If you haven’t tapped in to the power of user generated content, it’s time to revise your marketing plan. Similarly, if you have a strong social media community and haven’t leveraged the pool of content they're creating for you, it’s time to revise your marketing plan.
User generated content, or UGC, has become a staple of content marketing in recent years, and for good reason. There are some serious benefits to making your community a part of your brand. What might they be, you ask? Well, just read on.
Consumers are now active and engaged community members.
Gone are the days when a company could simply disseminate their chosen message to a passive audience. Consumers are now active and engaged community members. They choose the brands they will engage with and place high value on social proof.
Using UGC to market your product not only strengthens your community, it also places your social proof front and centre. Millennials, in particular, have a healthy cynicism for traditional brand messages. UGC positions your product in a context your customers are familiar with, building trust in your brand and relatability to your product.
They become something much more than just consumers.
Increasing brand engagement
Placing the focus on your customers is a brilliant way to get them to engage with your brand on a personal level.
When customers are actively contributing to your brand identity it creates a feeling of influence, a give and take with your brand, and they become something much more than just consumers. Employing user generated content creates an authenticity you’d be hard pressed to create on your own.
That’s content you no longer have to think up, research, and publish.
Building a community through social media is time consuming, but once you have an active group of users, they can reduce the workload in other areas of your business, namely content creation.
If you’re utilising your UGC, that’s content you no longer have to think up, research, and publish. You might also find that your social community starts helping each other out with questions about your products and your customer service enquiries shift away from small but time-consuming questions, to more specialised enquiries such as shipping or returns policies.
It can come as a bit of a surprise when your customers start taking up some of your workload for you, but it’s a nice one!
Building UGC into your brand empowers your audience to share more about themselves as individuals.
Giving you insights
Social media is amazing in that businesses are able to have casual, personal conversations with their customers every day. It’s a tremendous market research tool that businesses everywhere should feel so lucky to have.
Building UGC into your brand empowers your audience to share more about themselves as individuals, and as a community. You, in turn, receive a greater depth of insight into their lives and how your product can be a part of that. With the insights you gain from your community, you can also use targeted strategies to re-engage your audience and inspire them to create more content.
Gathering content from your community is relatively simple. If you’re wondering how you can encourage your customers to start creating content for you there are a few things to keep in mind.
- Make it easy for them to generate. No convoluted pathways and rules they have to follow
- Inspire creativity rather than asking for content
- Choose your platform and go for content that works to its strengths; and
- Be authentic.
Make your customers a part of your brand and you’ll never look back.
Aja is Sydney-based writer and serial entrepreneur. She regularly writes about small business, entrepreneurship, and health and wellbeing. Her latest entrepreneurial adventure is yeahmama.co.