customer’s personal experience with the products. 

UGC content is typically shared exclusively on the brand’s social media channels, rather than on the account of influencers or UGC creators. This approach allows brands to provide social proof of their product’s benefits to their existing audience base. 

What are UGC benefits for brands?

The primary aim of running a UGC campaign or hiring UGC creators is to produce authentic content to spotlight your products or services' benefits to your existing audience. Your brand can also reap various advantages of UGC outlined below:

Establish brand loyalty

UGC opens up conversations between a brand and its customers, and this level of interaction helps to build a sense of community and brand loyalty. By sharing authentic content based on the customer’s or influencer’s personal experiences, brands offer customers a chance to take part in the brand’s story and growth, making them feel valued while also deepening their relationships. 

Boost credibility through authenticity

By leveraging UGC, brands can utilise influencers, UGC creators or even customers’ unique and authentic content to promote and showcase the benefits of their products and services. UGC is often filled with personal stories and emotions, making customers perceive these types of content as trustworthy and genuine. 

UGC content is grounded in the other user’s personal experience with the products, hence fostering trust between customers and brands. People these days trust other people's opinions, and UGC acts as the most effective way of word of mouth. 

Influence purchasing decisions

UGC has a profound impact on the final stage of a buyer’s journey. Its authenticity acts as social proof—the non-promotional, unaltered, and easy to grasp content persuades potential customers to believe your product is worth purchasing. For example, when your audience sees influencers using your product, they can visualise its benefits and how well it seamlessly complements the influencer’s style. This might also sway their decision to make a purchase. 

More precisely, 85% of customers believed that UGC plays a significant role in purchasing decisions. Customers who have come across UGC are more likely to make purchases than those who have been exposed to branded content.

How The Influence Room can help?

Introducing the newest and fastest-growing influencer marketing platform: The Influence Room. A straightforward and all-in-one dashboard where creators, influencers, or customers have the opportunity to try the products or services they love while also collaborating with the world’s top brands. 

The Influence Room can help you to start a successful UGC campaign, from finding real advocates who already love your brand to managing the entire campaign process, and ultimately generating and analysing impactful results. 

By allowing your samples to be chosen by those who desire them, you are putting the right products into the right hands precisely when needed. This approach will likely result in better awareness, positive sentiment, brand loyalty, elevated credibility, and more positive buying intentions. It will also stop you from wasting time, money, and effort. 

So stop throwing the product on stony ground, and allow it to be chosen by those who are genuine fans or genuinely curious.  That’s the beauty of The Influence Room, the space where collaboration and brand love are still the most important factors. Book a free demo to discover how The Influence Room can make a difference for your brand. 

Barter collaboration: A win-win strategy for brands and influencers

Bartering with influencers is becoming increasingly popular with brands - the benefits of this form of collaboration are tenfold. Here, we look into what it is and how to make it work for you.

What is a barter collaboration?

A barter collaboration falls under the umbrella of a barter economy – for the uninitiated, this is a transaction system that involves an exchange of goods or experiences without money. A great example of this in the social media space is influencer gifting - whereby brands pay influencers with their product or services in return for their authentic endorsements, such as reviews or promotional content on their social media. 

In a world where audiences are growing tired of being marketed at as a result of ad saturation, many users love genuine reviews. With barter collaborations, influencers can freely promote the products in their own way and drive tangible results, whereas brands gain consumer trust and loyalty.

Brands: Why should I do barter collaboration with influencers?

Although there’s no money involved, barter collaboration can be a win-win strategy for both brands and influencers. As a brand, you can benefit from several factors as follow:

Cost effective

Instead of spending loads of cash for ads, sales pitches, or other expensive marketing campaigns, brands can simply exchange or barter their products or services for influencers endorsement. Through barter collaboration, brands can reach targeted audiences and improve their brand visibility with lower marketing expenses - which can be especially beneficial to smaller businesses such as start-ups.

Reach new audiences

Influencers often have a circle of niche audiences that align with their personality. By collaborating with influencers, brands can effectively reach new, highly engaged individuals with specific interests, leading to valuable leads and conversions. Additionally, such collaborations can enhance the brand’s visibility among a wider range of potential customers that they might not otherwise reach.

Authenticity and trust

Influencers are trusted by their audience, who are more likely to see the influencers’ content as credible. When influencers genuinely enjoy a brand’s offerings, they have a tendency to give authentic endorsements of the products. Influencers know their audience well, so they can create content that appeals to their specific audience. Therefore, with barter collaborations, brands can gain more trustworthy recommendations and credibility from their desired audience.

Measurable results

Brands can get measurable results through barter collaborations. By tracking engagement rates, website traffic, conversions, and any other metrics, brands can see the effectiveness of their barter influencer campaigns for future campaign strategies. 

How to choose the best influencers for a barter collaboration?

