This week we take a look at User Generated Content (UGC) and why it should be squarely on your agenda for 2017.
It’s hard to escape user generated content marketing right now. Ignoring whether Content Marketing should actually be a secular discipline or not, there’s no denying the importance content is playing in most people’s plans and strategies today and for the year ahead and user generated content is where the smart players are operating.
We love content and have been producing rich, emotive, engaging content for our clients years before we became a full service digital agency and someone decided to give it a label. We’ve loved embracing each new level technology has taken content to, getting to the heart of it and how it can benefit our clients’ businesses.
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There’s a lot of buzz around User Generated Content (UGC) at the moment and rightly so. But many brands and even marketers are fearful of UGC and quite frankly, we believe this fear is totally unfounded.
What is UGC
So, let’s start at the beginning, what is UGC. Quite simply, it is content about a brand, company or business that is generated by users, rather than by the brand itself. This can take many forms from opinions and reviews, posts on social media, shared experiences via video and imagery to blog posts, comments and activation experiences.
Why it’s important?
The reason that UGC is causing such stir is the immense power it holds in building brand trust. Word of mouth has always been the most effective marketing tool in the box. Consumers will always trust third party opinions and recommendations above communications directly from a brand, even if the message itself is exactly the same. We are social beings, and being part of a community means sharing experiences and telling stories. It’s in our nature.
With the explosion of technology influencing every aspect of our day to day lives, our communities and story sharing has expanded to match. We can access thoughts and opinions from other people all over the world at the touch of a button. And this is where UGC really comes into its own. UGC supports, encourages and promotes the transformation of consumer from the status of passive audience into active user. Combined with social media platforms, consumers are perfectly placed to express themselves and share information like never before.
Why should brands embrace UGC?
Because UGC is essentially a conversation and if you’re not part of that conversation, how can you influence or benefit from it? Many brands and even seasoned marketing professionals are fearful of UGC, because they see it as losing control over their messaging. But as long as brands create the correct framework for the conversation to take place in, deal openly and honestly with their customers on the public stage and use the correct tools to move users through the experience, then this fear is unjustified. This means UGC needs to feature very early on in setting your marketing strategy and this framework and the tools employed are factored into all your channels and customer touchpoints.
Used correctly, UGC can relieve pressures put on time and budget limited marketing departments, becoming an almost automated content generator and customer communication network all in one.
Great UGC examples
Don’t just take our word for it, here are some examples of great UGC.
We’d love to speak to you about user generated content, give us a call to chat through you thoughts, concerns and ideas on 020 3771 2461, catch us on twitter @DVOagency, or go oldskool and use our contact form here.