The way marketers advertise their products and services is changing. Consumer trust in glossy corporate advertising has dropped as more and more people look to their social contacts to discover new brands and decide what is best for them.
User-generated content, or UGC, is the most appealing type of marketing to the public. Consumers trust their peers.
This trend has given rise to influencers, who are individuals with video channels, blogs, web sites, Instagram accounts, and other social media networks that are followed by the public.
Content created by the public, however, is not the same as influencer campaigns. With the proven effectiveness of consumer-created material to advertise products and services, incorporating user-generated content into your business plan is a good idea.
Here are five ways to employ material that users create into your content marketing strategy.
1. Run a Contest
Starbucks is an excellent example of this type of campaign. The company markets its annual special holiday beverages by asking the public to post interesting and engaging photos of Starbucks’ seasonal red cups. The prize is a sizeable Starbucks gift card.
This is a great marketing tool, as consumers actually want to participate. And, their creativity makes for an effective word of mouth campaign.
In addition to giving the company lots of publicity, this contest also generates revenue, as consumers must first purchase the red cups.
2. Inspire Users
Coca Cola has a reputation for masterful marketing, and its #ShareACoke campaign was a wildly popular and liked UGC campaign.
Coca Cola cans and bottles were designed to include particular names in the labels. Users loved finding their names or the names of family and friends on Coke bottles and cans and almost automatically posted widely across social media platforms.
This campaign was also a natural for getting celebrities involved by including their names on Coke containers.
For the amount of publicity generated, this campaign was quite cost-effective. An excellent return for minimal output is a huge benefit of successful user-generated content marketing.
3. Encourage Customer Opinions
In general, people replicate others’ actions and decisions to try to behave correctly in any given situation.
People think others know more about how to behave or what is best than they do.
This psychological phenomenon can be used in marketing campaigns by encouraging users to create content in the form of honest reviews.
While this type of consumer-generated content is more unpredictable than other types of marketing campaigns, it can pay off in significant ways.
- Higher Google ranking
- More web site traffic
- Publicize accurate facts about your brand
For this strategy to be successful, you must focus on giving consumers a positive experience. Reviews from loyal, happy customers can get the word out in ways and with a scope that your marketing team might not achieve.
4. Make the Most of Social Media
While influencers are a huge marketing trend, the content generated by users has become even more reliable in consumers’ eyes, because it comes from people just like them who have not been paid or otherwise reimbursed.
Generally, in any given month, 83 percent of people responding to surveys heard about brands first on social media.
Retail web sites and Facebook were the favorite sites for seeking out product information. Take advantage of this by encouraging and including user-generated material on your Facebook pages, such as user reviews, service resources, and product advice.
5. Speak to the Heart
When you speak to issues close to consumers’ hearts, material generated by customers can become one of the most engaging and compelling forms of content you could have in a marketing campaign.
For example, the lingerie retailer Aerie and its hashtag movement #AerieReal focused on helping women feel better about their bodies.
This campaign featured unedited photos of models of various races and body types and women with disabilities and medical problems.
User engagement and positive feelings were and still are high.
Content generated by users has become the most authentic and the most effective type of marketing campaign.
People trust their peers. They scour social media platforms and read customer reviews to learn about brands.
A carefully executed marketing campaign that includes user-generated material can lift your company to the next level.