User Generated Content: Your Company’s Best Marketer
Personalized and humanized brands are all the rage these days. Consumers are constantly looking for ways to have meaningful relations with the brands they use and interact with on a daily basis. Brands will do anything to get the audience’s attention amidst the internet clutter and noise. This movement has given way to user generated content (UGC) as a means to provide both desires of the brand and customer.
User Generated Content is any type of content created by third party users such as consumers, social media followers, or fans, usually at little to no cost. It can refer to posts such as pictures, videos, tweets, testimonials, reviews, blog posts, and everything that has to do with promoting the brand.
UGC has been key to several successful online campaigns in the past years. One such example is Coca-Cola’s Share A Coke campaign.
Coca-Cola produced personalized bottles of Coke with names on them, and customers were asked to upload images of themselves with the bottles to social media. The campaign first started in Australia in 2012. Its success was overwhelming that it has since rolled out to more than 50 countries including the Philippines. Coke attributes this campaign to a two percent increase in revenue and Facebook page fan increase by 39% to say the least.
So what makes user generated content effective?
UGC puts customers first
With social media being the premier site for consumers and advertisers alike, there occurs a constant competition between brands to engage the audience. UGC puts the spotlight on the customers and gives them the attention they crave. If brands aren’t catering solely to their customers, then they will simply find another brand that will.
People don’t trust marketers
Consumers now crave stories, connection, and interaction with other people that bring meaning to them. They are active decision makers and they prefer listening to voices that are friendlier and less of in-your-face ads. According to Trustpilot, 62% of online consumers are more likely to do business with a company reading a positive review.
Authenticity in a superficial and power hungry world is hard to come by, most especially online. Consumers prefer to interact with brands that keep it “real” and who share the same values as them. User generated content, as it speaks for itself, is effective as authentic content because it comes directly from human perspectives, not just branded content. At the same time, UGC brings fresh ideas to the table and is able to keep up with trends.
Creates a community
It is well known that people like feeling a part of something. UGC brings people together as they are encouraged to contribute something to the narrative of the ongoing campaign. People are drawn together by their shared experiences and shared emotional connections making it feel like one big happy family.
Lastly, with an online community ready and willing to create up-to-date content for you, it becomes a considerably cheaper option than creating a campaign that might not be on trend by the time it airs. The audience runs the show while marketers stand back and watch the content come in. It’s worth noting that this effort comes unpaid, albeit each person has a different motivation or inspiration why they contributed to the campaign.
Until today, brands are rampantly using UGC as part of their social media content or in junction with promos and contests. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube are some of the most popular platforms for this. Brands are commonly using or reposting pictures personally taken by their fans and posting it on the brand’s public page to further drive engagement. They give credit to the fan’s work for recognition, all the while promoting the brand. Brands like McDonald’s, Jollibee, SM Supermalls, and some brands known to use this strategy.
Photos taken from McDonald’s Twitter page and Jollibee Instagram page
Photo taken from SM Supermalls Facebook page
Big and well-known brands may have an advantage when it comes to generating this type of content due to their established presence and following. However, keep in mind that user generated content can work for all brands with the right planning and strategy. After all, free advertising doesn’t come around easy. The most important thing to remember about UGC is that it’s not always about the brand, customers must come first!