Content creators are the entrepreneurs of the future…
And user-generated content has enormous potential in the influencer marketing space…
With user-generated content done right, you can drive exponential conversions…
But many brands don’t understand how to make user-generated content that works.
Daniel Salcedo, the founder of Bolder, is here to give you an inside look at user-generated content.
- The role of content creators in the marketing funnel
- When to use UGC vs influencer marketing
- What makes videos work
- How to find the right UGC creator for your brand
- And more
Mentioned in this episode:
Voiceover: This is Performance Delivered, Insider Secrets for Digital Marketing Success with Steffen Horst and Dave Antil.
Steffen Horst: Welcome to the Performance Delivered Insider Secrets for Digital Marketing Success podcast, where we talk with marketing and agency executives and learn how they build successful businesses and their personal brand. I’m your host Steffen Horst. The topic for today’s episode is the potential of user-generated content in an influencer marketing space. We just speak with me as Daniel Salcedo, who is the founder and CEO at Bolder, the first content creators platform helping deliver high-quality creators user-generated content to fashion brands globally via Shopify. Daniel is a content producer and serial entrepreneur passionate about the power of video and content creation. Daniel, welcome to the show.
Daniel Salcedo: Thank you. Thank you very much for having me.
Steffen: Now, Daniel, before we, before we start talking about today’s topic, tell our listeners a little bit more about yourself. How did you get started in marketing? And how did you come about founding Bolder?
Daniel: Sure, I be a content creator for the last 15, 20 years. I am a producer. That’s what I love to do. I love the power of video, it’s something that I’m passionate about. I’ve been producing different forms of video for branded content, for streaming platforms, and also for social media. And lately on the last few years, I’ve been kind of experimenting in different forms of video. And that’s when I saw the opportunity of content creators traditionally called influencers. And I decided to that I could play an interesting role in this specific market, because I have the knowledge on the on the video and the content creator side. And I also been working in a lot of entrepreneurial projects that are on the E-commerce space. So I kind of like mixing both of my expertises and having just one.
Steffen: Now, why did you decide to focus on content creators and influencer marketing?
Daniel: Well, I believe the content creators are the entrepreneurs of the future. I think today, content creators are definitely setting an example for something that they basically create a new job that didn’t exist. I think that even founders of the social media platform never thought that this was going to happen. And today, I think content creators has a lot of power, even beyond the algorithm of the social media. And that’s what I’m passionate about. I’m passionate about empowering these content creators and giving them tools so they can use that content. And you know, put it in in front of everyone else.
Steffen: Now, your platform focuses on user-generated content for fashion brands. Any particular reason why you decided to go after that area?
Daniel: Well, we wanted to be very specific and wanted to be on a specific niche. So the fashion industry is a very interesting community for content creators. Why? Because fashion brands, typically they need to renew content, and they need to renew everything on a seasonal basis, because they don’t have the same product over the year. Because they need to have a season, a spring specific collection, they need to have a summer collection, they need to have a fall collection.
So that means they need to keep refreshing their content on their websites every quarter. So when we saw that, we saw this is a big opportunity. So we can put content from content creators on E-commerce from fashion brands. And that’s why we decided to focus on this part. Also, my previous startup was on the fashion space as well. We created a specific technology for the fashion industry. So for me, it was easy to tap into this market, because I kind of like knew the market from my previous startup as well.
Steffen: Interesting. Now, people call them content creators. Is that influencer marketing? Is that something completely different? What are your thoughts on that?
Daniel: Well, I think influencer marketing is what, is how everything started. We call it influencer marketing, because I think it’s a marketing term that is easy for everybody to understand what these content creators are doing. What I really like about the terms of content creator is that empowers more the actual content creator who’s producing the content, and not necessarily the task and the expertise.
Because at the end of the day, what I firmly believe is like, you know, Instagram, Tik Tok, and all these platforms are specific content platforms, they’re not shopping platforms. So in the minute that you start thinking, that Instagram or Tik Tok is something that you go because you’re gonna go and shop, then that’s when you make a mistake. And I think these content creators are really understanding that value today and they’re going beyond the social media platform and understanding that they have a power that goes beyond the distribution.
Steffen: Interesting. In your experience, what’s the role of content creators in the marketing funnel today? I mean, you just talked about, you know, not mistaking Instagram, Tik Tok, etc, as kind of a shopping channels, right? Where you just sell stuff off. What’s the content creator’s role in the marketing funnel?
