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When it comes to making buying decisions, who are you more likely to trust: a brand or a fellow buyer who uses the product? We’re more likely to trust the recommendations of friends and family than brands when it comes to making buying decisions — at least, that’s the concept behind user-generated content.
User-generated content, or UGC, is any type of content that is created and posted by users and consumers about a brand or product. UGC is free and depends entirely on the user promoting content on their social media and other online platforms. It is an effective strategy to build deeper emotional connections with your audience. As reported by AdWeek, 85% of users say visual UGC is more influential in their decisions than brand-generated photos or videos.
If you want to leverage UGC in your business, there are a few key ingredients to include. For example:
• Be original and authentic.
• Share content created by a variety of users.
• Give your audience a sense of participating in a larger purpose or community.
• Make it memorable and entertaining.
In my industry, I have seen that UGC is increasingly becoming a common theme for brands and businesses to connect with users in a fun, engaging and trustworthy way. Here are some tips and examples for doing user-generated content right in 2019:
Host a UGC contest.
One of the best ways to inspire users to share content on your behalf is to incentivize them. The most successful campaigns give something of value to their users, such as a prize. For example, offer one of your products as a prize giveaway.
However, don’t get too focused on rewarding your followers with cash or material gifts. A survey of 400 consumers found that only 32% of people created and shared UGC because they wanted to win a prize. Instead, 60% preferred to share UGC because it allowed them to get more likes or to have their content featured by a popular brand.
Canon is a good example of this. The company hosts frequent campaigns asking its beloved camera users to post their best pictures. They can submit photos using social media hashtags and Canon posts the winners on its Instagram page, which encourages them to reshare their posts with friends and family.
Leverage user data.
Your followers are extremely important to your UGC campaign. Tap into social listening to gain insights on keywords, hashtags and customer experiences relevant to your brand. Once you’ve identified potential content for your campaign, reach out to the users who posted it and ask them if they would like to participate.
Sending an email or a direct message on Instagram or Facebook works well to get in touch with users, and always remember to obtain user permission before sharing photos that are not owned by you or your brand.
In 2016, Spotify made an impact on billboards and advertising space across the U.S., U.K., Germany and France. The company leveraged its user data and created a campaign based on its users’ habits and behaviors. These weren’t just fun facts, but the weird and funniest things its users did on its platform. The success of the campaign led Spotify to continue to use this style over the next few years.
Make it share-worthy.
Creating high-quality content is one thing, but it means nothing if no one is sharing or engaging. As users browse their feeds, what can you do to encourage them to click the share button?
In 2011, Coca-Cola’s marketing team in Australia came up with a clever campaign, “Share a Coke.” Coca-Cola printed 150 popular names on its bottles and asked consumers to “share.” The campaign was a huge success. When the bottles hit the shelves, their consumers were quick to buy ‘em up and snap pictures to share online. The campaign was then run in 80 other countries with the same success.
When launching your UGC campaign, create a branded hashtag for users to include with their social media posts. Also, provide a clear call to action that directly asks users to share. It sounds simple, but a few words can encourage those who stop to enjoy your content to participate in the fun.
Turn customer passions into content.
People are using social media to express who they are, connect with others and follow their favorite brands. When it comes to your audience, tap into their passions, interests and pastimes to discover what type of content they share, where they share it and how often they share.
You can use Facebook Audience Insights to gain insights on user activity based on demographics, page likes, location and language, Facebook usage and purchase activity. Try monitoring keywords on Twitter, following hashtags on Instagram and joining discussions on LinkedIn as well. With this information, you can tap into current trends and create a UGC campaign that sincerely speaks to your audience.
Copa90, a soccer media company, partnered with Snapchat to kick off an exciting campaign to engage die-hard soccer fans. They started publishing stories in various languages all across the globe. The stories contained pictures of passionate fans performing soccer moves and watching the game. It provided users with match updates and powerful content that connected with users who were following their favorite teams.
Here’s another example: Try searching #GoPro on Facebook or Instagram. What do you find? Millions of user-generated posts. Loyal customers have been loading their content online using the dedicated #GoPro hashtag. It’s another consumer-focused trend that organically turns customers’ passions and pastimes into new content promoting the brand.
What will your UGC campaign be?
Will you be this year’s trending brand with a brilliant idea that engages millions of users online? If you’re authentic, original and inspiring, the possibility for your users to become your personal ambassadors, for free, could be a hashtag or a social share away.
April 16, 2019 at 10:35AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs