The best marketing is the marketing you don’t do. This isn’t to say that marketing is useless, of course. However, there’s a difference between paid advertising – which is always going to put your brand in the best possible light – and a truly honest testimonial from a satisfied customer. Those loyal brand advocates will do more for your business than any ad campaign could possibly accomplish.
So, then, how can you maximize this impact? Enter user generated content. As the name suggests, user generated content is composed entirely by your customer base. Instead of traditional advertising, user generated content aims to capture the spirit of what makes your company special.
Think of a Coke on a hot summer day, or an Apple device in the hands of a young tech-savvy influencer. These endorsements cement the stature of a brand in the eyes of a public, and they tell a story about how those products benefit the lives of those that use them. User generated content can do the same for you.
The only problem user generated content poses is that companies basically have to ask consumers to create it. Without a campaign to generate content from your audience, your user generated content will be in short supply. The good news, though, is that it’s quite easy to get this valuable advertising material from your most loyal consumers. You just have to make it worth their while.
The most common form of user generated content is user reviews. You can see these on virtually every commerce website there is, along with review-based sites like Yelp. A raving review from an actual product user can go a long way, especially on sites like Amazon where unknown businesses can quickly gain a following through positive reviews. But most people only submit reviews if a product is really good or really bad. If you want to sway the average person to write a review, you’ll have to entice them. A promo code on a future visit could be just the thing to take an ordinary user into an outspoken supporter of your brand.
Social Media Posts
Social media has taken over the world, and a common form of promotion among larger companies is encouraging people to post pictures of themselves using their products. These promotions are often accompanied by campaign-specific hashtags. The influential power of social media isn’t something to be taken lightly, and if people are willing to post themselves promoting your company on social media, it says a lot about how they feel about your business. But again, people aren’t necessarily going to be eager to do this if there isn’t something in it for them. Offering free products, discounts or recognition via retweets and shares can help to bring people out of their shells.
What’s better than an old-fashioned contest to get people excited about your brand? Encourage your customers to write a story about how your products help them in their everyday lives, or run a contest based around drawing or taking pictures. Offer up a good enough prize for the winner, and you’ll get plenty of enthusiastic supporters willing to throw their hats into the ring. Even those who don’t win the contest will end up giving themselves a timely reminder of just how much your business means to them, which can result in additional revenues for your company.
As the distrust of traditional advertising grows among consumers, user generated content will only become more important. Giving your loyal supporters a voice is perhaps the best thing you can do to ensure the long-term popularity of your brand. To learn more about how user generated content can help your business, contact us today.