Daniel: So let me actually elaborate more on that concept of the content platform. And I think that’s going to answer this question that you were asking me. So I think when you go to a mall, right, you know that you’re going to a mall, because you had the intention to buy something, right? When you go to Instagram, when you go to Tik Tok, you’re not going to a mall, you’re going to a content platform, basically, you’re going to consume content, right? So the problem is that initially, influencer marketing was trying to drive conversions. And people thought that they because they were going to give some items or they’re going to pay an influencer, that’s going to immediately drive conversions to a brand, you know, or sales to a brand.
And that’s not necessarily the truth all the time. What happened today is that if you’re forcing a platform that is meant to be for content, to be a shopping platform, it’s very hard to really get conversions there. However, if you take that content from the influencer, and put it in the right channel to drive conversion, which in my particular opinion, is either the E-commerce platform of the brand, or the social media platform of the brand, then you really can drive conversion. And that’s why I believe firmly on the on the idea of UGC, user-generated content.
Steffen: Interesting. So just for me to kind of make sure I understand it correctly. So you are basically saying as, as the content sits within those social platforms, that’s not about driving sales. Once they integrated with into their bloodstream on their e-commerce platform or within their social media profiles, that’s when it becomes more transactional focused.
Daniel: Yes, yes. And that’s why you see, you know, the race of all these different things like you know, live shopping and all these type of things because it happens on the website on the brand itself. Like imagine if you like a brand, let’s say, I mean, give me a brand that you like.
Daniel: Burberry, right? The first thing that you think if you want to buy something in Burberry, what is it? Go to their landing page, burberry.com, right? If I go to burberry.com, and I, you see, let’s say you like a specific shirt, right. And then below the shirt, you see all these different content creators experimenting wit that specific shirt, this is how it looks to me. And then you can experiment to all these different things. So that has more potential for a brand to drive a conversion that instead of putting that content in the social media platform in the social media channel of the influencer, when he needs to pay money in ads to the social media platform.
On top of that, relying on this algorithm that you don’t have control of it, and then see if that is going to drive conversion. Because at the end of the day, if you go to Instagram, and you see the page of an influencer, Instagram doesn’t want you to leave Instagram, you wants to stay in Instagram. So they’re going to make you so difficult for you. So you can’t see all this is over, let me see to the website. You know, it’s creating more challenges for you to really go and do ultimately what you want to do, which is, you know, buy something from this brand.
Steffen: Is there specific content that does really well these days?
Daniel: Well, video is, is of course, I mean, incredibly, work good. Like, you know, the rise of all these like reels, and these Tiktok videos on these super well edited, and videos are are incredibly, incredibly successful today. That’s what we mostly do in our platform today. Like we encourage the content creators to do more videos like that. So we can use those videos. Or we can repurpose those videos and put it in front of the customers of the brands. I mean, I said today, we have a Shopify app who help doing that. We also have different, you know, economics and things that we work with between the brand and the content creator to make that path really seamless.
Steffen: Interesting. And that’s one of the trends that you’re currently seeing. Video is kind of the way to go.
Daniel: Yeah, and it’s been there for a while. I mean, what we, what I’m really passionate about now is how you can experiment with different formats of videos. So when people go to the landing page of the brand, they can see different things from these content creators, that it can potentially gain more attention and hopefully create, drive more conversions.
Steffen: Let’s talk about that. What do you see in different type of videos? What is working? What is not working? What, what type of videos? Is it the length? Is it kind of how, how products are displayed? Is it that there’s a specific story to the video?
Daniel: Well, I think it all depends. I mean, what one thing that we do is we have two different metrics, when we do matches between brands and content creators. So the number one, because we are in the fashion industry is a style. The style need to be matched between both of them. I mean, if you’re not, if the content creator doesn’t match the style of the brand, then it doesn’t matter if you are, you know, Steven, or any of the most successful directors of the world, you’re never going to drive any conversion. It needs to match the style.
And the second part is the values. If I am aligned with the values of this brand, and I’m also aligned in the style, not only I’m going to be matching the style, I’m also going to be passionate about talking about this brand. And then you have both things really in sync. So you can create the most powerful video and at the end of the day, that technique almost doesn’t matter at the end of the day is just a matter of creating the right content for the brand. I mean, there’s, as what I’m seeing today is like the less produced, and the more authentic the video is, the better it works.
