It’s 2016, and by now, we know two things to be true. One—social media is a firmly fixed part of our day-to-day life. And two—even a well-written post about your product or service can be scrolled right over for a meme of a cat in sunglasses. The latter truth means that many businesses are seeking fresh ways to reach their customers, and are honing in on a method that actually leads people to create content on behalf of a brand. Known as user-generated content (UGC), it’s become one of the most viable approaches to boosting brand awareness and presence in the marketplace.
UGC is consumer-created media that is inspired by a brand. Think of people posting pictures online of their favorite coffee drink. A photo of a caramel latte could be accompanied by a Twitter hashtag (#coffeebreak) or posted to an Instagram album, thus reaching that person’s followers. What you get are organic recommendations for your brand, free of charge. It’s the new wave of word-of-mouth advertising.
A reported 86% of businesses use UGC marketing strategies, and 70% of those businesses see an increase in content generated for their brand. The key is that brand enthusiasts are creating the content for the business, which is actually shown to carry more weight when making purchase decisions. In fact, 70% of consumers prefer peer recommendations on a product or brand to a professionally written piece. It comes off as more genuine. There’s no agenda behind someone who simply wishes to spread the word about something they love.
That’s not to say that brands can’t get the conversation started with consumers. Take T-Mobile for example. In an effort to sway customers away from competitors, they promoted writing “break up” letters to other cell phone carriers on social media. Then they would share their favorites written by consumers looking to make a switch. Over 80,000 breakup letters were posted across social media.
So if you want consumers to listen and learn about your product or new promotion, consider letting them speak for you. Start a conversation, and watch them create unique content that will bring your brand great results.
Until next time,