Content is the foundation on which influencers build their digital communities—and it's being produced constantly at lightning fast speeds, with increasing complexity.
We tracked 150 Collectively community members over the course of 60 days to understand just how much content influencers are posting. Within that timeframe, the group generated more than 28,000 social posts across Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest, generating more than 1 billion impressions and 13 million engagements.
This scale of impactful content generation requires both art and science—great attention to craft and savvy business strategy. The following key terms should help illuminate some of the concepts driving that practice:
1. Affiliate Link: A custom URL given to influencer partners and ambassadors to use when promoting goods or services online. The link tracks clicks and purchases, which can help brands measure the amount of sales an influencer generates, and provide a percentage of revenue on those sales to the influencer.
2. Call to Action, or CTA: A message that invites someone (a viewer, audience member, user, fan, or consumer) to perform a specific type of action. Common influencer CTA’s include "like and comment to enter" a sweepstakes or "swipe up" to view a product shared within an Instagram Story.
3. Caption: The written copy included with a social post. Each social platform has different caption parameters. For example, Twitter captions are limited to 280 characters and Instagram allows 2200 characters. Captions not only describe the content or photo being shared, but also convey the personality and tone of the influencer who's posting.
4. Disclosure: A written and visible indicator required by the FTC and included within sponsored influencer content that clearly conveys the material connection(s) between the influencer and sponsoring brand. Compliant disclosures include: The word or #hashtag ad, paid, or sponsored. More on disclosures here.
5. Flat Lay: A photograph or other type of image taken from an overhead perspective that depicts a group of items organized in a stylized way. Example: @flatlays.
7. Integrated vs. Dedicated: Describes content referencing multiple brands vs. just a single brand. Mostly used in reference to YouTube videos, and sometimes Instagram posts. An Integrated video or Instagram post may mention multiple beauty brands, whereas a dedicated video only mentions one brand sponsor.
8. Instagram and/or Facebook Live: A video streaming feature on Instagram and Facebook. Viewers are able to watch live and interact in real-time via comments, likes, and sharing. On Facebook, a live video is saved after the livestream is over. On Instagram, a live video disappears after 24 hours.
9. Organic vs. Paid: Refers to the two distinct types of influencer content: non-sponsored and sponsored. Organic content is non-sponsored and holds no material connection to a brand advertiser. Paid content, or sponsored content, is driven in some capacity by a sponsoring brand advertiser.
10. Link in Bio: A phrase and call to action (CTA) influencers use primarily on Instagram to signal to their audience that they have put more info in their bio. Affiliate links will often be dropped here.
11. Monetize: The process of converting assets or services into a source of revenue. For influencers, monetization occurs when they are able to earn money from the content they create on their social media accounts or blogs. Often, the most lucrative form of monetization for influencers starting out is sponsored content, followed by affiliate revenue.
12. Plandid: A carefully planned photo that’s meant to look candid, but is actually strategically planned out. Coined as the most indulgent Instagram trend of 2017 by Man Repeller.
13. Shoppable: Social media posts that allow users to initiate a purchase from, or within, the post itself. Brands can request access to exclusive shoppable features just for merchants (like Shopify for Instagram and buyable pins on Pinterest). Influencers leverage various affiliate programs (such as LIKEtoKNOW.it for Instagram) that allow their fans to easily buy the products they share about. More recently, the Instagram Swipe Up feature has enabled influencer Story content to become shoppable.
15. Unboxing/Haul: A specific type of video content that depicts an influencer opening, reacting to, and using various products. In an unboxing, a brand sends a package of products and the video shows the influencer "unboxing" the contents. In a haul video, the influencer has purchased products themselves and shares/reviews the items they bought, i.e. "Watch my latest Sephora haul!"
14. Swipe Up: A feature on both Instagram Stories and Snapchat that allows a user to link to a website from their post, so their audience can get more specific information about the product or service they are discussing. Example: “Swipe up to buy the lipstick I am wearing today!”
More from this series...