That’s what I will say is the most successful trend right now. Is not, it’s not really about, you know, what camera am I’m using, because that’s my background. I mean, I’m a video producer, and I shoot videos for a brand, for a streamer from so many other people. And I’m in I’m in shock how all these content creators today, they go through a simple app, and they edit this beautiful video that actually works really well for the brands. And that’s what I’m really passionate about. Discovering all these ways where content creators have the power to do something that is as powerful as a Netflix series.
Steffen: I think that what you just said authenticity is, I mean, I believe one of the most important things, right? If if you don’t like the product, if you are not the one that uses the product, you’re just like, oh, you know, I can make a buck here, it will come through immediately. You know, I mean, when I’m, when I’m going through reels on Instagram, whatever, you can tell the people that really are using this or that our target audience versus the ones that, you know, can you try this, for example? You know, right.
And I have to say what I see a lot is people that really are passionate about it they incorporate those products in the day to day. It’s like, women using a day cream, for example. It’s like, oh, I’m here, I’m preparing my day, and you know, I’m putting on this cream, it’s really great, you know, it kind of provides moisture to my skin etc. And, you know, it kind of merges, the day to day merges with kind of introducing the product. And that makes it, I believe, very successful.
And we have seen here at Symphonic Digital, we’ve seen other results, you know. We used to have a client in the CBD environment that got a guy from one of the baseball clubs to to kind of showcase their products, but you could tell immediately that person had never used it. The production, although it was so bad, it was, we could not use it, because there would have been no way that we move the needle with that video in any direction, you know.
Daniel: Yeah, no, and just going back to one example, as well. We, I recently, one of our content creators, this girl’s, she’s based in Miami, Barbara. She actually mentioned something to me recently that I really enjoy is like, you know, when she approaches integration with brands, she approaches like her real life, right? Because she’s sharing her real life on social media. So anything that will fit my real life, a product that will fit my real life, that will definitely, I will collaborate with this product. If it doesn’t fit my real life, then I won’t do it. You know, because let’s say she’s healthy. And you I don’t know, McDonald’s comes to her and say, hey, can you sponsor? She will say no. Because she was telling me that her life is like a movie, and my movie only feeds certain type of products.
Steffen: So that kind of answers one of the questions I had here written down, which is, you know, how should content creators pitch themselves to be successful in being picked up by brands?
Daniel: Yeah, absolutely. It’s about authenticity. It’s about understanding that your personal brand is as important as a collaboration. Like, I seen a lot of trends now, especially the younger micro influencers and micro content creators. They’re really picky about the brands that they want to work with. They don’t necessarily want to do this for money. Yes, compensation is important and that’s something that we practice all the time we try to avoid doing any gifting collaborations. But when it comes to our collaboration, it needs to be matched by styles and values. And that’s what we learn in both sides that it works really well. And from a content creator perspective, if you were asking me, I mean, really sit down and think about your personal values and see what you really believe in.
And when, whatever you believe, then understand, okay, what products fits the set of values that I have, that I can share with the rest of the world, and people will believe that I really want to use this product. Because ultimately, that’s what is going to help the brand and it’s going to help you as well, because otherwise it’s going to be like the example that you were saying. It’s going to look so bad, that people will say they lose credibility on the content creator and on the brand as well.
Steffen: Yeah, yeah, that makes that makes a lot of sense. Now, you just talked about remuneration. Let’s talk about that. How do brands usually remunerate content creators? Has there been a change there? Is it you know, based on number of sales, based on size of contents, you know, number of content pieces? Can you can you talk about that a little bit, Daniel?
Daniel: Yeah, I think if you separate between UGC and non-UGC collaborators, and what I mean by UGC is user-generated content. If you go to non user-generated content, meaning traditional ones, I would say pay a lot of attention to convert more than percentage of conversion on percentage of engagement rate, instead of followers. That’s why I think I’ve seen now that brands are starting to get used to it more than that, like, you know, it’s not a matter of how many people are reaching, it’s how many of those people are really watching my content. Because otherwise, you know, it doesn’t matter that if I have a million followers, if I don’t have enough engagement rate, then why, you know, you’re not reaching those million followers, you only reaching a specific one that is very low.
So that’s something that I will start out very basic. And that’s that I see brands really getting used to this thing. And then on the UGC side, which is the beauty of doing user-generated content, it’s like you don’t really care about engagement rate, you don’t really care about following, you really care about matching the style and the values of these content creator, that is going to produce content just for you. And you need to have a sense of exclusivity. You need to know that this content creator is really going to do something great. It’s almost like looking at the reel of a director or looking at the reel of an actor. Like okay, I want to see this actor plays a really good scene on this movie that I need.
