Feb 29 2016 | by HAYLEY YATES
User generated content (UGC) is finally becoming a strand of content marketing that businesses are taking seriously. Content created by the end user, whether that be blog posts, articles, chats, tweets, videos or images, can be an extremely useful resource for businesses that requires little work - so if your business isn’t integrating it into their digital marketing strategy, you may want to reconsider.
Millennials spend over 5 hours each day on average consuming user generated content, which would explain why 25% of search results for the world’s top 20 brands are all user generated content. It’s a great way of sourcing new content for your brand without having to create that content yourself, which eliminates a concern for many businesses asking ‘What do we write about?’
In case that wasn’t enough to convince you, an overwhelming 80% of all web content is user generated content. Why is that important? Because web users trust earned media above other forms of advertising, and are more likely to trust your brand and believe it’s credibility if there are third party testimonials that exist.
There are examples of user generated content almost everywhere you look on the internet. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube are all hugely popular sites built on user generated content models. What is important to note here is that content marketing using these platforms isn’t just about posting content, it’s about the gap that is bridged between brand and consumer. The end user creates, shares and consumes content that is tailored to their specific interests, and there are huge opportunities for businesses to tap into this so that the content created and shared works in their favour.
The basic reason that user generated content is so effective is that it works on a many-to-many scale. The more traditional one-to-many model of advertising has proved to be limited in effectiveness, as we have seen in the various ad blocking updates over the last few months. The build up of content provided by individuals sharing their experiences with your brand leaves a powerful trace for new and potential customers to refer to when deciding whether to interact with your brand.
User generated content can help your business in a number of ways. Your existing and prospective customers can create more stories, more content and more conversation than any marketing or advertising budget could, and the content users create will receive more engagement than brand created content could.
Your business can use social feedback to prove that what you say about your business is in fact true, and if the situation arises where negative feedback is being posted about your brand online, take the opportunity to show prospective customers that you act on the concerns of your current customers. They will be more inclined to interact with your brand and promote positive views about your business if you engage with consumers online.
There are risks associated with engaging with user generated content, as they can impact your brand’s reputation, but the benefits far outweigh the risks if you utilise the content to your advantage, which is why 78% of B2C companies are planning to use UGC in their 2016 marketing strategies.
User generated content can also have a positive impact on your brand’s SEO performance; we’re not just thinking about keywords and links anymore - customer review and social media posts impact how well your brand performs in rankings, especially if your business has the capability of receiving reviews (think TripAdvisor, Google Reviews, Yelp etc.).
Big brands have been experimenting with user generated content for a while now, utilising their fan bases on social media by launching campaigns intended to generate content that they can then go on to use as promotional material and social ‘proof’ of the credibility of their brand.
Versace recently launched their Valentine’s inspired #VersaceSharesLove campaign, launching an app that lets users create images with Versace emojis to share on social media.
Users have been posting their creations with the hashtag #VersaceSharesLove all over social media, and Versace has also launched a capsule collection of t-shirts depicting the reimagined iconic Medusa logo into an emoji for consumers to buy.
In this way, Versace are outreaching their brand and making it accessible to all Android and iOS users, whilst allowing users to generate hype around the brand on social media through images created on the app and is also driving users to their site to buy their limited edition emoji clothing.
Coca Cola recently launched their ‘GIF the feeling’ campaign, asking users to type a word or phrase to describe how drinking Coca Cola makes them feel. Despite their best intentions, Coca Cola’s campaign was turned on it’s head by web users who decided that they would use the GIF to create... less than polite messages about how Coca Cola makes them feel. This is an excellent example of how not to utilise user generated content. You can’t force users to say good things about your brand, and many users can and do see through marketing ploys, taking the opportunity to poke fun at the attempt.
So, as you can see, user generated content based campaigns can be a great way to get people talking about your brand and can provide you with material for case studies, testimonials and access to whole new groups of people each time a new person adds content to your site or platform, but try to influence what your end users are posting about you, and you may receive backlash.
A well thought out user generated content campaign, integrated with your brand’s digital marketing strategy can increase your online presence, drive sales to your ecommerce site and more.
If you would like to find out how AlphaQuad can help, please get in touch.