User-Generated Content: A New Marketing Channel
Regardless of where you look, the content has always been a driving force behind selling. Whether it is a large company distributing products to the masses, or an individual trying to convince a friend that they should eat out for the fifth time this week, the core theme remains the same.
Selling is not about the product or service being offered, it is about highlighting the need and controlling the perception.
Do I need this? Can I use this? Is this worth it?
These are all questions that rotate through our minds as we ponder a purchase decision. Even if none of the criteria is satisfied, sometimes we still make the purchase and this is where marketing comes into play.
In recent times, even traditional marketing practices have been experiencing diminished results, but one movement that has been excelling is user-generated content.
With the social success that people have achieved through documenting their lives, it is no surprise that brands have jumped on the bandwagon, initialising campaigns that encourage consumers to share their experiences with different products, services, locations and much more!
Here are some positive examples:
Nintendo – Super Mario Maker
Putting a twist on a classic title, this campaign targeted the gaming community by encouraging players to get creative in designing levels that others could try and overcome.
Naturally, video content was uploaded to YouTube of various players trying to conquer the ridiculous level designs. This is an example of how even an actual product change can promote content sharing from customers.
Coca-Cola – Share a Coke
Who could forget this long-running campaign that originated in Australia? Focusing on something that everybody has (a name), this campaign resulted in people trying to get their hands on a customised bottle of coke that they could share on social media.
What are the advantages of user-generated content?
- Through utilising customers to generate content, brands can leverage their friends and followers through a more personalised channel.
- Spreading the load decreases budget pressure
- Giving customers creative freedom allows them to put their twist on your campaign, which helps it reach a wider audience.
Considering that when it comes to the top global brands, approximately 25% of all search results can be attributed to user-generated content, it is no surprise that everyone is getting on board.
The growth has been so significant that the online world is now overrun by individuals who share their content for a living. Dubbed ‘influencers’, these people have been able to establish a robust online following in one way or another, which makes their posts more valuable than your average joe.
Regardless of if they are labelled an influencer or not, interacting with users and inviting them to share content enables brands to embed themselves in the ensuing culture, even if the content goes beyond the parameters initially set for the campaign.
Ultimately, customers should not only be viewed as potential targets for purchase, but also promoters that can help recruit others. Finding ways of enticing them to get involved is where the true challenge lies…