I’m also I’m almost doing like a casting. It’s not really something for metrics. Because if I had the right video content in front of my customer that is going to drive, that is what is going to drive conversions, not necessarily how many followers or engagement rate they have. And that brings a huge opportunity for a lot of people today that are not even content creators. Because in order for you to build this amount of followers and engagement rate in any of the social media platform, it’s really hard, it takes time.
But in order for you to create the right video for a brand is something that you can do right now. You don’t need the time, you don’t need to waste so much time. You know, waiting for the approval or anything from any of the social media platform is something that you, if you know that you can produce a good video with your phone. Let’s just do it and start teaching yourself to brands.
Steffen: Yeah, so you don’t have to wait to have all the followers that, you know, when you when you see micro influencers or you know, the bigger influencers. You can just as you said, if you have an interesting story, if you represent a specific area that could be interesting to a brand. You can just go to your platform, for example, and just sign up and, you know, see what they’re looking for.
Daniel: Yes. I tell you one example. The other day, we always see this receptionist in one of the, I have a co-working space. That’s where I work. And in one of our co-working spaces in the city, there’s this receptionist, that she has so much style on the way that she dress that I’ve seen her like two or three times. And I one day I approach, her I told her listen, I’m doing this event for New York Fashion Week. I am not crazy. But I think you have the potential to be a UGC creator, and she was like, what is UGC? What is a creator? Whatever, ba ba ba. And she was not even in the industry. I told her why don’t you come to this event, it’s very educational.
And what are we speaking about what UGC is, or maybe you can come and just listen to the thing and let me know if this works for you or not. And she came and now she’s interested and she’s starting to do more. She’s starting to practice, she’s starting to use her phone and everything like that. Because I told her you already have a lot of the work already done. It’s just a matter of learning certain techniques. And now you can become a content creator. I hope a lot of people today that are listening to this podcast, and knows that they have that potential. They can really leverage that potential and start being a content creator without having to wait for any approval from the social media platforms.
Steffen: Yeah, that makes a little sense. Now, how do you measure success with content creators?
Daniel: On the on the UGC, a specific size, which is where we are focusing now, is you measure success by the amount of people who look at the content that you’re putting on the E-commerce platform. For example, when we have the Shopify app that we integrate the content from the content creator in the E-commerce plan. That’s what I always tell brands. You don’t have to wait anymore to get the data from the solutions of Instagram or, or wait to see the data. No, you have the data in your own dashboard. You will see how many people are clicking this video, how many people are going to this page, and you can measure your own success internally in your e-commerce platform. That’s on the UGC side.
If you’re doing non-UGC, which is traditional influencer marketing, you still have to understand that influencer marketing is a top of the funnel strategy. It’s not a driving sales strategy. Because, again, Instagram is not a, is not a sales platform, it’s a content platform. So what you need to really measure there is okay, how many more new visitors I’m bring into my site? How many more new people are looking into my content? That’s what you’re looking at into the success of traditional influencer marketing. Not by measuring sales. If you want to measure sales, go to another strategy. It’s not influencer marketing your direct tactic in order to do that.
Steffen: Yeah. When you think about companies that would benefit from user-generated content and companies that would benefit more for non user generated content? Is it, is it fair to say that obviously, in order to to make user-generated content work, you got to have a certain amount of traffic to your e-commerce platform first, right? I mean, if you are a brand that starts out, right, and you want to gain awareness, and you want to get people to decide to discover your content, or your products better, UGC might not be the right solution.
It probably is better to go on a non-UGC site because you have people that have followers, etc. And then they get exposed to the products. Now, if you already have people come through the site, so there’s a volume there of site visitors, UGC, is a solution that can probably amplify and enhance the visit of people. Is that fair to say?
Daniel: Yes, in part it is correct, what you’re saying. However, there’s one thing too, we never do a non-UGC package at all. Like, because I firmly believe that UGC is useful for brands at any stage. However, what we do is more mixed packages. When we still do some traditional, meaning that let’s say we ask for a content creator to do 10 videos. Out of those 10, we put a certain amount of those videos are going to be posting on their social media feed of that influencer, to drive the traffic to the E-commerce platform. And then when they go to the E-commerce platform they’ll see the content creator again, or in another video format.
So that way, we’re creating almost like a new cycle that hasn’t been before there. So but I would in our particular case, and this is what we firmly believe. I think UGC is important at any stage. But as you’re saying, at the early stages, if you don’t have the traffic, you’re right. I mean, you cannot just do purely UGC, because you don’t have anything coming, anyone coming to your site. Unless you are doing some other strategies that are already top of the funnel that are driving that traffic to your site. And then yes, we can do purely, UGC, because you’re doing just other strategies to bring visitors to your site.
