Dropping six figures on a celebrity endorsement may seem like a good idea, but securing effective brand ambassadors does not require an astronomical budget. Here are three reasons to consider putting your own social media followers in the spotlight.

1. Consumers trust peers more than celebrities.

Olympians on cereal boxes, basketball stars in sneakers, and supermodels promoting the latest skin care lines are memorable marketing moments—but fading techniques. In fact, a recent study reveals, “Only three percent of consumers would consider buying a product in-store if it was endorsed by a celebrity.” Ouch.

As a result, “influencer content” hit the wish lists of marketing managers. YouTube stars, bloggers, and the not-quite-celebrity, but still wildly popular faces of social media gladly fill that niche. In exchange for typically $5,000–$300,000 per partnership, these influencers casually weave sponsored content into regular posts, name-dropping brands and products to fans. The Economist reports that sponsored posts on Instagram doubled in one year alone!

Consumers, however, are already growing weary—skeptical of any recommendation that comes with financial attachments—even unfollowing accounts that push sponsorships too much. Professional influencers may be able to push brand awareness, but only if people stick around long enough to watch.

At the end of the day, consumers still view content produced closer to home as more credible. Nielsen’s Global Trust in Advertising study indicates 83% of consumers trust the recommendations of friends and family most. Those are the experts to pursue.

2. Authenticity drives sales.

The key to successful social media marketing is to inspire average fans, customers, and even employees to tell your brand’s story. Organic user-generated content doesn’t just create awareness. It also adds an emotional connection necessary for long-term engagement.

Consider the way American fashion house Calvin Klein turned an old celebrity endorsement into a viral social media campaign. A teenage Brooke Shields once whispered about her Calvins in a 1981 commercial, so the company asked followers to snap selfies of themselves wearing the apparel, filling in: “I ___ in #MyCalvins”. Nearly 200,000 unpaid, authentic posts poured in through Instagram alone, generating 4.5 million interactions across various channels. Customers loved modeling their own style and putting a unique spin on a nostalgic ad.

The campaign worked because, as Chief Marketing Officer Melisa Goldie told a Racked reporter, “Relevance is the driver of commerce.” When consumers see peers talking about a brand, they pay attention.

3. Earned content breaks barriers, not budgets.

User-generated content offers long-term value. Today’s shoppers crave authenticity—even vulnerability. Millennials regularly consult multiple sources before making a purchase, and seeing another consumer’s selfie with a product often matters more than the brand’s professionally-staged photo shoot.

Innovative marketers don’t take it personally. Instead, they’re maximizing impact by incorporating UGC directly on the brand’s website. With curation and display platforms like TwineSocial, this endless stream of free, dynamic content is easily accessible, and social media integration streamlines purchasing decisions in a way that’ll be sure to keep your brand humming for years to come.

For more ideas on how to promote shared enthusiasm around an idea, product, or community, check out our solutions gallery. Then, kick off your own success story with a free 7-day trial of TwineSocial. Let us know how we can help!

social roi

Get more engagement from your user generated content—and turn social media into real ROI.

social roi

Get more engagement from your user generated content—and turn social media into real ROI.