Cohley is a content generation platform connecting companies with influencers, photographers, and video producers for custom marketing campaigns. Cohley helps brands leverage UGC to increase marketing ROI rather than focusing on paying influencers for a one-time social post that may have little reach or impact.
Cohley’s typical client ranges from disrupter brands like Rhone, Harry’s, and Imperfect Foods to Fortune 500 companies like Unilever and CVS Pharmacy.
About Tom Logan
Tom Logan, Co-founder of Cohley, shares, “In 2016, we [Tom and his Co-Founder, Erik Graber] saw influencer marketing becoming much more of a table stakes central strategy for consumer brands… We saw influencers not necessarily for their “influence,” but for their ability to create high-quality branded content.”
Why is UGC Critical for Brands?
The biggest challenge many brands face when launching a marketing campaign or starting a new social media platform is creating content that will connect with the community. UGC content tackles this issue by providing content from influencers who know the platform and community inside and out.
Tom adds, “If you’re reliant on other people randomly posting on Instagram, you will have real timing issues. If I launch a product, even if I’m Nike, I’m not going to start getting content back for a month. For every day that goes by, we’re losing potential sales because we don’t have a fully optimized product detail page on the actual website. We’re not able to add that peer validation that UGC is so famous for.”
Another big challenge brands face when working with UGC creators is the legalities around usage rights. Cohley’s services streamline this process by securing global rights to UGC content with 100% perpetuity, eliminating unbillable hours spent on negotiations.
Big Challenges & Opportunities in the Influencer Marketing Space
Tom shares that TikTok content is a massive opportunity in the influencer marketing space.
While TikTok isn’t known for its return on ad spend in driving direct clicks to a brand’s website, it is fantastic for creating brand awareness.
He adds that many post-purchase surveys document that consumers were initially inspired to check out the brand by a TikTok they saw, even if that didn’t lead to direct clicks on a brand link originally.
Tom explains, “A lot of the consideration stage or pre-purchase is now being done on TikTok… so rather than just going to the website and reading a bunch of reviews, I’m going to go to TikTok and see it styled. I’m going to get tips on it. I”m going to see those pants in action and then decide I feel good about making this purchase.”
As a result, it’s critical that brands have a presence on TikTok because if consumers search for a brand’s products on TikTok and can’t find it, they will likely click on a competitor’s content with similar products instead.
A massive challenge in the influencer marketing space is measuring the ROI of influencer marketing.
For example, with TikTok, it can be challenging to pinpoint what inspired the initial purchase and how effective an influencer campaign is if the content doesn’t result in high clicks. However, even with lower clicks, the brand awareness created is often worthwhile.
How Do You See the Influencer Marketing Landscape Evolving in the Next Few Years?
Tom predicts that organic reach will continue to decrease year after year, especially as social media platforms optimize their platforms to make more money.
He explains, “With TikTok, it’s a newer platform. They’re still figuring out a lot of their ad tracking, ad targeting, and attribution-type tools, so the organic reach might be a little bit better. But, please believe that in the coming years, that too will become more of a pay-to-play type of model.”
A social media platform can choose to remove a user or change its algorithm at any time, making it more and more critical for brands and influencers to create ways to “own” their audience outside of social media.
For example, building an email list or creating a website allows you to connect with your audience regardless of what Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok decide to change about their platforms.
Tom shares, “If I were an influencer myself, I would be thinking about how I could make myself bulletproof. I would be thinking about what is the unique value that I’m creating for my followers. Why are they following me? How can I create and own more of my content and the distribution of that content?”
Tom recommends not looking at influencer marketing as a silver bullet strategy that will bring immediate success.
Instead, focus on working with a handful of influencers and finding the influencer that connects with people over your product the best.
He adds, “I would say temper expectation. I would say think about how you can leverage these partnerships to not only get the influencer but to gather lots of really high-quality branded content that you can incorporate into your website, social presence, and your paid strategy.”
Finding UGC Influencers
So, how does Cohely identify the right influencers for its platform?
The Cohely team starts by vetting the influencers – Do they have a strong engagement rate? Is their audience real? What is their ethos, and does it match the clients Cohely works with?
Some Cohely influencers are very small but may offer fantastic photography services, so the size of a following isn’t a huge factor when vetting UGC influencers.
As for what KPIs brands should focus on, Tom advises focusing on what your influencer marketing campaign is doing for sales. Metrics like engagement rate are important, but most brands won’t be thrilled if they’re not driving sales.
He also predicts that UGC influencers will continue to become increasingly popular with brands because the amount of content needed to keep up on social media is massive.
He concludes, “I think user-generated content in any form is the best way to go about telling that story.”