Trending Content

Can you, how do you, and should you use an influencer?

By Lauren Mau

April 2, 2024

User-generated content (UGC) and influencer marketing are two different digital marketing tactics that have advantages and unique considerations. First, let’s define the terms.

User-generated content. According to Sprout Social, “User-generated content is unpaid or unsponsored content your customers create related to your brand-think reviews, photos, videos and even social posts. It’s real, it’s authentic and it’s priceless for your credibility.” This content is posted on your social media channels. Its purpose is to develop credibility among your audience.

Influencer marketing. Sprout Social defines influencer marketing as “a type of social media marketing of promoting and selling products or services through individuals, or influencers, who are capable of driving action from the target audience.” This content is first posted on the influencer’s social media channels. This strategy helps you grow your market as your brand is spread to the influencer’s network.

“Both strategies can make sense for your business,” says Bekah Ware, CEO and owner of NYAMARK, a marketing agency that serves the manufacturing, distribution, dealerships/rental houses, and any services or products pertaining to the construction industries.

“When we think of influencers, most people immediately think of huge names, but there is power in a local influencer or an end-user,” she explains.

Here is an example:

You could approach a loyal customer who often rents from you and ask that while they have the piece of machinery on rent, would they be willing to take photo/video of them using it and post about it. You will want them to be detailed about where they got it from and what the experience is like at your location. If this content brings you three new customers, you can offer the rentee a week’s rental for free on their next rental.

“Your really loyal customers would be more than happy to do that for you,” Ware says. “Sometimes all it takes is for you to ask and then have the details about what you are asking.”

For larger influencers, ones that have hundreds of thousands of social followers, there are more considerations.

“We have worked with people who ask for free equipment for a certain period of time, and there is a structured agreement,” Ware explains. “For example, you could ask them to provide two videos a month and 17 static photos. We can use your likeness in our marketing materials, and we’d like you to post two times a month at a minimum.”

When working with the most popular influencers, ones with millions of followers, they may have a large fee or be represented by an agency that will handle all fees and negotiations. If you are making an investment that large, consider the following: Am I OK if they represent other brands? What does exclusivity look like? Is this expense worth it?

“For example, we worked with an influencer who got a specific piece of equipment from our client, who is a distributor,” Ware says. “We said, ‘Thank you for your partnership. While you have our piece of equipment, we ask that you not take the same type of equipment from a competing brand. But, if you were negotiating on a different type of equipment we do not produce, we can’t prevent you from doing that.’”

Influencer marketing and user-generated content can help you tell your story to a social audience. Before you dive in to either, be sure to establish goals and considerations for the partnerships.