Influencer generated content vs. user generated content - a better strategy

This strategy was originally discussed by Cody Wittick, whose Twitter thread you can find here. Cody Wittick is also definitely worth a follow on Twitter, which you can do here .

Social proof is important when it comes to selling more online.

Whether it’s to convert new users or to up-sell already existing customers, social proof is one of the beneficial pushes to improve your conversion rates.

If you’ve worked with User Generated Content (UGC), you know that pictures and video reviews can help boost sales.

But although these types of content are beneficial, odds are you will be able to drive more sales and revenue with Influencer Generated Content - and it won’t even break the bank.

Quick recap: User and Influencer Generated Content

User Generated Content is probably already a part of your marketing strategy.

Pictures from previous customers on product pages and maybe also using those in your ads (and if you’re not, you should).

Often, on product pages, images are the better scoring content, whereas videos are more likely to be used for ads.

But then there’s also Influencer Generated Content: content created by influencers that have your product in their hands and create a video about it.

And that’s where it gets interesting, because content generated by influencers is often much more fitting for social media (and ads) than content created by regular customers/users.

And the reason why it works is simple: influencers already have experience with how social media works. They have, so-called, discovered the tricks of the algorithm and of human psychology.

Not only do they know what kind of input they need to create to get a better spot from Instagram, they also know how to get people to engage with their content.

It’s like getting content from a professional that knows how to create the best content vs. an amateur that is simply creating content.

Influencers know the right angles, have video equipment to create better videos, and know from start to finish how to well.. influence people.

But influencers are expensive, right?

Sure, if you are looking for a big brand deal with Kim Kardashian or any other huge influencer then you are more likely to break the bank vs. getting content from regular customers.

But, there’s a simple trick that you can use that simply does not require huge budgets.

Instead of dropping large amounts of money to get this content, it will cost you the product cost of a single item along with the shipping cost. And a little bit of time.

This strategy is called Seeding Influencers with the focus on getting Influencer Generated Content, and was coined by Cody Wittick’s colleague Taylor Lagace, who shared it on Twitter.

First you need to find a good list of influencers. They shouldn’t be too big, by having millions of followers for example - as often they already have a manager and do big brand deals.

Instead aim for people with around 5000-20000 followers, within your niche, that have a good combination of regular content and sponsored content.

An easy way to find these influencers is by using hashtags on Instagram and going through the top posts to understand which influencers to contact.

Another way is to sign up for Facebook’s official Brand Collab Manager. If you have an advertising account for Facebook, this will speed up the process significantly.

Or, if you are already using an influencer database, look for people within those parameters.

Then reach out to the influencers through a DM. This will be more personal than sending them an email, plus most of the emails smaller influencers are getting nowadays are spam.

Or worse, they are getting a ton of DMs to get a “brand deal” but it’s really just a discount code in disguise sent by people who just want them to order stuff.

So, instead, send them a DM and say something similar to “Hey X, we love your feed. Love {xyz} in your last story. Was wondering if we can send you {some/one} of our products. No strings attached. Happy to send you some things because I think you’ll enjoy it”.

Keywords here: No. Strings. Attached.

At the end of the day, how many influencers get a DM that states that they get something for free, with no strings attached? For most influencers, that number is zero per year.

So first of all, you will stand out. Secondly, the number of people replying with yes will be very high. Thirdly, this will generate some amazing content and free reach.

But if there are no strings attached, how will I get Influencer Generated Content?

There’s a funny trick in human psychology that is called reciprocity, also known as “returning the favor”

If I do something for you, you are much more likely to do something for me.

This is also described in Cialdini’s book called Influence.

And that’s the trick we will be using here as well.

Using this strategy, you are likely to see around 50% of the influencers create some sort of content with the products you have sent them.

Yes, 50%. Which, for influencer content, is huge.

But don’t just send them the products and leave it to be.

Make sure that your influencers are getting the top notch experience that you are also offering to your customers.

Keep them in the loop when the package has been shipped. Answer their questions. Send helpful emails once the package arrives.

Quick tip here: Kynship is a Shopify app that allows you to get a complete overview of these influencer seeding campaigns. Pricing is $49,99. Instead of using cluttered and hard to track spreadsheets, you can just track everything from within your store.

And once they receive the products, don’t bother them with “Please make us a video”. It was no strings attached, remember?

However, do include some cool instructions on how to make a great video, in case they want to.

Which hashtags should they use? Where should they use your product? When should they use your product - at night, in the morning, any time of the day?

Lots of influencers will make videos to showcase that they got the product.

They’ll unbox it.

They’ll show it.

They’ll use it.

They’ll rave about it.

And that’s where the ROI starts to come in.

Because once an influencer creates a piece of content around the product you’ve sent, it is your time to shine again.

Follow up with them when you know they have received the package. Ask them if they have any questions about the product.

Simply said: be human, don’t be weird.

Treat them like you would treat any other customer. It’s about relationship building here.

Because once you launch a new product line, a better product or anything else, these are the influencers you want to reach out to again.

So once they’ve posted, what do you do?

The best way to track whether someone has posted content after you’ve sent them your products is by using MightyScout ($99/month for up to 50 influencers).

Or you can start tracking it yourself if you plan to work with just a handful of influencers at first.

Just make sure that you check their feed and their stories every 24 hours or check your own Instagram notifications to see if they’ve tagged you.

Once the post is live, send them another DM to tell them what you think about their post and to thank them.

This is an ideal moment to ask if you can send them more products as a thank you, along with asking them if it’s alright to use their content on your own social channels and in ads.

Because remember, reprodicity is key here: if you do something for them, they’re more likely to do something for you. Send them more product, get their permission.

They didn’t make a video, what should I do? As mentioned earlier in this article, around 50% of the people that receive your products will create a video.

But let’s say someone received the products and they didn’t create a video in the first few days.

This does not necessarily mean they won’t create a video at all.

The first step is to simply follow up with them and ask if they have received the package.

If they have, and they reply without saying they’ll create a video, a good follow-up will be to ask what they think of the products.

When they reply positively, but still don’t publish any content, feel free to throw a final question: “Do you think your audience would like to see you use the product on your feed?”

This is just a final ask without pushing hard on saying “we want you to create content”.

Because don’t forget, you’ve told them there were no strings attached.