Set campaign goals

Firstly, a brand should establish some straightforward campaign goals. Whether it’s about getting the word out there, driving sales, or keeping customers coming back for more–it’s crucial to have a clear direction. It’s also important to make sure those goals align with what the influencers can bring to the table. For example, if you’re a new brand aiming to create awareness and generate some brand exposure, collaborating with influencers can be a great way to introduce your brand to a niche audience segment as a kick-off. 

Understand the audience

Another important aspect to consider when choosing the right influencer is to really get to know the audience and their interest. This will help brands to select the right person to review or represent the brand. For example, if your brand caters to young people who wear sneakers and streetwear, then you should look for influencers who have a similar fashion sense and passion for sneakers and streetwear culture. This ensures that their audience shares a genuine interest in the product you offer. 

Focus on relevancy

Relevancy is essential in choosing the right influencer for barter collaboration. Brands have to seek influencers who are relevant to their industry. Ideally, the influencers should have expertise or a genuine interest in their product or service category so that they can get an authentic review. 

Types of influencers

Brands also need to consider the types of influencers they’re going to collaborate with. There are four types of influencers:

  1. Mega influencers: more than 1 million followers
  2. Macro influencers: 100,000 - 1 million followers
  3. Micro-influencers: 10,000 - 100,000 followers
  4. Nano influencers: 10,000 followers or less

Generally, the higher the followers, the bigger reach you can get. Hence, you must choose the types that match your budget and needs the most. Typically, micro and nano influencers tend to be more open to barter collaborations, while some macro and mega influencers prefer more paid collaborations. 

Keep an eye on influencers' reach and engagement

Brands need to evaluate influencers’ reach and engagement metrics, such as the size of the audience, followers growth, and the level of engagement they receive on their posts (e.g. comments or likes). Look for influencers with a significant and active audience to maximise the impact of the collaboration.

Review their content

As a brand, you’d need to assess the quality of an influencer’s content, including their visuals, reels, post feeds, or storytelling abilities, and overall presentation. As well as the influencers’ past collaborations to see their ability to promote products or services and brands they're collaborating with. Some influencers don’t fancy doing an endorsement with the competitors of their current brand. 

If you want to understand more about the power of influencers and the impact they could have on your marketing campaigns, download our Love Trust Barometer for free!

Influencers: Why should I do barter collaboration with brands?

If you’re an influencer pondering the benefits of barter collaborations with a brand you love, here are the perks you can get from the partnership.

Personal branding

By partnering with relevant and well-known brands, influencers can create more creative and high-quality content to shape a strong personal brand and gain credibility. 

Let’s say you're a beauty influencer collaborating with Charlotte Tilbury, you'll get plenty of beauty products that you can use to consistently create beauty product review content on your Instagram. This collaboration not only amplifies your influence but also strengthens your positioning as a trusted beauty influencer.

Get awesome stuff for free

Imagine the thrill of getting free products from your beloved brand! Not only do influencers get to enjoy the benefits of receiving free goodies or exclusive products, but they also have the exciting opportunity to be the first to try the newly launched products. 

If they get favourable responses from your audience, they will get the attention of other well-known brands, paving the way for exciting collaborations and even more incredible opportunities.

Spice up your content

Barter collaboration lets influencers spice up their content by featuring various cool products or services that influencers might not usually showcase. This keeps their content fresh and exciting, attracting more followers and boosting their overall influence. And it goes without saying, by staying active on social media, influencers can connect better with their audience and steadily increase their number of followers. 

Long-term partnership

Barter collaborations can serve as a stepping stone for long-term partnerships between influencers and brands. Through consistent collaboration and positive experiences, influencers can build strong connections with brands, turning themselves into brand advocates and long-term partners. If the collaboration is a hit, it can open up many more exciting opportunities, such as becoming an exclusive partnership or a brand ambassador.

If you’re an influencer looking for a barter collaboration with top brands around the world, Room Unlocked can help you connect with them easily. Work hand in hand to create content with your favourite brands and receive great products that we know you’ll love, in exchange for your authentic advocacy. 

Apply now to explore how we can make a difference for you. 

FAQs about barter collaboration

What are the differences between barter collaboration and influencer gifting?

Barter collaborations and influencer gifting are almost the same. Influencer gifting involves providing free products or services to influencers without monetary compensation, with the hope of organic promotion, while barter collaboration entails a mutual exchange where brands offer products or services to influencers in exchange for specific promotional efforts. 

Influencer gifting is typically a one-time occurrence, while barter collaborations involve clear expectations, potential long-term partnerships, and greater brand involvement in content creation. 

Can influencer marketing be both paid and barter?

Yes, influencer marketing can involve both paid and barter collaborations – it will depend on the brand’s goals, budget, and preferences of both influencers and brands. Some campaigns may involve a combination of both paid and barter collaborations. However, most businesses are more likely to do more barter collaborations to reduce their marketing expenses and get genuine reviews.

How to ask an influencer for a barter collaboration?

