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Nov 07 Striking the Right Balance With Thumb-Stopping Content

What makes content click-worthy?

The most-liked Facebook post of 2015 might reveal the answer. “Can I Get 1 Million Likes? I Beat Cancer's Butt,” it read, a battle cry from a cancer survivor sitting in a hospital bed. The surge of interest in this post — which eventually generated more than 10 million likes — is indicative of the changing attitudes toward content on the Internet, with more consumers shunning overly-produced celebrity pics for posts that connect on an emotional level.


Influencer marketing strikes consumers in a similar way. It creates instant connections between companies and their customers and reverberates with prospects who crave authenticity.

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Customers Favor the Authentic

Content with influence straddles the organic and the professional. Recently, one of our restaurant clients shared images of food taken from their menus, and photos with a natural feel outperformed more polished shots. The food still looked delicious in these images, but the lack of "glitz" resonated more with customers. It's all about striking the right balance.

This principle extends far beyond the hospitality industry. Sixty-three percent of people trust and prefer consumer photos — user-generated content on platforms like Instagram and Flickr — over brand photos, according to research.

You already know there are thousands (upon thousands) of content creators out here. The hard part for brands is striking the right balance between the "glamourous" and the "real."

One way to do this is to organically test your content before putting your budget behind it. If thumbs are stopping (and your content is getting engagement), you know that what you’re communicating is coming across as authentic and believable. One of the things we do for brands every day is to facilitate content syndication across multiple channels – after the content has already proven its worth.


Actual Carusele campaign content for Pepsi Emoji Actual Carusele campaign content for Pepsi Emoji


 Beyond the Glitz and the Glamour

The restaurant example above can be applied to content across the Internet, from YouTube videos to Snaps to Tweets. In the blogosphere, thumb-stopping posts should not only look great — top-performing content has a killer title, lots of photos and a video or two — but, ultimately, feel authentic, something that results in higher engagement levels.

Authentic influencers have more of an impact on consumers than overly-stylized celebrities, too. They're relatable, honest, trustworthy and connect with their audience better than even the biggest of brands. Millennials, in particular, prefer to follow people on Snapchat and YouTube that are just like them, according to a study shared at the SXSW Interactive Festival in March 2016. Sixty-three percent of those questioned said they prefer to see "real people" over celebrities in commercials.


Actual Carusele campaign content for Walgreens Mobile App Actual Carusele campaign content for Walgreens Mobile App



It’s hard to know at the beginning what’s going to be thumb-stopping. We do know, however, that overly perfect posts don't always have the desired effect on the general public, with more consumers preferring (liking, sharing, commenting on and generally engaging with) influencers who look and act just like them. Moreover, influencer content does what a celebrity endorsement or big-budget commercial can't: it comes across as genuine, authentic and connects with its audience on a deeper level.

Nobody can really predict how well content will do. That's why we don’t even try. We think that one of the coolest things about influencer marketing is that it produces hundreds of pieces of content. The trick is to let the content do its thing … and then promote the best pieces. That’s how you get sizzling, sharable, social-ready content that stops thumbs in their tracks.