Brands, Collaborations, News

From Influencer Marketing to Brand Communities: The Evolution of an Industry

Using VoxFeed to build a community around your brand

At VoxFeed, we believe that authentic voices tell the best content stories.

Earlier this year, we talked about how here at VoxFeed we’ve shifted our approach to be more authentic. We continue to offer a marketplace where content creators and brands can collaborate together but we’ve expanded our focus to help brands tap into their existing customer/fan/userbase to create communities of brand advocates. In this post, we’ll explain why we decided to make this change and offer some tips on how to build your community using VoxFeed.  

Seven years of influencer marketing

With seven years working in the influencer marketing space, we’ve seen it all: The good, the bad, the ugly. Using a dynamic marketplace, we’ve connected over 50,000 influencers–from micro-influencers to celebrities–with hundreds of brands. We’ve done thousands of campaigns with hundreds of the most successful global brands. 

One thing we’ve noticed – the number of followers does NOT necessarily translate in purchasing intent or activity. In our experience, the most effective content (meaning content that actually motivates consumers) comes as a result of the depth and believability that the creator has with the product they are showcasing.  

At the same time, we are witnessing consumer “fatigue” with traditional “pay-for-play” influencer marketing. When celebrity influencers are promoting products in nearly every post, sometimes from competing brands, it can affect their credibility and authenticity. We saw their followers engage less and less with this type of content. 

Still, influencer marketing is a huge and valuable marketing tool, when used correctly.  For branding and visibility, high profile media stars can really spread the message – it’s often a good place to start.  To make the most of a campaign however, you need to go beyond this “wide but shallow” approach and leverage more relatable profiles that have an authentic connection to the brand.

Customers are the best brand advocates

At the end of last year, we analyzed all of our experience, metrics, and engagements on VoxFeed and arrived at a conclusion: authentic voices drive the strongest engagement. And the most authentic voices come from your regular fans, users, and customers. 

Simply stated, your real customers, users, and fans are your best brand advocates. 

These are the people that already know and love your products. While they may (or may not) be known as influencers, they still have influence – strong influence. Real users and fans lend credibility and authenticity to your brand. They help build more trust since they have real testimonials and experience with your products. (We outlined five reasons to use your real customers as brand advocates here).

Why a community approach gives you a better ROI 

As consumers, we trust the recommendations of our family and friends. Word-of-mouth marketing is not new.  So now, we are helping brands tap into their customer and fan base to build their own communities of brand advocates. 

While brands can still use VoxFeed as a marketplace to find influencers for their campaigns, we are focusing our energies on this new approach. We are helping brands build their communities of brand advocates. Our goal is to help brands nurture their communities and build long-term, multi-campaign relationships based on a genuine understanding of the brand’s values. 

And one of the biggest benefits of this new approach is financial. The Return on Investment is unparalleled. Authentic brand advocates provide stronger engagement at a much lower price. Since this community-based approach is based on a genuine two-way relationship with your fans, the engagement is not necessarily based on monetary transactions. Instead, brands are rewarding their real brand advocates with things like free products, discounts, or access to special events. So now, you can drive far more activity and brand loyalty at a fraction of the cost.

Managing your community on VoxFeed

VoxFeed provides you the tools and knowledge to manage your community in our platform. VoxFeed is here to guide you every step of the way. From onboarding your fans and users to, soliciting, moderating, and approving content, to confirming your compensation plan, our platform and team are here to support you as you build your community of brand advocates. 

To get started, open a free account with VoxFeed and to build a regular campaign. Only instead of opening your campaigns to our general influencer database, you can invite your own fans and users to VoxFeed to participate in your campaigns. 

Do you have a social media following, an email list, or a rewards program? That’s all you need to get started on building your brand advocate community (We have more tips on where to recruit your fans here)

Start building your community today 

Are you ready to build your fan-based community? Let VoxFeed help you find and engage your brand advocates. To get started, click below to schedule a free, 30-minute call with one of our experts. 

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