Brief #79: How too much self-promotion can hurt your brand

Welcome to Future of Marketing.

Each week, we send you the most relevant trends, resources, and strategies in social and user-generated content (UGC) from leading marketers and brands around the globe.

Today, we’re discussing:

  • Experimenting with content 
  • Turning employees into influencers
  • #BrandCrush: Invisalign 💘

Experimenting with content  

In 2020, nearly forty-five percent (44.8%) of global internet users used social media to search for brand information – but that doesn’t mean you should plaster your social media profiles with branded content (because too much self-promotion can hurt your brand). 

“Even signing off an otherwise objective blog post or newsletter with a product pitch will bring the content’s credibility level down by twenty-nine percent (29%).”


Instead of always pitching your product or service, aim to add value and find a balance between branded content and community voice. This will help you identify what content performs best (and what truly resonates) before you increase efforts on a certain format. 

Drunk Elephant does this well. Five of the photos shown below are user-generated content and the IGTV video is content created by the brand. 

A screenshot from Drunk Elephant's Instagram showing six product images: five of the photos shown below are user-generated content and the IGTV video is content created by the brand.

For inspiration, marketers in the fashion or beauty industries can post about their history, cultural differences, people who disrupted the norm, and fun facts about how (and where) products are made. Then, marketers can (and should) bring in user-generated content to show customers using (and raving about) their brands. 

TIP: Start with a 50/50 content mix: 50% branded content (i.e. press releases, product updates, blogs) and 50% user-generated content (i.e. customer stories, testimonials, quotes). 

Now, if you want to take it a step further, why not blend in employee-generated content to show who’s behind your brand, too? 

Turning employees into influencers 

Employee social media profiles can get up to ten times (10x) more followers than a brand’s account, eight times (8X) more engagement, and brand messages get reshared twenty-four times (24x) more when distributed by employees versus the brand on social media.

With employee-generated content (aka internal influencers), teams can grow the personal and professional brands of their employees and help boost credibility around a business. For example, as your company adds new products, content, and offers, your employees can help promote them, or educate their audience about a relevant topic. If you need to hire more talent, you can reshare EGC talking about how great it is to work at your company (like this Airbnb employee did here):

A tweet by an Airbnb employee sharing things she learned about picking the right company to work for

As the “Great Resignation” continues to unravel, you want your team to feel like they’re being heard, so try this:  

  1. Make it easy to participate and contribute (tell your team what and how)
  2. Offer meaningful incentives 
  3. Get buy-in beyond just leadership (like an intern who is pumped to be there!)
  4. Celebrate engagement 

Employee advocacy is playing a big role in helping consumers (and talent) trust and build relationships with brands. In fact, over one-third (33%) of employees are already posting content about their company – without any encouragement from the brand. 

Considering over seventy-two percent (72%) of marketers are feeling the pressure of keeping up with content creation and new marketing channels, there’s no better time to leverage content your team (and customers) are already creating. 

What we’re learning

#BrandCrush: Invisalign 

This week, we’re crushing on Invisalign for their recent campaign, #InvisalignSummer – where they asked customers to tag a photo holding their Invisalign case or aligners for a chance to win a $500 gift card… and who doesn’t want $500? 

On their social media, you’ll also spot Invisalign sharing before and after images of customers, which fans are submitting here – or by tagging #InvisalignSmiles on social media. Talk about social proof! 

Invisalign Before and After images of 6 customers

Their website also features a section that blends select user-generated content with press mentions and branded content, and they even have Invisalign experts answering questions on Instagram Stories – which adds yet another layer of credibility.  

Like Invisalign, you can cut production costs, boost trust, and increase conversions by turning your existing customers and team into influencers, and repurposing their content across all your marketing channels… All you need is permission to reshare their content. 😉

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