Dubbed as the future of digital marketing, UGC or User-Generated Content is a marketing trend that small and even more established businesses are adopting. This type of marketing got its name because the customers or product “users” are the ones creating and publishing content on their social media accounts or other platforms. The content varies; it can be product reviews and testimonials, before and after photos and the ever viral unboxing videos.
Sounds swell, right? The customers are doing the heavy lifting in advertising and promoting the products and the brand. But if you are a digital marketer, what is left for you to do? Will your clients drop you like a hot potato and just rely on the content of their customers?
How digital marketers could leverage user-generated content
The notion that the customers are already doing the digital marketers’ job is misleading. Before customers or brand loyalists create content for a brand, they should know about the brand first. And how will they know about it if there are no digital marketers (the OG content creators) working 24/7 to create brand awareness?
Digital marketers also still remain the main administrator of the brands’ official social media accounts. They serve as quality checkers and gatekeepers in filtering what of the UGCs can be posted in the brands’ official accounts.
Authentic customer-centric content
Marketing professionals could leverage user-generated content by banking on these promotional activities’ authenticity. Skeptical potential customers would be less dubious about the product’s effectiveness by seeing past clients talking and posting about it. Since consumers are now more discerning about the goods they purchase and are likely to research first before deciding, customer-centric content could help them deduce that the products are worth their money and are not just hyped because of the marketing efforts of an agency.
Digital marketing is not just creating content, posting it on different platforms and channels and watching it rake in likes, comments, and shares. It’s necessary to engage with your audience by responding to their comments and thanking them for their reception to your posts. This takes time, effort and tact especially when dealing with negative reviews and disgruntled customers.
Fortunately, UGC fosters a stronger sense of engagement within your community of followers and brand advocates since they are interacting with the brand on a more personal and intimate level by sharing their love of the products and brands with fellow supporters.
Leveraging this marketing trend does not need a lot of adjustments on current marketing campaigns. In fact, with its flexibility and adaptability it could easily mesh with other marketing plans such as using UGCs on Instagram story highlights, creating challenges, and even in other traditional marketing campaigns such as TV commercials, print billboards, mail advertisements, etc.
How to coax more content from customers
Since user-generated content is an impressive tool in any digital marketer’s arsenal, it’s necessary to know how to encourage customers to spend their time and creativity into creating content that will benefit the brand.
Brands together with their marketing agencies should make it worth their customers’ time by offering prizes, discounts and vouchers or even a simple “shout out” from the brand’s official social media accounts. Whatever incentive it is, make sure it is what the customers want to widen participation.
Establish a brand ambassador program
The brand’s loyal customers would willingly create more content if they are part of an ambassador program. This is also an effective way of encouraging other clients to post about the brand in their accounts.
What does a brand ambassador program entail? This could include offering the ambassadors perks and benefits such as discounts, free shipping, invitation to events when they post about the brand’s products and services. When they have access to these perks, they are more likely to post more about the brand. Just make sure that the ground rules are clear to them and they could not in any way malign the brand or post something that differs from the brand’s persona.
Give credit where credit is due
These contents belong to the customers who created and posted them even if they won a prize for it. Giving them credit is not just being courteous but also showing that the brand has integrity. These credits will also help the content creator’s profile be more well-known and if more customers will see this positive effect of their profile becoming more mainstream after being associated with the brand, it will be easier to ask them for more content.
Consumers and clients are not taking a marketing professional’s word as absolute truth since they are tasked to impact a target audience’s purchasing decision in favor of the client they are representing. The reason why UGC is the future of digital marketing is because customers trust other people’s unbiased opinions, especially those who have purchased the product or availed of the service in the past.
Letting UGC do half of a brand’s marketing activities adds value to the brand since customers will relate more to a brand they can trust and relate to.