As a brand, you can start by introducing yourself and expressing genuine appreciation for the influencer’s content. Then, explain why you believe the influencer is a great fit for a collaboration with your brand. Don’t forget to clearly outline the benefits of the collaboration too. 

Personalise the proposal to the influencer’s specific interests or preferences, and also give them specific details about the collaboration, such as how long it will last, what you expect them to deliver (e.g. social media posts), and any specific guidelines or requirements you may have. 

If you don’t get an immediate response, you can simply follow up politely after a reasonable time to show you’re still interested and remind them of the awesome benefits of your barter collaboration. Stay enthusiastic throughout the process and you’ll get a good shoot at winning them over. 

The power of influencers and their impact on consumer behaviour

What is the impact of influencers on consumers?

The rise of social media has given birth to a new breed of trendsetters known as influencers. These individuals have amassed a substantial following and have the ability to shape consumer behaviour through their content. The impact of influencers on consumers can be seen in various aspects of society, particularly in the realms of marketing and purchasing decisions.

Impact on society

Influencers have become a significant force in shaping societal trends and consumer culture. They can create buzz around products, services, and causes. When an influencer endorses a brand or shares their experience with a product, their followers often take notice. 

This influence has led to a shift in consumer behaviour, with individuals relying more on recommendations from trusted influencers rather than traditional advertisements or celebrity endorsements. As a result, influencers have the ability to drive sales and increase brand awareness, making them invaluable assets for businesses in today's competitive marketplace.

Impact on young people

One demographic in particular that is influenced by influencers is Gen Z. This generation, born between 1997 and 2012, has grown up in a digital world where social media is an integral part of their lives. According to Edelman’s 2019 Trust Barometer Report, 63% of Gen-Z trust what influencers say about a brand more than what a brand says about themselves. Influencers have become role models for Gen Z, shaping their opinions, aspirations, and purchasing decisions.

Gen Z and influencers

Gen Z places a high value on authenticity, and genuine and relatable influencers resonate deeply with them. They seek out influencers who align with their values and interests, whether it be fashion, beauty, fitness, or social issues. Gen Z tends to trust the opinions of influencers they follow, often considering them as friends or peers, making them more likely to try products or engage with brands recommended by these influencers. 

Influencers, through their genuine and relatable content, have the power to sway consumer opinions and purchasing decisions. The phrase "TikTok made me do it" has become a common expression, indicating the influence of TikTok content creators on consumer choices. Around 67% of users say TikTok inspires them to shop even when they’re not planning to. 

The #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt phenomenon will likely keep making waves online and convince more viewers to purchase items. It’s a two-way beneficial movement where users discover simple, life-changing products and solutions while businesses increase sales and profits. As a brand, you can take advantage of this trend and learn how you can utilise this for all areas of your business. 

Learn more about how to reach Gen-Z.

What are the benefits of influencers in my marketing strategy?

Incorporating influencers into your marketing strategy can yield numerous benefits. Here are a few:

Increased brand awareness

Influencers have a dedicated following, and their endorsement of your brand or product can introduce it to a wider audience. This increased exposure can lead to greater brand recognition and awareness.

Authenticity and trust

Influencers have built trust with their followers by consistently delivering valuable content. When they recommend a product or service, their audience is more likely to trust their judgement, resulting in higher credibility for your brand.

Purchase decisions

Influencers can heavily influence consumer purchase decisions. When an influencer promotes a product or service, it can drive interest and desire among their followers. In fact, 49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations, according to Digital Marketing Institute. 

This figure highlights the growing value of social media influencers for connecting with their audiences.

Targeted reach

Influencers often have a niche or specific audience demographic. By partnering with influencers whose followers align with your target market, you can reach a highly relevant audience, increasing the chances of converting them into customers.

Creative storytelling 

Influencers excel at creating engaging and relatable content. Their ability to weave your brand or product seamlessly into their storytelling can generate authentic and compelling narratives that resonate with their audience.

Social proof

When an influencer promotes your brand, it serves as social proof for potential customers. Seeing someone they trust and admire endorse your product can provide validation and encourage others to make a purchase.

What makes an influencer effective?

While the number of followers an influencer has can be an important metric, it's not the sole determining factor of their effectiveness. Here are some qualities that make an influencer effective:

  1. Authenticity: Influencers who are genuine, transparent, and true to themselves are more likely to build trust and connect with their audience on a deeper level.
  2. Relevance: An influencer’s content should align with your brand and target audience. 
  3. Engagement: Influencers with high engagement rates suggest that they have an active and involved following and they can genuinely influence their audience’s opinions, behaviours or purchasing decisions.
  4. Content: Creating engaging and high-quality content is vital. Effective influencers understand their audience's preferences and produce content that captures attention, entertains, educates, or inspires.

If you want to understand more about the power of influencers and the impact they could have on your marketing campaigns, download our Love Trust Barometer for free!