“Have you tried this product before? Is it good?”. This phrase is no stranger to any one of us. It happens to the best of us – we are ever so dependent on reviews. Not just any reviews, we are talking about authentic reviews or rather, “real life” reviews from not just people we know, but also from people we can trust. When it comes to making buying decisions, we are more likely to trust recommendations from a fellow user than the brand itself. Afterall, which brand would not claim to be “the One”?
The good ol’ “word-of-mouth” is one example of a user-generated content (UGC), hashtagging is another. Essentially, UGC is content created by consumers themselves – as literal as it can be; “User-Generated”. If you don’t already know, UGC is on the rise. Let the statistics speak. According to Neilson’s Global Trust in Advertising Report, 92% of consumers trust earned media, and this includes recommendations from friends and family. Another report from Nielson also indicated that “Word-of-mouth recommendations from family and friends continue to be the most influential source of advertising among consumers in South-east Asia and in Singapore.”. Somewhere further away from home, American Association of Advertising Agencies reported that ads are viewed as opportunistic and out of touch (think overly-exaggerated and hard to relate ones) with a whooping 96% of consumers not trusting them.
Just how important is UGC and why is UGC effective? According to a study by TurnTo Networks, a customer content solutions provider, UGC increases purchase confidence and consumers find such content more interesting as compared to brand content. UGC also encourages consumers to engage with brands, allowing a brand community to be built. It is an effective strategy in the aspect of building deeper emotional connections with your consumers. How so? The magic lies in the fact that UGC gives your consumers the “power” to speak for your brand. It is the sense of belonging your brand provides for the consumers which empowers them to generate content for your brand. With that, it is a channel worth leveraging on without having to throw huge bills into digital marketing. More importantly, it is that emotional connection you share with your consumers that contributes to the brand community. Today’s low levels of trust in traditional advertising suggests that consumers are on the lookout for more genuine and authentic dialogues with the brands and the marketers. Consumers today no longer rely solely on brand content that brands “feed” them. They search for credibility, and they search hard. They ask around, look at what people share, and they keep receipts of hearsays about the brands. These are the UGC that consumers deem “most authentic” and “most probably no lies about”. And therefore, this is why UGC is effective in meeting your brand’s needs – whether it is to increase engagement or to brand build. Find out how Mashwire managed the social media of Singapore Management University (SMU) Admissions to reach out to and connect with prospective students using UGC. In addition, it is worth a note that UGC does play a positive role in boosting Search Engine Optimization (SEO). How so? Sharing UGC on your brand’s social media can drive more organic traffic to your site. By repurposing UGC, it provides an opportunity to expand your brand reach as well as encourage consumers to participate in content generation for your brand!
There are indeed many layers to uncover when it comes to UGC as a marketing strategy. Here are some things to consider should your brand consider UGC as your next step to take:
- Thanks to the developers behind our social media platforms like Instagram, there are many features on the app that help you to transit from textual CTs to Visual CTAs! We all know how much more engaging visuals are as compared to their text counterparts. From static images to GIFs, polling features to open-ended question boxes, users are free to play around and leverage on these features to generate good (visual) CTAs.
- Who doesn’t like to be acknowledged for their (good) works? Not only can repurposing UGC on your Brand’s socials (with the rightful permissions of course!) amplify your brand’s presence, it may also instil that ‘feel good’ factor in the users who generate these content for your brand knowing that the brand they advocate for are resounding their content. It’s a win-win situation!
- We have all heard this: You fail to plan, you plan to fail. This applies even in the context of utilising UGC for your brand. Identify clear objectives and goals for using UGC, whether it is for higher engagement, brand building, or boosting conversion rates. Besides pretty photos and bombastic posts, the goals and objectives behind UGC should bring about content that are useful in helping your consumers make informed buying decisions which can in turn boost your brand identity and create a stronger brand community.