For some time now, social media marketing hasn’t just been about creating great content; it’s been about creating great opportunities for content creation. This is because social media audiences don’t just want to see content from brands; they want to see content that comes from the people who work for or engage with those brands.
According to Content Marketing Institute’s 2015 Benchmark, Budgets and Trends report, 48% of B2B companies and 70% of B2C companies leverage user-generated content, or are planning to do so within the next year. So take UGC lightly at your peril.
We Can’t Help It, It’s in Our Nature
So why is user-generated content really taking off? Because as humans, we hate the feeling of being left out. Think about it – when you’re in the street and you notice a crowd of people gathered round something, what do you do? You go over to see what’s going on. The same goes on social media; when users sense there’s something going on (something their connections are part of but they’re not), they want to know what. And when they know what, if it interests them, they want to get involved.
This is why hashtag and selfie campaigns are so popular; they allow social media users to express themselves both as individuals and as part of a collective storytelling initiative that may or may not come with rewards. Indeed, user-generated content is all the more powerful when incorporated into an online contest that provides additional incentives for users to get engaged.
For a great example of how to combine user-generated content and a product launch, check out this initiative from Asus.
That’s it! I Want In
Online consumers don’t want to be sold to; they want to be inspired, entertained and engaged. This is why user-generated content is a highly effective marketing strategy; it allows brands to communicate not through generic pitches, but through the people who actually use their products and services. The result? Stories that relate directly to the brand, but that prioritize consumers’ interests and behavior.
Social media is where users share life experiences through content, photos and videos, as well as the resulting conversations. As a company, leveraging user-generated content therefore makes perfect sense. Why? Because it allows you to engage in a wealth of interaction and content creation that is already taking place, connect directly with your customers and focus your marketing on real-life experiences of your brand.