User-generated content is far from the new kid on the block. Way back in 2006, Time Magazine named ‘You’ the Person of the Year, honouring the power that users have. If UGC has been around since before the mid-2000’s, the question is: what is the secret to its success?
What is it?
User-generated content is just that – brand-specific content, generated by users or consumers. Reviews, photos, videos etc can all be part of UGC. Often, the content is attached to personal social media accounts and then re-posted via brand social platforms.
Why is it so successful?
There’s a two pronged answer for that. First up, trust in marketers is plummeting. In 2018, only 48% of people in the United States said they trust businesses, down from 58% in 2017. We’re in a time where fake news is rife and big brands are being exposed for their tricks – take the example of ASOS using bulldog clips to alter their garments and then forgetting to edit it out.
Consumer’s trust in ASOS dwindled with that one tweet from a shopper (it is interesting to note that this is also UGC, just not the kind that the big brands like). Trust is low, so consumers are looking for good, honest brands they can put their trust in.
That’s where UGC comes in. When consumers create the content, it’s authentic. Unless some kind of prize is being offered in return for users posting their own content, users are sharing their posts because they enjoyed the product or service and want their friends to know about it — even with a prize offered, users being willing to post content for a brand speaks volumes to their network. Word of mouth has always been the most powerful referrer but now, instead of sitting around talking to a couple of your mates, the introduction of hashtags means that one social media post can be seen by thousands, if not millions.
Take the small example of restaurants. Anyone can snap a quick picture of their meal and upload it to Instagram, tagging the restaurant in question — not only does that provide the restaurant with a great picture of their product, it also allows potential customers to scan the restaurant’s tag and see the food for themselves before they decide where they’ll eat.
Another great example of UGC working positively is in the way Modcloth encourages their shoppers to upload pictures of them wearing outfits to their Style Gallery. Other shoppers can follow users they enjoy, and shop the looks shown. With fashion looking different on everyone, Modcloth is doing a great job at showing real bodies wearing their clothes and gaining the trust of their consumers.
Lego has also been navigating the UGC space for some time, with their ‘Lego Ideas’ space specifically used by their consumers to upload their own creations, sometimes even inspiring new sets to be made by the company.
At a time when consumers are craving authentic relationships with brands more than ever, creating an easy way for users to create their own content and share their love for certain products is the best way businesses can gain that trust back. It’s the power of word-of-mouth multiplied beyond measurement!
Wondering how you can harness UGC for your own business? Incredible Communications can help. Email us at http://www.incrediblecommunications.com.au/#contact or call 0414 711 107.