No content exists in a vacuum - every photo, video, review, etc. you create and share online has some degree of influence on the people interacting with it. This content generated by an individual, rather than a brand, referred to as User-Generated Content (UGC), can be an extremely powerful marketing tool.
Most of us can remember at least one product we loved so much that we couldn’t stop talking about it. Though most are compelled to speak out about a negative experience over a positive one, with the right approach, marketers can achieve great success harnessing the power of user-generated content.
Trust is a Must
Question everything. Nowadays, there are simply too many affiliate ads and phony reviews, articles, etc. out there that it’s sometimes impossible to distinguish between what’s real and what’s not.
Given the high levels of mistrust online, trustworthy referrals are more important now than ever. A recent survey revealed that over 90% of consumers turn to people they know and trust for recommendations before making a purchasing decision. Building trust with your target audience is the first step to breaking through all the noise and distinguishing your brand, product, or service. As a marketer, encourage your customers to share their experience with your brand, whether that be through a direct review, testimonial, or simply telling a friend. Providing your customer with a small incentive to do so may yield impressive results.
BE Authentic B.E. Authentic
There’s a lot more to running a business and representing a brand name than meets the eye. Consumers are increasingly making purchasing decisions based not only on the product and price but what values a brand encompasses. According to a study conducted by Stackla, “92% of marketers believe that the content they generate resonates as authentic, yet 51% of consumers say less than half of brands create authentic content”.
So, why the disconnect? Well, that’s because the majority of content curated by brands firsthand isn’t user-generated! It’s paramount that your marketing conveys authenticity, which is the main driver of customer loyalty. An effective and inexpensive way to do this is by incorporating user-generated content. It’s not surprising that 90% of consumers identified authenticity as a critical factor in deciding which brands they interact with.
Inspire the Desire to Act
Promoting user-generated content to instill inspiration (or even envy) can produce potent results that push consumers to act. “One-upping” the neighbors is a time-honored tradition that drives most consumer behavior. Jon Snow buys a new snow blower, so now Tom Doe has to do the same in order to keep up.
Applying user-generated content to highlight a customer’s satisfaction and glee can be a great way to inspire and possibly create a green-eyed monster in the case of Tom and his new snow blower that he probably didn’t need.
Consumers tend to create the content they seek, which is why it’s important, as a marketer, to have your finger on the pulse at all times. Use social platforms to monitor how your customers do or don’t interact with your brand to identify opportunities or areas of improvement. Are there any similarities or differences? Look at how consumers interact with your brand online as a giant focus group. Gauging what’s working and what isn’t working will allow you, as a marketer, greater insight as to what you should focus on in the future.
Sharing User-Generated Content
If you have helped build a brand large enough that people are actively talking about it online, congratulations on making it this far! It’s important to note, however, that just because there’s an online buzz surrounding your brand, this doesn’t mean that you have full control over the cute dog photo showcasing your product that was posted the other day. Always keep in mind that you should give credit where credit is due. Asking for permission and recognizing the user who generated the piece of content by tagging them and citing exactly what piece of content is being used will likely turn a customer into a lifelong fan. As they say, imitation is the best form of flattery.
Another Day, Another Opportunity
User-Generated Content is paving a new landscape for marketing professionals and there has never been so much content out there that’s ripe for the picking. Leverage the power of UGC to increase brand awareness, drive traffic, and grow your business. Every day presents another opportunity when it comes to expanding your marketing toolbelt.
See how our seasoned team of digital marketing professionals harness the power of user-generated content at Americaneagle.com. Explore our full list of Digital Marketing services to see how we can help your organization expand its digital mindset.