24 Dec Why User Generated Content?
User Generated Content (UGC) has become such a frequent tool used in marketing. Brands today use it to engage better with their audiences. UGC involves content about your brand that is generated and shared by people. There is no paid engagement in creating such content, and individuals do it out of their own free will because of a genuine interest in your brand. From product or service reviews on blogs, to social media content about your brand, to live streaming unboxing videos, and vlogs about a service experience, user generated content can be used to a brand’s advantage. They can cross-share such earned media to promote their branding.
It can be tempting to simply hop onto the bandwagon of UGC to connect with your target audience. But while integrating UGC in your marketing, it is good to consider your marketing objectives and what you hope to achieve from your marketing efforts. From there, strategise a game plan that is value-adding to your audience. Your audience will not post content about you unless they find something value-adding to them in your brand. Here are some ways that UGC can be used to fulfil different goals.
Make People Believe in Your Brand
Audiences can often be skeptical of brands. Even if they look at your sponsored advertisements and other forms of paid media, they may not completely buy into the idea of purchasing your products and services. They know the reality that brands need to make profits and sell. If we examine the customer journey map, we can see that paid ads can be good for the awareness phase, where customers know that your brand exists because of paid ads. Their next step might be to search for reviews or look at content created by other customers that have used your products and services, to support them in their consideration phase. This is when UGC can come in and bring credibility to your brand. Using Instagram stories is a good way to cross-share positive reviews left by customers on their social media platforms, if they have tagged your brand and given permission for you to post. While posting such media, the brand can also consider setting up a highlights section archiving all these stories or reviews, for easy reference if an interested potential customer wants to see past reviews. This is a possible way of integrating word-of-mouth marketing in your promotional efforts.
Engage with Your Audience
When it comes to audience engagement, UGC is a good way to connect with your audiences, entertain and capture the attention of people that may not necessarily have your brand in their top-of-mind recall. Snickers created a marketing campaign that leveraged on popular meme culture, giving audiences the opportunity to produce entertaining content on their social media platforms to connect with others. Through social media content that audiences could customise and share with their friends together with the campaign hashtag, #EataSnickers, the brand was able to integrate UGC into their marketing campaign to engage a larger pool of audiences. By using a relatable campaign tagline, ‘You’re Not You when You are Hungry’, Snickers was also able to build on their fame with a participative audience. Engaging content is the first step to increasing brand recall in the minds of potential consumers, and it can be done through UGC.
Tap on Your Audience for Ideas
If you are in search of new content that will resonate with your audiences, why not ask them for the answers? Consumers can provide insights to trends that companies may have overlooked, or would not have known of unless marketing research is carried out. Surveys, interviews, and focus groups are good ways to find out more about your target audience, but they can often be time consuming and effortful too. A quick way to understand audiences is to have them suggest and create content for you. For example, brands can ask their audiences to suggest new flavours for their next seasonal line of bakes or a theme for their next line of toys.
LEGO is a prime example of gathering ideas from followers. The brand has a website that listens to the ideas for new product designs of fans and toy enthusiasts. This not only created engagement with LEGO’s existing audience, it also built a loyal following and helped encourage repeat purchase from the idea generators and supporters of the ideas. People were also encouraged to vote for the best idea, with the winner having their design considered by the brand. Having an idea considered by the brand might be a dream come true for avid collectors of LEGO. Passionate as they are, some started their own marketing campaigns to garner the support of their ideas. This brought in a massive influx of new audiences because of content that resonated well with them. With UGC, the brand saves time in idea generation as well.
Build a Community of Loyalists
Having a community of loyal followers creates a sense of inclusivity and belonging among consumers that share the same interests, passion, and values. If consumers believe in the brand values of a company, they are more inclined to participate in any UGC related challenges that the company poses to them. For example, photography challenges are a good way to create engagement and help people passionate in photography to pursue their hobbies. Apple’s Shot on Iphone campaign gives an opportunity for photographers to showcase their skills using their Iphone camera. Selected photos are featured on Apple’s Instagram page and photographers are given the recognition for taking these photos. Such a campaign builds a community of loyal followers that leverage on the brand for their self-actualisation, while promoting the brand’s values of being creative, and provides credibility to the iPhone’s capabilities.
All in all, UGC is a great way to build a following, create engagement, find inspiration for new ideas and provide credibility to your viewers. Depending on the objective that you would like to achieve, UGC can be a useful tool to integrate into your marketing campaigns or marketing efforts.