In a world where we are constantly being over communicated to there is need for content that truly resonates with the consumer. With the rise in use of smartphones, an average person in the UK spends more than a day a week, online according to a landmark report on the impact of the “decade of the smartphone” quoted in the Telegraph.
People are on average online for 24 hours a week, twice as long as 10 years ago, with one in five of all adults spending as much as 40 hours a week on the web constantly consuming content. Now that is some serious content consumption.
All this over- communication is contributing towards tuning our minds to block out the noise. The more we contribute towards this, the more we are tuning out our own customers. Doesn’t sound like good news!
So, how can user-generated content help?
User generated content is content created by users shared across multiple social media and marketing channels. It is created in various formats like images, text, audio and video and is one of the best ways to push customer advocacy. User generated content requires marketers to not only know where their customers are but also which channels they have the most influence on. According to Sprout Social, a popular social media management tool, customers are 75% more likely to share a good experience with a brand. Also more than 70% are likely to buy from a brand that they have had good interaction with. As a result user generated content is refreshingly different and cuts through the marketing noise adding significant value to both brands and customers.
Why does it work?
We are in the times of ‘social advocates’ and tend to trust them more. Simply because they are genuine. We as humans tend to trust the close circle of other humans in our lives and it truly matters what they have to stay about the products and services we use.
Consumers have an innate ability to spot the fake, over-priced, over-endorsed products and rather prefer a true depiction of the value of the product in a real human environment. The key is ‘being genuine’. No catch, no pitches. It is human-to-human. We can see a behavioural shift in the impact that ‘word-of-mouth’ creates and hence the influence of a recommendation cannot be ignored. User generated content gives the reassurance that it will reap the expected outcome, eases any pre-purchase concerns and accelerates buying decisions.
How can user-generated content make an impact?
Brands now understand the need to ‘humanize’ content for it to make an impact in an over-communicated world. Customers are the biggest asset to a brand. Using their stories not only brings authenticity but helps to build ‘trust’. Not to forget the customers themselves feel valued for being part of the brand story. Additionally consumers are increasingly getting better at documenting their brand stories. The accessibility to mobile phones and social media facilitates real feedback, with real pictures of real people. According to Econsultancy 86% of millennials have said that user-generated content (UGC) is a good indicator of the quality of a brand.
How can brands make the most of it?
Like any other marketing campaign always set goals. Do you want to drive more engagement or increase your conversion rates? Is it trust that you want to build or brand awareness? Identifying clear goals allows to take related actions allowing user generated content to work in line with the over all marketing strategy.
Tell them what to share:
As customers get savvy about sharing their experiences via multiple channels it helps to give them a definite direction. Making it clear what type of content is needed goes a long way in aligning user created content with the overall marketing strategy. Clarifying the ‘call to action’ to provide images or reviews or take part in a survey etc. goes a long way in getting accurate content in line with your brand.
Connect and collaborate:
Develop a community and drive engagement via user generated content. Encouraging customers to share their stories brands builds credibility and a sense of collaboration among the users. This will lead to more connections and build a brand image.
As customers continue to share content it is only in the interest of brands to embrace their stories and encourage use of genuine content that demonstrates the true value of their products from their customer’s point of view via honest human conversations.
Go on, let your customers be your best advocates!