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When it comes to small brands, there seems to never be enough time to generate enough social media content. Many times they are caught in a situation where they have a handful of people, wearing many hats, and hustling to keep things moving and revenue growing.
When this happens, the most important things are the things that revolve around customers and their needs. The things that become the least important are all the other things. Marketing is generally one of those things. The good news there is a way around this. By using user generated content you can buy yourself some time, add credibility to your brand and move the needle.
What Is User Generated Content?
User Generated Content is content that has been created and put out there by your fans about your brand. It can refer to pictures, videos, testimonials, tweets, blog posts, and everything in between and is the act of users promoting a brand rather than the brand itself.
I know the term “User Generated Content” probably just sounds to you like another bullshit marketing buzzword that is the new “latest and greatest thing” fad, but that’s not the case. User generated content is really taking over. If you need an example as proof, just think of the ALS ice bucket challenge.
Why User Generated Content Is So Successful And Why You Need It
Brands are turning to their audiences to share their products online and showcasing that content, in lieu of creating their own ads for a few main reasons.
User Generated Content Puts Customers Front and Center
Customer-orientated businesses are on the rise (Think Gary Vaynerchuk and his book “The Thank You Economy”), In this fast-paced, new media world, people have the attention-spans of mosquitos can be drawn away in a matter of seconds by the next “shiny interesting toy”. If brands aren’t customer-centric these days, their customers will simply find another brand that is.
Authenticity has become everything and brands that use social media as a sales pitch, or even worse are dishonest or try to “fake it till they make it”, consumers will smell it and repel from that brand.
People Don’t Trust Marketers
Unfortunately, because there are so many brands out there that are still trying to market their business with nothing more than sales tactics, the publics general perception of marketers is pretty poor.
Consumers don’t want pushy sales tactics. They want value. They crave making a connection with brands, and they want interaction with the brand.
User generated content helps satisfy this craving and gets people interested
User Generated Content Is Authentic
According to a survey run by Cohn & Wolfe, Nearly nine out of 10 consumers are willing to take action to reward a brand for its authenticity, including 52 percent who would recommend the brand to others and 49 percent who would pledge loyalty to the brand.
Customers are no longer the passive consumers led by TV commercials, radio ads and billboards. Instead, they’re active researchers and deciders of their own fate and want a say in who they do and don’t do business with.
They opt for brands that have the same values as them, brands that they can connect with on a human level, and brands that “get them”.
User Generated Content Creates Community
User generated content brings audiences together. It brings people together because they like to feel like they are a part of something that is larger than themselves. I’ve written about this in a previous article, but things like Membership, exclusivity and shared emotional connections all lead people to adopt a feeling of community.
User Generated Content Is Cost Effective
User generated content is all about your customers creating the content. You, of course, don’t pay them for this content. They are willing to supply it for you, for a number of reasons. It could be to share their experience, build a connection with like-minded people, or to be in with a chance of winning something (Not to drop Gary Vaynerchuk’s name again, but think about his 1-minute club he used to run on Instagram).
As I’m sure you can imagine, user generated content is considerably cheaper than forking out thousands of dollars every month for ad creative and ad spend.
The beauty of user generated content is that the users run the show, and you can save money on campaigns that may or may not perform well.
User Generated Content Marketing Compared To Traditional Marketing
Consumers are way different when it comes to how they absorb media and what their thoughts about advertising are. They’re now more active in the decisions they make, do more research online and listen to others they respect to decide who they choose to buy from and engage with.
Additionally, consumers are actively choosing to bypass ads (seriously. You have Netflix and Hulu, right? When is the last time you actually watched a TV ad?). The social proof factor of user generated content (seeing someone they know or respect speak positively about your brand online) makes it more likely they will click through your ad or site and absorb your content and possibly do business with you.
If this isn’t a strong case for user generated content, I really don’t know what is.
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