Steffen: Yeah, yeah. Now, before we, before we come to an end, Daniel, what can brands expect from content creators? What can they expect to get from them? You know, what do you see for your platform? You talked about obviously video. You know, different length of videos, different type of content within their video. Can you talk about that a little bit?
Daniel: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I think if you’re a brand today and you’re engaging to do some influencer content creator work, I think you need to understand your content creator very well. Why? Because if you’re relying on, first of all, you need to start the relationship from a from a point of trusting your content creator 100%. If you don’t trust the content creator then don’t work with him or her. Because otherwise it’s going to be, if you start a relationship from that perspective of oh, you know, you should do this, I think this work for me, whatever, I think you should be more like in a little humble and say, okay, this is what I am looking to.
These are my expectations. This is what I’m looking for. What can you do for your audience that works better? Because at the end of the day, that content creator, if they’re posting on their social media platform, they know their audience at some, you know, in some way they’re been posting content a lot. And at that point, they know their audience. I mean, that’s what you need to trust, that they know their audience. And if they know their audience, you should be more like okay, in your, for your audience, if I have this product, what do you think will work best?
I will ask more questions, instead of be on the thing that I want this, I want five reels, I want three photos. I want. Every time I see a brand that comes with demanding things. That’s the beginning of a bad relationship with a content creator, because they don’t understand that the content creators, at the end of the day, you want to give them trust, you want to give them the tools for them to create the magic that you need.
Steffen: It’s a little bit like when you hire an agency for your digital marketing, for example, right? You would expect the agency to come and say, what would you suggest we should do in order to grow awareness, grow our sales. You rely on their expertise to kind of guide you in the right direction. And it’s probably exactly the same thing with content creators, right, based on what you just said.
Steffen: Rely on the expertise. They’ve worked with other clients, they know who they are, what area, they are kind of, you know, playing in, and let them come to you and say, hey, you know what, I think for this, we should do, or I can do A, B, C, D. And then you start from a completely different point than going there and saying, I need this from you.
Daniel: Yeah, and as you’re saying, and you know, at the end of the day, the whole marketing industry is getting very specialized today. Like you know, we’re no longer in the ages of, oh, I want to hire my agency off the record to everything. You know, today, there’s so many different niches and specialties. Like you could hire a specific agency who does, I don’t know marketing digital influencers for fashion industry, which is what we do, you know, for example.
I mean, there’s so many specialized people, specialized agencies, and people in the world that you must just be open and aware to dialogue. And to have conversations with this. I think at the end of the day, the most important thing of good relationship between a content creator and a brand is constant dialogue and feedback between them. You know, A this didn’t work, and being honest on both sides. I mean, sometimes you are experimenting, you are the content creator did something that didn’t work out.
Okay. So this is what happened. This is why, you know, and from a content creator perspective, yeah, I tried this and it didn’t work. But this is a solution I have. Why don’t we try this instead. Maybe I’ll give you a 50% discount, because we already spent this money, you know, and start creating all these different dialogues and compromises on both sides. And I think that’s the best way you can have a healthy relationship between both sides.
Steffen: Well, Daniel. Thank you so much for joining me on the Performance Delivered podcast and sharing your knowledge on user-generated content. If people want to find out more about you, about Bolder, how can they get in touch?
Daniel: Well, personally, I am, my personal handle is @DSNewYorker in almost every social media platform. D S, and then New Yorker, the word, all one word. I’m like that in Instagram, I’m like that in Facebook and Twitter. And then as far as Bolder, you can find me at the-bolder.com. That’s where the website is. And if you today are a content creator, looking to start producing content for a fashion brand, come to us. And if you’re a fashion brand today that still hasn’t found success with influencer marketing, come and talk to us. I mean, we’ll happy to share all the experiences that we have today and learn from each other.
Steffen: Sounds great. Well, thanks everyone for listening. If you liked the Performance Delivered podcast, please subscribe to us or leave us a review on iTunes or your favorite podcast application. If you want to find out more about Symphonic Digital, you can visit us at symphonicdigital.com or follow us on Twitter at Symphonic HQ. Thanks again and see you next time.
Voiceover: Performance Delivered is sponsored by Symphonic Digital. Discover audience focused and data driven digital marketing solutions for small and medium businesses at symphonicdigital.com