This just in, “everyone is creating content”, and for those of us whose mission it is to grow brands, that is fantastic news. There is a lot of pressure on brands to create engaging content. One of the most effective ways that brands are now using to catapult their brand awareness online is through “User Generated Content” or UGC.
What is UGC you ask?
UGC is simply content about your brand that is created by your customers or fans. Whether that content is photos, videos, product reviews, or testimonials. This is what’s key, it is user generated content.
Brands are now encouraging the public to jump on social platforms such as Twitter, Facebook & Instagram to share their customer experiences.
The Toronto Raptors launched the “We The North” campaign with a huge success.
Coinciding with the first time the team had been into the playoffs in their 20-year franchise history. The timing and execution was perfect.
Fans and supporters of the team were asked to upload their photos and videos with the hashtag #wethenorth to twitter and Instagram. Fans uploaded photos wearing t-shirts, attending games, and even standing outside the stadium in the public viewing area dubbed “Jurassic Park” to show their team pride.
“We the North” created a movement, long before the branding was official for the team, which shows the power and momentum of user generated content.
Social media isn’t the only place that you can use UGC to create engagement between you and your customers. More sophisticated marketers are starting to integrate user-generated content into their email campaigns with great success. Salesforce.com released a study showing that UGC can drive a 73% increase in email click-through rates.
One of the biggest benefits of incorporating consumer content into your email marketing is that it saves you tons of time. Constantly coming up with new topics of your own is now complimented by asking your customers to take the lead in driving creativity and enthusiasm around your brand.
The secret sauce in the popularity of UGC is that it adds human perspective to your product pitch. You gain an incredible amount of street cred when real customers take the lead in telling the masses how fantastic your products or services are.
This approach to using your customers and advocates is authentic. Using this approach as a part of an email marketing campaign, can build a tremendous amount of trust in your brand.
So how can you start integrating UGC into your email marketing? Here are a few ideas to get started right now:
- Come up with a brand-specific hashtag, ask customers to submit via social media, and then feature your favourite responses in your next email.
- In your next newsletter ask subscribers to email photos or stories of their experiences with your products or services, Use these in your next blog post.
- Try to create a brand centric theme for submissions that are tied to an upcoming promotion or event
To give your subscribers an extra push to submit, you can make it a contest, with a fun gift or other prize for the most creative submission.
Regardless of how you go about using UGC in your emails, make sure that you make the effort to get permission from the original creator to use their content. And remember to be clear on how you will be using the content.
Once you get the go-ahead, don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of UGC. Videos or photos may work well for one brand, while testimonials work better for another.
Lets say creating a fresh steam of content is one of the pain points in your marketing strategy, using UGC is essential in contemporary content marketing tactics and would be a great addition until you come up with your next big content idea. Still not sure what steps to take? No worries, it’s what we do. Give us a call and find out how we can implement user generated content into your content marketing tactics.