Building a Community through User Generated Content

Every day, millions of people on social media like, comment on, and share what they have to say across all platforms. This user generated content can be pivotal in creating an online community within your brand. Rather than a brand promoting itself, user generated content (UGC) consists of pictures, comments, videos, testimonials, blog posts and anything else that involves the consumer promoting a brand. In a world where word-of-mouth has become a most trusted resource, user generated content is a great way to spark a conversation and build your community.

Proven Success:

In the recent years, user generated content has proven to be successful as an innovative marketing strategy. Coca-Cola is a leading brand that recognized their online community and capitalized on it by creating a user generated content marketing campaign. “Share a Coke” was a way for Coca-Cola to make their product about their fans, and what better way to do that than by putting their names right on the cans? This innovative marketing campaign created a personal connection by encouraging consumers to purchase their personalized cans and to share personal moments, selfies, and stories on social media. UGC brought the Coca-Cola audience together and formed an emotional connection between the fans and the product.

Starbucks is another company that turned their consumers into brand advertisers. In 2014, Starbucks launched their White Cup Contest. After seeing pictures of their consumers doodling on their white cups for years, they decided to expand on the idea and turn it into a user generated content campaign. Starbucks encouraged fans to decorate their white cups with their own inspired designs and doodles, and to post the finished product to social media using #WhiteCupContest. The winning design was then printed on a limited edition Starbucks cup. Starbucks put the power in the hands of their community and allowed them to personalize their product.

Build Your Community

By focusing on your existing customers and engaging them in an interactive way, your brand will begin to develop a community. This cost effective marketing strategy not only allows your brand’s consumers to advertise for you, but it also provides a clear image of who your target market truly is by hearing what they have to say. If you’re looking for a way to jumpstart your user generated content, start by encouraging consumers to share reviews, stories, and photos with your brand. Inspire your consumers to generate user content by offering prizes and discounts, because who doesn’t love incentives?

As a brand, it’s in your best interest to use the voice of your customers to your advantage. A study by Smart Brief reports that user generated content is 50% more trusted than other media. People trust the genuine thoughts derived from their peers, and giving consumers a platform on which to interact will build a stronger community for your brand.

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