The need for content is larger than ever. As well as the traditional advertising channels, social feeds now demand content and it’s a big task for marketers when considering what goes into producing it all.
But it doesn’t have to come at a big cost.
Since opening its doors three and a half years ago, The Social Club has spotted an opportunity for influencers to put their content creation skills to use for brands and its added Influencer-Generated Content (IGC) to its services, as well as Influencer Campaigns and Social Sampling campaigns.
“Rather than paying tens of thousands of dollars to set up a big shoot with an art director, a producer and a video editor as well as employing a creative agency, with IGC you’re paying closer to a couple of hundred dollars for beautiful content that the influencer is creating with their own equipment at home,” explains Georgia McGillivray, CEO and co-founder of The Social Club.
She says The Social Club is increasingly getting brands asking for upwards of 30 pieces of content in a month, so they will find the right influencers or content creators to generate the right content for the brand.
“Influencer-Generated Content is a really affordable way to get organic content that you can own and use on your owned channels.”
Authenticity is key
Not only is IGC an affordable means by which to generate content, it also helps with engagement levels as it’s produced by influencers who have amassed a following by providing value to their audience through their content and thought leadership.
They have an authentic approach, McGillivray says, unlike some branded content that’s staged with a lot of lighting and editing — something audiences are clueing up on.
“Audiences want to see real, authentic images and that’s what these influencers are able to provide,” she says.
“It’s a lot more relatable.”
And beyond content that’s less Photoshop and more reality, McGillivray says IGC is successful because it’s from a familiar face.
“If you were to see two ads for the same brand — one of them has a stock image of a person you’ve never seen before, and the other one has a familiar face who is a thought leader — the face you know is going to be a lot more engaging.”
And to make sure it’s connecting brands with the right influencer, The Social Club has built its own internal technology to help it run campaigns more efficiently, with a more data-driven approach.
“We can pull all the demographics of the influencers, like their follower location, age, gender, income bracket, brand affinity and interests. All of these things help us make the best decisions about which influencer’s the most relevant to a brand based on the brand’s target audience.”
A potential spanner in the works for influencers in general could have been the Advertising Standards Authority’s call for all collaborations to be disclosed. Now, alongside a sponsored post you’ll see ‘#ad’ or “#sponsored’.
However, The Social Club worked closely with the ASA to determine the guidelines and their enforcement has seen no change in campaign results.
“The industry is maturing and the hashtag is adding a level of credibility to the post — that people now know that there is payment involved and that there is a contract involved meaning [the influencer] has chosen to endorse the brand.”
And just because it’s created by an influencer doesn’t mean the client gives overall control of the content.
McGillivray says that while influencers work within their own style, clients can work with them like they would a creative agency – giving briefs and approving work along the way.
Again, this is a where The Social Club comes in, by managing this process and calling on its community of 10,000 influencers across New Zealand and Australia to do so.
“We’re a hands-off solution for brands and agencies,” says McGillivray. “So if the challenge is being short of time and capacity, finding the influencers, or managing contracts, we have all of that within our very airtight processes.”