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User generated content: digital marketing’s best friend

It’s cost effective, it lightens your load and customers seem to prefer it to paid media. We’re talking user generated content (UGC), the latest buzzword in marketing that every business owner should know.
We all know that word of mouth advertising is incredibly powerful. But these days, instead of writing letters to newspapers or chatting over smoke breaks, people are sharing videos, Instagram stories and TripAdvisor reviews. Call it over-sharing or call it marvellous – smart marketers are tapping into this selfie-sharing, hashtag-happy trend that we are seeing all over social media and the web.


Here’s why you should put user generated content to good use in your marketing plan.


It’s overtaking ‘traditional’ advertising

Forbes predicted that influencer marketing would explode, going as far as calling it ‘the most effective form of advertising’. With consumer trust in advertising declining and millennial spending power growing, the smart money is on ‘real people’ to create content. According to a Gartner study, 84% of millennials say that UGC from strangers has some influence on what they buy. Customers are also six times more likely to purchase a product from a web page that includes pictures from social media (Adweek).


It boosts your SEO rankings

From positive reviews of your products or services, to blog links back to your website, UGC can greatly raise your SEO ranking. According to Kissmetrics, 25% of search results for the top 20 largest brands in the world are links to UGC.


It’s more authentic

Did you know that user-generated videos are viewed 10 times more often on YouTube than official brand videos? This goes to show that this type of content will endear you to customers far more than overly branded, subjective content.


Find a way to tap into a human truth like womenswear brand Aerie has done against the unrealistic photoshopped campaigns we usually see in the media. It made a pledge to stop retouching photos of models in its bathing suits, vowing to donate $1 to charity for every Instagram user that posted an unedited photo of themselves using the hashtag #AerieReal.


It increases engagement

People love interacting with stuff on social media and all those likes and comments can increase your visibility online. On Instagram, for example, the more people engage, the higher your position on the platform.


It allows you to get personal

One of the most successful UGC campaigns ever was by personal finance app, Mint, who asked users to share the “moments where their life and finances align”. The best #MyMintMoment stood a chance to win $1,000. The moments shared were incredibly personal and ranged from the simple (someone being able to afford a new dress) to the grandiose (a bucket list holiday).


Ideas on encouraging user generated content
  • Incentivise customers to share a review or testimonial.
  • Make the most of before and after success stories.
  • Incorporate a competition element, e.g. a desirable product or cash prize, either for taking part or for the best photo/video entry.
  • Support a charity – it always pays to appeal to people’s emotions, so if you don’t want to give a prize, then donate to charity.
  • Allow people to shop directly from a social platform. Fashion and homeware brands often invite customers to share the looks they’ve created at home. When you share these, link products back to your e-commerce store to increase sales.


For more advice and inspiration, chat to Kri8it.

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