David Shadpour, Social Native: Why Brands Should Focus on Creating Authentic Content

David Shadpour, Social Native: Why Brands Should Focus on Creating Authentic Content

The founder and CEO of Social Native encourages brands around the world to build an army of creators and embrace user-generated content.

For anyone who doesn’t know about Social Native, what is the company all about?

just a name Social Native, has some depth. In the early days of print, you would hire a big agency, they would do a photo shoot and they would print it for you and put it in the magazine.

Then television came along and you had to do sight and sound. You hire a big agency and they do a big television production and go on TV. But, for the most part, it was all very high production value. And, over time, eyeballs began to move away from TV and onto social media. And social networks didn’t have much production value. When it comes to editorial content, the newspapers had high production values ​​and had good advertising content.

Television had high production value content there, but social media was just user-generated content (UGC). It was just recorded with very low production value. And so the idea behind Social Native is to create native content for the social generation – those individuals who are more used to consuming UGC.

A simple case, to give you perspective, as a kid I used to sneak out in the morning to watch cartoons on TV. My kids now sneak off to watch YouTube and watch other kids play with toys. It’s just the second generation.

I’ve heard the company described as the Uber of content. Why would anyone describe it that way?

The reason is now, going back to this concept of Social Native and the idea, the way we went about solving the problem was not a traditional agency model. With traditional agency models, you’d hire a bunch of people in-house and build a production studio that would, say, make content in the style of users with iPhones or whatever. But that’s not what we did.

We took an approach like Uber or Airbnb. We have taken a market building approach. So we don’t actually make any content on Social Native. We do not own cameras, video cameras or editing tools. We use the market. On the one hand, we have millions of creators who are talented in making TikTok videos and Twitter images or YouTube videos, whatever it is. And on the other hand, we have hundreds of the biggest brands in the world looking to source that kind of social data.

What has the company been up to recently?

As a function of the success we’ve seen in content creation from Social Native creators, we’ve leaned on a secondary source of content, which is user content. This means you have clients going out and organically creating content for you. There has to be a way to access that content and get the rights so brands can use it.

For example, you and I have a shirt that we really like and we go on social media. I say “I really like this shirt” and tag the brand, or whatever it is – that’s pretty valuable. So now we’re in the business of finding content for users and our customers to use while hiring freelancers like influencers and creators to go out and create content.

I heard you made a few acquisitions earlier this year. How will they affect what you can offer your customers?

Absolutely. We have two acquisitions ahead of us and we hope there will be many more to come. The first acquisition we made was with Olapic, and Olapic is what empowered us to gain access to user content. It has also empowered us to get our widget listed on various major e-commerce sites so we can display a gallery of great content. So, in addition to creating content for ads, we now have a source of great content that lives on product pages.

When you go to buy this shirt, you’ll see Social Native user-generated content in a carousel below the product with a white background. The purchase of Influence.co was more than just a benefit we added to our library to increase the number of creators and influencers in our marketplace.

Social Native has become a TikTok marketing partner. What is the thinking behind that partnership?

TikTok is a great example of a platform that takes full advantage of sight and sound. Founded as video, they are also a good example of a platform that takes full advantage of the full-screen vertical video experience.

And I don’t need to tell you that the next generation adopted it by leaps and bounds. The amount of content consumed on their platform is greater than the content consumed on Netflix. So in terms of an eye-opening experience, because we’re in the business of making Social Native content, and a lot of brands are looking for different ways to make content for TikTok, that’s what led us to become a TikTok partner. And a big part of the value of our company is our ability to make great TikTok videos in our market. And, just to clarify, we don’t make any TikTok videos. Our platform allows you to activate different people in our market to make TikTok videos.

In order to sell to the future consumer, brands must learn how to talk to the future consumer. How can they do that?

That’s a fair point. When a prospective consumer watches more TikTok videos than production television, what does that tell you? So if you go out and start making production-quality content, you try to talk to them on that platform, because they’re there.

If it is not native to the platform in any way. It will come off as inauthentic and very likely won’t resonate. So ultimately, as a brand, all you’re really doing is evolving the way you communicate in function of the way the next generation communicates with each other. That’s really all. And so when you’re developing your brand, because the world around us is evolving, sometimes that involves developing more than just a content distribution strategy. This includes changing the content you create in the first place.

In what ways do you think the creator economy is disrupting traditional branded content advertising?

I would look at each creator as their own production agency. Yesterday there was x number – I don’t know the number – of traditional agencies that spent multi-billion dollars globally. It’s now democratized for millions of people who are able to make great quality videos without an entire production team behind them. That’s how they disrupt it.

To what extent do you think the creator economy is the future of brand engagement?

I would argue that the creators are the future publishers. So we grew up in a world where publications were really noteworthy. The television channels were extremely noteworthy, and there were only so many of them. But creators quickly became that new source of authority, for better or worse. This is the future and I encourage all brands to build an army of creators to serve as endorsers or validators of their new products and business.

Do you think data is the key ingredient that feeds AI and ultimately delivers results?

When you use an agency, what is their merit? Their merit is generally winning some kind of Cannes-type award – the award they won for a great creative. But ultimately, a brand’s primary goal is to drive sales or drive some form of value to its business.

And, at this point, there’s not necessarily a direct correlation with creative and sales a lot of the time. If you talk to brands, they play roulette. They throw out some creativity and it sticks or it doesn’t. If not, they find another agency, hire another. Many brands go for burn and churn.

So the idea of ​​bringing data into the narrative is when you activate a large number of people in the creative economy to create content for you, you have a very cost-effective way to create large volumes, which didn’t exist before. Now you can feed that content into your ads. And today, online is a very effective way to buy advertising compared to TV and print. And you can track and trace what value your brand is showing. So in a few moments you can turn creative on and off depending on how it’s delivered to you. I bring this up because the future of creative business is truly creative performance.

Can we find out what qualitative attributes of creative drive your brand value? So, in theory, let’s say I wanted to sell you a shirt. I have to play an ad. Which ad resonates with you right now? I do not know. That’s kind of a general statement that I’m yet to find out about everyone. But it’s very likely that the ad that resonates with you may be different than the one that resonates with me.

So being able to create a lot of content and use data to serve this ad to this group or serve this ad to that group will really help brands get the maximum value, and that’s called personalization. So as we develop creative performance and data, over time we’ll be able to really personalize it.

What plans does the company have for the coming year?

What I can tell you is, generally speaking, if you surround yourself with good people and have a really positive mindset, you can manifest a beautiful future. And I really make a living from it. And I believe that for this organization as well. So a big part of my job is bringing together some of the best people and positive attitudes to build and manifest the future.

What is the future of this product in this category? It is very likely, like many other economies, that the economy will continue to grow. And, ultimately, there will be some form of consolidation with these industries over time, because there are a lot of players in the space. And, eventually, they will be owned by some of the giants. That’s my theory.

So, over time, some of the larger tech companies that are now noticing that the creator economy has a very big opportunity will start consolidating and buying companies in the space to own a larger market share.

Are you interested in the world’s leading brands personally discussing such topics? Learn more about World Digital Marketing Forum (#DMWF) Europe, London, North America and Singapore.

Tags: content, the creator, user generated content

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