What if you could get someone to market your brand for free?
Like, free influencer marketing, basically.
What is that, if not one of the Holy Grails of Digital Marketing?
“User generated content” is marketing parlance for people tweeting about your brand, without being paid or incentivised to do so.
Think of a fashion instagrammer tweeting about a new #Chanel dress. Not because Chanel paid her, or contacted her, or had anything to do with her.
Just because, in her niche, Chanel is a powerful brand that carries a lot of social clout.
It means something.
Name dropping that particular brand says something about that influencer, about the persona they're consciously sculpting through their social media presence.
It says luxury. But not just luxury: class.
Chanel is elegant. Chanel is refined.
Chanel is high quality and costly, but not ostentatious about it.
It's the quiet luxury of the “true rich,” the old money types who don't talk about money.
Compare that to, say, Louis Vuitton or, perhaps more aptly these days, Burberry among the British. (Look it up, it's a fascinating tale of resuscitation of a dying brand, followed by some undesirable brand dilution.)
Anyway, there are some relatively subtle ways to spur users to post about you.
This isn't your typical “influencer marketing” thing where you pay a micro-influencer in cash or free stuff. It's more organic than that.
It’s more effective to have your customers promote your brand than just to have the brand do it to bring new customers in the door.
With UGC, you can turn your best customers into your best advocates.
After all, customer relationships are what help businesses transition from money-making enterprises to sustainable brands.
UGC doesn’t have to replace other forms of marketing, but it can become a powerful weapon in your arsenal.
Here are some of the ways you can improve your content marketing using UGC.
Every e-commerce marketer knows that the conversion rate can fluctuate dramatically depending on the elements featured on the landing page.
Social proof is a key element of a good landing page, especially for visitors who are unfamiliar with your brand.
They need reassurance your product is what the brand claims it to be before making a purchase.
Video reviews are treated as a credible type of social proof because the visitor can hear the reviewer’s voice and assess how that person truly feels about a product. (Text reviews are easier to fake and often less organic than a video review.)
Given people’s inherent preference for stimulating images, coupled with the rise of mobile access, it’s no surprise image-oriented social media channels are surging.
Instagram is an excellent tool brands can use to boost awareness and establish niche authority.
Posting high-quality UGC can skyrocket your Instagram following and help build a community around your brand.
Photo and video contests
Brands have been hosting contests to promote their businesses for centuries.
Contests are effective because they leverage numerous psychological factors.
First, people love receiving something for free.
Contests also leverage the age-old power of scarcity.
People jump at the chance to enter a contest particularly if the prize is unattainable in normal circumstances.
They can envisage the emotional benefits of winning (think about the lotteries in the United States).
While user-recorded phone footage can work well for e-commerce stores, it’s not appropriate for every scenario.
If you’re selling high-ticket items and have a premium brand website, the low-tech version with its poor lighting and other inadequacies won’t match your brand’s voice.
But you still can leverage user-generated content through video.
To get high-quality footage where you can control the scenery and substance, invite your audience to a live event.
You can learn more about how to encourage your biggest fans to post about your brand over at The Content Marketing Institute.