Are you a small business owner looking for a way to grow your business? Are you looking to attract more leads to your business, or have heard about social media marketing, and now want to try it?
Trends change and evolve so quickly in contemporary marketing. Just when you thought that the standard model of content creation could not go any further, you realized that it gradually shifted to user generated content (UGC) in the last few years. The reason is very simple: it costs 62% less than traditional marketing but still manages to generate three times more leads.
Modern consumers are picky and they demand a more personalized approach these days. And it couldn’t get more personalized than letting them create content on their own. By definition, user generated content represents any data or media that is contributed by individual users of a website. To cut the long story short, it is any sort of brand-promoting content created by the users themselves.
No wonder that companies love this kind of marketing as they don’t even have to create but only administer content. If you are new to UGC, you can find everything you need to know about it in this article.
- The Power of User Generated Content
The power of UGC lies in its ability to offer consumers exactly what they need. It’s a highly customized method which accumulates the best ideas and designs lucrative campaigns out of it. For instance, user generated videos on YouTube get 10 times more views than content created and uploaded by the actual brand.
This is possible because of the micro-segmentation of audiences: age and gender alone don’t play a decisive role anymore. On the contrary, it is obligatory to learn about the people’s motives, locations, desires, favorite themes, etc. Brands have to target specific groups of potential customers and though it is easy to detect them, it is very difficult to create so comprehensive marketing strategies and address every single group at the same time.
In such circumstances, marketers came up with the best strategy – let the users create content on their own. It proved to be a very productive and elegant solution because it allowed people to express their opinions, ideas, and feelings. To put it simply, user generated content played on the card of users’ emotions:
- Emotional connection
Participating in content creation, users get involved with the brand and form an emotional connection with it. They become a part of something bigger and more important, which boosts their confidence and gives them the feeling of self-fulfillment.
Contemporary consumers spend more than five hours a day watching user-generated content. Bearing this in mind, UGC campaigns give people the opportunity to make a real impact in the online world - and that’s not something that Average Joe gets very often. This is why users take part in content creation adventures so passionately.
- Competitive spirit
Besides the first two elements of user generated content, competitive spirit it another factor that plays a major role in this type of marketing. People just love contests and UGC campaigns give them more than enough reason and incentive to compete: who can think of something better, funnier, crazier, prettier, etc.
- Word of Mouth Marketing
People don’t trust brands but they trust other people. This is called the word of mouth marketing. It generates approximately five times more sales than traditional marketing because 90% of consumers believe in recommendations from their friends. So when you have real people advertising your brand – which is the case with user generated content – it is going to bring you much more profit.
We’ve seen already what the motive for consumers to take part in content creation is but let’s also analyze objectives which companies expect to reach with each UGC campaign.
- Increase awareness
Some of the biggest brands in the world have millions of digital followers. But keeping in mind that Facebook alone gathers more than 2 billion users, they are not even close to reaching a full potential of social networks. With user generated campaigns, users learn about the brand from one another and that’s how brands increase awareness.
- Increase loyalty
Trying to make interesting content, people actually interact with the brand and become loyal consumers along the way. Since loyal customers generate 80% of your profit, it is not surprising to see companies investing more and more time and budget into customer loyalty programs such as UGC marketing.
- Increase sales
Alright, so you see how important loyal customers actually are for the business. However, don’t neglect the influence that user generated content has on acquiring new buyers. Both loyal and new consumers contribute to the profit you make, so this is one more incentive for brands to launch UGC projects.
- How to Design a UGC Campaign
As users generate creative content, the biggest issue for marketers is administration. They need to launch campaigns, source content, make a selection, add annotations, and publish the best items. This is a complex process and it takes a lot of time and patience in its many smaller stages. That’s why I am going to describe how you can design a successful UGC campaign in a few simple steps.
- Do the research
Before you start, you need to do the research and analyze your target audience. Start with your own website and explore the themes they consider most interesting and appealing. This is how you get the first insight into the buyer persona, so you can create your campaign accordingly.
- Identify trends
Website analysis will give you a general overview of the brand and your followers but if you want to make a bigger impact, you need to dig deeper. Stay up to date and try to detect the latest trends in your industry. You can use simple tools like Google Trends to find out what is popular nowadays, where, and why.
- Offer incentives
Small perks, incentives, and giveaways always attract a lot of new followers. Everybody loves getting free stuff and you don’t even have to give like a million dollars or so. A small present and the public acknowledgment will do just fine. But you have to be careful not to promise too much to your followers. If you want a professional-looking content, you can leave it to one of the expert editing services like Best Essays.
- Organize contests
Most of the companies organize contests to promote their brands online. It’s a very cheap activation but it has the potential to go viral and attract thousands of new followers. I already discussed the competitive spirit among digital nomads, so why wouldn’t you give it a try?
- Host events
If you want to connect the real world with the digital campaign (and perhaps spend some extra budget on the side), you can host events and invite people to attend and make comments about it. It’s a matter of prestige and influence: everybody loves to get the public recognition for being present at the big event.
- Interview KOLs
Whether you just want to make an interview for the website or invite them to the event, you should always try to get in touch with some of the key opinion leaders (KOL) in your industry. They are digital influencers with a lot of followers, so your cooperation can only do good for your brand image.
- User generated content examples
If you want to learn more about user generated content, perhaps it is best to analyze campaigns from some of the world’s most successful companies. Just check out the names such as Coca Cola or Nike and you’ll get the point. But here, I will briefly describe two campaigns:
The automobile giant launched a simple but very effective campaign entitled #BMWRepost. The principle is straightforward – just post the photo of your car and make it look great. The target group is not huge but it consists of the proud BMW owners who, of course, enjoy letting the world know that they possess such an outstanding vehicle. And if they take a shot on some beautiful location, they just add value to their images.
- Super Mario Maker
The world-famous Nintendo game thrilled the followers when it announced the project Super Mario Maker. Not only that it allows users to enjoy their favorite game once again but it also gave them the opportunity to design levels on their own using simple coding instructions.
At the same time, some of the biggest fans and most influential players created Youtube videos to brag about their achievements in Super Mario Maker, receiving millions of views within months. Now, what do you say about that?
User generated content is an anchor of contemporary marketing. Companies love it because it brings them more leads and sales with minimum budgets, which is also why you should embrace this type of content creation.
In my article, I explained all of the essentials related to this topic and showed you how to design your own UGC strategy. Feel free to use my tips and let me know in comments if you have any questions or interesting comments.
About the author:
Karen Dikson is a marketing expert and entrepreneur from New Jersey. She is an intuitive and creative thinker who is able to connect various thoughts into a single theme. Karen loves to stay up to date on the latest marketing trends. Her works have been published on HuffPost and other business resources. Connect with Karen on Twitter.