Consumers spending more money online and more time on social media (more than half of the world’s population uses social media today, a 12.3% year-over-year increase), businesses that want to stay competitive need to understand how their online presence influences people’s behavior. consumers buy and ensure that their marketing tactics take this into account. While many brands have relied on influencers to engage existing and new customers in recent years, some are starting to look to a more affordable, sustainable, and authentic approach to boosting their online brand awareness by leveraging influencer-generated content. users (UGC).
Recent studies of Bazaarvoice show that 56% of social media users now prefer to follow “everyday” social media users, such as friends, family and peers, over traditional influencers. This shift in consumer sentiment has translated into their buying decisions, as more consumers trust products promoted by people who actually use them, as opposed to those attached to an #ad or a # sponsor. As more and more consumers begin to change their behaviors and favor more authentic content, now is the time for marketers to start understanding how to properly use UGC to connect with their communities in new and exciting ways. exciting.
The ability to leverage authentic, brand-approved content at minimal cost
Hiring an advertising agency to create professional content or partnering with an influential celebrity is both time-consuming and expensive. Due to the pandemic’s drastic impact on sales, many brands have had to put costly campaigns on hold, and smaller businesses have had to stop working with high-end influencers altogether. Since most businesses are still trying to make up for lost money over the past year, turning to UGC allows them to source relevant and authentic content in a faster, more cost-effective, and more sustainable way.
Brands can activate their followers through strategies like social media contests or hashtag challenges, provide specific guidelines on the content they seek, and incentivize followers with low-cost rewards like discount codes or free branded gifts they already have on hand. Even smaller businesses, like single-family restaurants, can leverage their community through UGC to grow their business without breaking the bank.
Build lasting relationships with consumers organically
In today’s digital world, there is a growing sense that branded content or advertising is exaggerated or unrealistic. Many consumers, especially those in the younger generations, even have ad blockers in place or avoid sponsored content from influencers altogether. With UGC, brands can connect directly with their followers and turn them into a loyal army of micro-influencers who act as an extension of their business. By inviting consumers to be at the center of your brand voice, you have the opportunity to strengthen the consumer/brand relationship and build brand loyalty.
UGC is also a very effective way to resonate with current and future customers and increase brand awareness by giving consumers a more authentic look at their company’s products and services. Using organic content from real customers allows brands to connect with consumers on a more personal level and deepen their trust in the brand.
Stay ahead with hot topics
Trendjacking has become the digital world’s way for marketers as platforms like TikTok have become more popular. Brands able to jump on trending topics or video ideas are better able to capture consumers’ attention and ultimately increase their voice in the overall market.
For example, the recent TikTok viral trend of #BamaRush has shown marketers that content produced directly from their communities is a rewarding and effective method to gain traction and engage on social media. With UGC, businesses can quickly insert themselves into timely trending conversations and gain visibility with audiences they haven’t been able to reach. Since UGC is easily accessible and quick to produce, brands can jump on these trends much faster than competitors who don’t have a similar program, giving themselves a competitive advantage.
As more consumers continue to move away from traditional digital marketing ads and sponsored social media content, UGC offers marketers the opportunity to maintain relevance and grow their customer base by bringing authenticity to their online presence. UGC isn’t just a cost-effective way to generate content that will resonate better with consumers; it’s also a great way for brands to activate their current communities and cultivate a network of loyal creators.
Adam Dornbusch is founder and CEO of InTribu. He is a senior digital media executive with over 20 years of experience developing content strategies for the world’s biggest brands. Prior to founding EnTribe, Dornbusch spent four years developing GoPro’s groundbreaking community content and awards program (GoPro Awards). Prior to GoPro, Dornbusch licensed citizen journalism in more than 50 countries for Al Gore’s Current TV (acquired for $500 million). He has spent his career building scalable content communities for GoPro, Current TV, Tribeca Film, Starz/Encore, Jaman, Access 360 Media and Ripe Digital. Unable to find suitable CRM solutions for creator communities, he decided to create EnTribe, one of the first SaaS platforms that flips the script on user-generated content (“UGC”) and allows brands to build a network of creators that is driven by the people who use their products.