As the influencer marketing world continues to debate the merits of using celebrities and “internet famous” individuals versus micro-influencers, one issue remains constant.
How do you help people create engaging content that follows your brand message and is interesting to read or watch?
The web-based tool allows brands to create video templates and elements that reflect the look, feel, and messaging they want to project. Users can then include their favorite brand’s customized themes, including transitions, virtual studios, stock footage, and background replacement technology (without the need for a green screen), to help the resulting video look as close to professional-grade as possible.
The company’s first business-focused service, Showbox for Brands, allowed brands to create videos but did not include the ability to leverage followers. Showbox Engage does offer that capability, plus brands have no creation or distribution costs with Engage because the community is creating and distributing the content however they want to.
That’s a neat way to solve one of influencer marketing’s biggest problems — how to aid the production of content without stifling the consumer’s own style and passion for the products and services they love. It also means that brands can create UGC campaigns that scale quickly, with the resulting output being shared direct from the Showbox platform to YouTube, and more.
“Influencer marketing has become an inseparable part of the marketing mix for most medium to large-sized brands in recent years,” Effi Atad, founder and CEO of Showbox, told me. “Keeping in mind that most U.S. teens don’t know the biggest celebs from 10 years ago [this makes] it clear that the web, and its teenage followers, are all owned by the new generation of internet famous celebrities/influencers.”
That makes sense for Showbox, since its first service was designed to help anyone produce professional-grade videos with nothing more than a webcam. And the biggest influencers come with a whole new level of risk attached, too.
“Showbox’s experience with its clients has been that most brands see better results by working with micro-influencers, since mega-influencers have a very specific tone of voice, look, and feel to the content they share with their audiences,” Atad said. “This makes it hard for a brand working with those mega-influencers to control the final result that goes out to their community, and to include the brand’s message in a powerful way. That’s not a bad thing on its own, but when it comes to motivating audiences to become brand consumers, a vague message just won’t cut it in many cases. By working with smaller influencers, brands have the opportunity to better monitor the result before it goes live to make sure it’s in line with the message they are trying to convey, as well as reach hand-picked, niche audiences that are following those smaller influencers.”
Another issue with influencer marketing remains — regulatory standards.
“It’s a pretty challenging and grueling task for both influencers and the brands behind them, to make sure they are FTC-compliant these days,” Atad said. “Promotions have to be honest and include disclosures, and even then they might still catch the FTC’s attention.”
Brands, therefore, have to ensure they are staying on the right side of all the various regulations across the globe — rules that change on a country-by-country basis. While Showbox Engage won’t help with that particularly thorny problem, it does have ease of use on its side.
“Using Showbox Engage, brands reach out to their followers, inviting them to create a UGC video in a quick, intuitive manner and spread the word to their friends and families,” Atad said. “As a result, followers feel empowered because they have a say, they get to create and share their videos with their friends. This helps the brand organically reach more audiences and bypass banner blindness and ad blockers, exponentially increasing the brands’ exposure and reach online.”
So what is the future of user-generated video content? Where does Atad see this going?
“Video is the most engaging form of content these days,” Atad said. “People have become bored with more traditional ways to express themselves online, such as text and images. If you take a look at one of your social feeds, you can’t scroll down without seeing a video — whether it’s live, mobile, or branded. UGC content is so valuable because it’s real, creative, and fosters brand awareness organically. So brands are looking to stay in control, while simultaneously staying on top of online trends to gain more exposure and awareness for their products.”
Showbox Engage is available from today.