By Noha Abou-Hashima
What is user-generated content? If you haven't already guessed it, user-generated content (UGC) is any content created by 'normal' users online. Normal users
involve anyone not part of a marketing team, or a verified brand. Examples of UGC include comments, reviews, user-generated photos, videos, blog posts, and more.
But should you invest in UGC when you have a great marketing team creating content that you pre-approve? Well, if your goal is to have satisfied consumers, then you're probably doing your best to give them what they want. Now, with the ubiquitous popularity of social media, and the global desire for an authentic online experience, consumers expect to have a more personal connection with brands.
If you've already got a marketing team, then you probably have at least one social media account for your business. You also probably use it to share news about your business, generate content that your consumers will find interesting, and use the platform to promote your products. That's all fine and good, but it may be little different than consumers getting all this information from a one-minute TV commercial.
All this to say: If you're going to step into the world of social media, you're going to need to be social.
Naturally, you won't be the first one to capitalize on UGC. In fact, you've likely seen, or even participated, in a marketing campaign that has utilized UGC. Some successful examples include Coca-Cola's 'Share a Coke'
campaign, Starbucks' White Cup Contest
, or Lay's' 'Do Us A Flavour' campaign. Not only did these brands execute highly successful marketing campaigns, but they also proved to their customers that they value their input and loyalty.
To ensure a successful marketing campaign that matches your goals, it will have to be custom-made for your brand and your customers. But perhaps the most important ingredient to having a successful UGC marketing campaign is establishing a personal connection with your consumer base.
Here are 3 ways you can utilize UGC to boost your brand:
Social consumers don't like when a brand is too obvious with promoting its products. To avoid incurring their wrath, make sure you're being authentic - by not mechanically selling a product to a consumer. One way to do this is to encourage social consumers to engage with the product as Starbucks did with their White Cup Contest. Starbucks served drinks in blank, white cups and asked their consumers to design the cup and share a photo of it online with the hashtag #WhiteCupContest. This contest was so popular that Starbucks received nearly 4,000 designs in three weeks. At the end of the contest, Starbucks announced a winner. With this marketing campaign, consumers were given the chance to explore their imagination and share their designs with others online, all the while Starbucks' brand was at the heart of it.