Businesses are spending even more on influencer marketing this year, with an estimated $9 billion that will be spent in 2020 alone.
If you want to add a zing of ROI to your marketing efforts, influencer marketing is where it’s at. 91% of marketers say influencer marketing is one of the most effective strategies in their marketing toolkit.
As a brand, you need to know you’re reaching the right audience, crafting the best possible content for that audience, and ultimately converting this audience into paying customers.
That’s all well and good, but there’s a problem.
Brands aren’t integrating influencer marketing into an overall business strategy. As it stands today, influencers are treated too much as a one-off instead of the holistic marketing strategy it can be.
With an actual plan in place, you can not only save a ridiculous amount of time, but stack more money in your bank account.
We like to make the most of influencer campaigns by using user-generated content for Instagram Branded Content Ads—and a lot more.
This strategic mix gives you the power of influencer marketing in organic social media, on your website, and via paid ads.
Let’s dive into what is branded content, how brands can source branded content from influencers, and how to drive sales with this content.
What is Branded Content?
Branded content is content that is published by a creator for an exchange of value by a brand.
It’s essentially a creator posting content including the brand with the brand compensating the creator in some way or form.
Branded content is popular due to its ability to tell a story without being invasive, and comes across as authentic.
3 steps to source branded content
If you’re chomping at the bit to start an Instagram Ads campaign, slow your roll. First, you need to source the right branded content from influencers.
But how do you get this content, anyway?
Instead of paying out the wazoo for a fancy photoshoot that costs a fortune, follow these 3 tips to create effective, branded content for your business.
1 - Set a goal
If you’re having a hard time proving the worth of your marketing campaigns, goal-setting is a must.
What in the world do you need to get out of your influencer-generated branded content?
Do awareness and amplification matter? Or are you looking for a very particular content style? Do you need a certain amount of content from this campaign?
Maybe your goal is to generate Instagram-friendly advertising content. That’s going to affect which influencers you partner with and what type of content you ask them to generate.
Whatever you need, quantify it. Follow the SMART goal-setting framework to set a goal you can actually measure.
For example, “We will partner with 20 influencers to create 40+ pieces of branded content in July 2020” is a great SMART goal.
You’re able to evaluate this goal after your campaign and declare success or failure in a definitive, quantified way.
That’s key to marketing success (and asking your boss for a bigger budget for your next campaign).
2 - Write a very detailed brief
But don’t jump into DMing influencers just yet.
Next, you need to translate your SMART goal into a brief. Think of your brief as a set of instructions for potential influencers.
Your goal is to quickly communicate your goals, the overall campaign, and what’s expected of the influencer. They’ll use this brief to decide if they want to work with you, so it’s important to nail the brief!
Not sure what to include in your brief? Add these components:
Background information: What is this campaign? Why are you running it?
Important dates: How long will the campaign run? How long will the influencer work with you?
Budget: How much can you pay this influencer? Put your budget near the top so they know whether it’s a good fit.
Deliverables: What do you need from the influencer? What are they responsible for? For example, do you want them to post 2 Instagram images, a Story, or something else?
Brand guidelines: You always want to work with influencers who believe in your brand and mission. Include a blurb about your brand and your identity to make sure it jibes with the influencer’s personality.
Rules and disclosures: Don’t forget the legalities, like requiring influencers to disclose affiliate or paid relationships.
Briefs matter because they eliminate a lot of back-and-forth between you and an influencer. That means fewer emails and quicker influencer outreach.
3 - Join a trusted influencer network
The last step to sourcing branded content with influencers is to join a trusted influencer marketing platform.
Now, could you do influencer outreach on your own?
The thing is, though, manual influencer research on Instagram takes hours and you’ll find a lot of bad apples in the process.
Brands that partner with influencer platforms like Trend save way more time sourcing quality influencers. An influencer network helps you:
Find quality influencers: Trend has real-world relationships with every influencer on our platform. We’re invite-only and verify that each influencer (and their followers) are legit.
Vet influencers’ creative work: Does an influencer’s style mesh with yours? Trend matches you with influencers that fit your precise needs.
Manage content rights: Trend automates the content rights process. You have full rights to use the content however you see fit, and that’s crucial for amplifying your branded content on Instagram.
Negotiate rates: All Trend influencers have pre-negotiated rates, so there are no surprises in the budget department.
By sourcing your influencers through a trusted platform, you save time and protect your brand by partnering with real influencers.
From here, you’re ready to let your campaign rip! You’ll generate a swath of high-quality content from a scalable team of influencers bent on boosting your brand.
Our trusted 3-step process for using branded content
So, your army of influencers has created a ton of content for your brand. Congrats!
This user-generated content created by influencers qualifies as branded content, which you can repurpose in so many ways.
Since 63% of customers trust influencer-generated content more than content from brands, you can get insane results when you use influencer UGC in your other marketing initiatives.
Follow these 3 steps to repurpose your high-quality influencer content on Instagram and beyond.
1 - Repurpose the UGC on your branded channels
You invested time and money into your influencer campaign; use the heck out of your branded content!
These organic wins are a must to see greater ROI from your influencer UGC efforts.
This content is not only great for Instagram marketing, but also for:
Website product pages.
Email marketing and abandoned cart outreach.
Other social channels, like Facebook or TikTok.
Trend makes sure you get full content rights from your influencers, so you can use the branded content however you see fit.
Get more traction across the board on all of your marketing initiatives from just one influencer campaign.
2 - Choose your best-performing UGC
After repurposing your UGC on organic branded channels, it’s time to prepare for Instagram Ads. The platform allows you to create Branded Content Ads in direct partnership with influencers, boosting your reach without looking spammy.
If you want to create Branded Content Ads on Instagram, it’s a good idea to use your most-successful organic content. Take the path of least resistance and promote content that people already love.
Look at each piece of influencer UGC and evaluate its:
Which pieces resonated the most with the influencer’s audience?
These are your all-stars: single out 5 - 10 of your most successful pieces to get more traction with content that’s already successful.
3 - Create Instagram Branded Content Ads
Ask your all-star influencers to partner with you on Branded Content Ads. The great thing is that you can automatically transform influencer posts into sponsored ads.
Guess what that means?
You’re not only reaching that influencer’s audience, but a broader base of Instagram users who fit your demographic profile.
Plus, the posts show up under the influencer’s profile, which looks more natural, authentic, and thoughtful than if you shared the content on your own account.
Instagram users can click on the ad and directly shop your products via Instagram.
How’s that for a quick bottom line-booster?
Branded Content Ads give a seamless experience that feels natural and engaging, getting your brand more sales from just one influencer campaign.
To get started with Branded Content Ads, both you and the influencer need to enable the Paid Partnership tag. From there, it’s as easy as choosing your post, running the campaign, and watching the clicks roll in, baby.
One thing brands should note when using this content - you can’t make any copy or image changes to promote the content. So make sure you’re communicating your product value to influencers before they post!
The bottom line
Quality content will never go out of style.
When you invest in quality influencers who produce amazing content, your paid ads, website, email, and other branded channels will perform even better.
Make the most of your influencer marketing initiatives by upping your Instagram marketing game with Branded Content Ads.
This gives you even more ROI on your insanely effective influencer marketing efforts, boosting the bottom line.
Ready to see the difference? Better branded content starts with better influencers. Give the Trend influencer platform a spin now.