In today’s digital age of marketing, brands are focusing on User-Generated Content (UGC) campaigns to improve their web performance and increase organic responses. User-Generated Content refers to any form of online content such as a Tweet, Snap, Facebook status, Instagram post, or blog that contain authentic opinions about a service or product as experienced by a non-professional.
Fairly, their choice of marketing strategy is justifiable with all these successful user-generated content campaigns trending in various social media platforms. Whether you’re a startup business building an audience or an existing brand struggling to establish a solid base of loyal customers, developing a marketing strategy that heavily emphasizes user-generated content will benefit your product one way or another.
Understanding UGC: Its Essence and Its Capabilities
Before exploring the internet labyrinth and its mysteries, the first thing you should do as an adaptive marketer is to fully comprehend the value of user-generated content at its very core. If you need any presentation assistance for your brand, there are two things you should consider: a well-planned social marketing strategy backed by a structured social content approach, and a broad knowledge of internet copyrights.
You need to know that user-generated content can build or destroy your brand’s reputation. A recent study shows that user-generated content is in demand – being produced and recommended to social circles at a rapidly increasing rate, especially among the younger generation. As the reach of online platforms has expanded throughout Web 2.0, consumers have been given the freedom to express themselves in a span of seconds. People can post good and bad things about your brand, the quality of your service, and the performance of your product in a short amount of time. However, the most crucial part for any post apart from its authenticity is if the customer will end it with a call to action that recommends you.
Here are two ways user-generated content can keep your brand relevant:
It does brand awareness campaigns for you.
User-generated content is pervasively dominating social media as if it were an epidemic outbreak, which is good. The Nielsen Company conducted a worldwide survey and found that consumers trust word of mouth marketing the most; 90 percent of survey-takers believe recommendations from people they know while 70% put faith in reviews posted by strangers online. Even millennials are said to be obsessed with user-generated content.
All these statistics have one common ground: authentic feedback. Buyers are more likely to get hooked on a brand due to real and trustworthy experiences provided by other users.
A good example is Starbucks’ successful design-a-cup campaign in 2014. The campaign encouraged U.S. and Canada-based customers to design their own Starbucks cup, take a photo of it, and post it online with the hashtag #WhiteCupContest. The winner receives the privilege of having his masterpiece as the official design of Starbucks’s limited edition reusable cup. In four weeks, the campaign received 4,000 entries. Yes, it wasn’t a 5-digit figure but think about it – with each entry, dozens of friends and family members rooted for their participant and constantly shared it through online posts.
Another example would be Marc Jacobs’ #CastMeMarc stunt in which participants posted their best modelling photos/selfies on Twitter and Instagram under said hashtag. Winners were scouted by the company for its 2014 advertising campaign. Within a day, Marc Jacobs received more than 15,000 submissions. Again, each entry had its corresponding supporters based on the participant’s number of followers; each post was linked with a number of likes generated by the connections of the aspiring winner.
Even negative reviews increase your customer database.
Focusing the spotlight on customer reviews makes your brand more authentic. To make your brand more credible in the eyes of your customers, highlight people’s feedback. Old-fashioned marketing strategies would opt to advertise positive responses. However, people would want to see the other side of the coin: negative reviews. There is no perfect product so it’s impossible to evade negative labels from buyers. After all, there is no “one size fits all” brand. Given this reality, it would be better if you admit the flaws of your product or service and make up for it.
Addressing negative feedback does more than elevating your ratings; it makes your customers feel that you are genuine as a seller and that you value customer service. SDI states that 30 percent of customers will return to a brand to see if there were any improvements made regarding their negative feedback.
According to The Retailer Consumer Report, 68 percent of consumers who posted a negative review on a social networking site (after an unpleasant holiday shopping experience) got a response from their corresponding retailers. Unexpectedly, 18 percent of these buyers were converted into loyal customers and bought more than they previously purchased.
User-generated content is a huge game changer in the field of marketing and advertising as it is the driving force that channels the attention of buyers and potential customers to your business. Therefore, it is important to create campaigns that does not only engage people, but also encourages them to spread the word about your brand.
Alter, Joanna. “3 Ways to Grow Your Business with User-Generated Content.” Marketo. June 3, 2016. www.blog.marketo.com/2016/06/3-ways-to-grow-your-business-with-user-generated-content.html
Duggan, Leeann. “Marc Jacobs Casts New Ad On Twitter, Selfie Storm Ensues.” Refinery 29. April 4, 2014. www.refinery29.com/marc-jacobs-instagram-casting
Foong, Louis. “Millennials Love User-Generated Content [Infographic].” Business 2 Community. March 29, 2016. www.business2community.com/infographics/millennials-love-user-generated-content-infographic-01497502
Loechner, Jack. “Retailer Follow Up On Negative Reviews Pays Off.” Research Brief. March 16, 2011. www.mediapost.com/publications/article/146630
MacKinnon, Katherine A. “User Generated content vs. Advertising: Do Consumers Trust the Word of Others Over Advertisers?.” 2012.
MacLeod, Sumari. “Why You Should Launch A User-Generated Content Campaign.” Hootsuite. December 16, 2015. www.blog.hootsuite.com/launch-a-user-generated-content-campaign
Pemberton, Chris. “Fuel Social Marketing with User Generated Content.” Gartner. June 10, 2016.
“Global Advertising Consumers Trust Real Friends and Virtual Strangers The Most.” Nielsen. July 7, 2009. www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2009/global-advertising-consumers-trust-real-friends-and-virtual-strangers-the-most.html
“Meet the #CastMeMarc Winners.” Marc Jacobs. July 3, 2014. www.youtube.com/watch?v=ywg-_kHbJyo
“Starbucks Invites You to Decorate its Iconic White Cup.” Starbucks. April 22, 2014. www.news.starbucks.com/news/starbucks-invites-you-to-decorate-its-iconic-white-cup
Rick Enrico is the CEO and Founder of SlideGenius, a global presentation design agency. He regularly publishes expert presentation tips on the SlideGenius Blog. He currently oversees an experienced team of designers, software developers, and marketing professionals that specialize in creating custom corporate presentations and cloud publishing applications. Connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.