Most businesses today have developed online marketing strategies that will help them boost sales and grow. For this kind of investment to pay off, marketers must keep up with trends that are fast becoming mainstream.
The use of user-generated content (UGC) has become increasingly popular in recent years, providing rich rewards for marketers that utilise them. Marketing campaigns that incorporate UGC are reported to have resulted in 29% higher web conversions than those without.
UGC can take different forms including video content, product reviews, blogging, photography, and Wikis. At the core of all this is that it is digital content created by real-world users or fans of a brand. This source of content has helped add a touch of authenticity that appeals strongly to existing and potential customers of businesses.
Hashtags are often used to distinguish and help build hype and a following for campaigns. A good example of how this works is the #MyCalvins campaign run by fashion brand Calvin Klein that invited customers to model their trademark garb and share the images via social media. It resulted in millions of shared images and a big boost in the social following for the brand.
There are different types of marketing metrics that businesses use to gauge how well their marketing campaigns have performed. The selection of metrics that businesses pay attention to will often depend on what goals they set out to achieve with each campaign.
Some of the top marketing metrics businesses tend to focus on include:
- Customer engagement
- Qualified leads
- Customer acquisition cost (CAC)
- Conversion rate
- Net Promoter Score
- Bounce Rate
UGC has the potential to help improve metric performance if the right strategies are applied in their use. Let’s look at some of the best ways businesses can exploit UGC and see a better outcome in their marketing efforts.
Focus On the Most Valuable Social Networks
Different businesses will have different products and services to offer. This also tends to mean their target clientele will vary. There are over 100 social media networking sites.
Before you can even decide on what kind of UGC to incorporate in your social campaigns, you will need to figure out which social media platforms you are most likely to find your target clientele. It makes sense to focus on a few key platforms where there is the highest concentration of customers, rather than spread yourself too thin across so many sites.
For instance, if you are running a fashion business, social platforms with an emphasis on imagery like Instagram and Pinterest should be at the top of your list. Businesses serving professionals will likely find sites like LinkedIn a more viable space to find prospective clients.
Control The Narrative
When deciding to add UGC content to marketing campaigns, marketers need to determine what kind of content they want and use this to guide fans and users of the brand on the calibre of contributions they should make. The better guidance that is provided, the more quality contributions that will be made.
When you have better control over the type of content that will be generated, then you are more likely to achieve your desired target, be it to boost engagement or conversions. For marketers, it is not difficult to extrapolate what kind of content is more likely to help achieve marketing goals.
It is also noteworthy that it is not just about gathering content that will suit your campaign. According to Offerpop, about 50% of consumers want clarity on what kind of UGC to create and share.
Set The Goal of Your UGC Campaign
Whenever a business formulates a marketing campaign, they need to set a goal for it. When using UGC, it will help guide such aspects as what kind of content to guide contributors on, the theme of the hashtag, and more.
In 2013, when Pepsico wanted to crowdsource new ideas for its Lay’s potato chip flavours, it run its “Do Us a Flavour” campaign that invited fans of the brand to invent and submit proposals. The ideas were used to create customised bags of potato chips based on the submitted ideas that participants could then share on social media and have others vote on their favourites. This campaign helped them generate product development ideas and boost customer engagement.
By setting a goal for the UGC campaign, marketers can more easily brainstorm and determine what kind of content they need, what kind of reaction from social users will be elicited and what kind of results they will get.
Support A Cause
Pulling at the heartstrings of your audience is a great way to stimulate their participation. This can often work particularly well where the metrics being targeted have to do with engagement and brand awareness. Campaigns that support causes tend to more easily go viral, boosting such metrics.
Social users will be more interested in contributing to a marketing campaign when they know it will somehow impact positively on a cause. This approach is very helpful when you consider that they would likely be making contributions without getting a financial reward in return. And that 83% of consumers look more favourably on brands that support causes they care about.
The most effective approach lies in choosing causes that align well with the values of your organisation. Having them tie in this way will make the campaign better resonate with your audiences and appear more authentic.
One of the reasons UGC has become popular with marketers is the high return on investment it offers. You can run a campaign and invite contributions without having to financially reward participants. This is a big difference from commercially produced marketing material that can carry a huge price tag. This can often mean favourable results when looking at customer acquisition costs.
However, offering some form of reward can help stimulate even more contributions. The reward does not even have to be financial. Many brands have offered contributors opportunities such as being the first to try a new product or attending an event as an honoured guest. Such rewards often cost brands little monetarily but deliver a high return in terms of boosting visibility, brand awareness, engagement, and other metrics.
Metrics offers a way to measure the performance of a marketing campaign. To boost the outcome of campaigns when using UGC, it helps to first identify what social platforms you will find your desired audience and what kind of goals you want to accomplish. This then helps to determine the kind of content you want to be contributed and offer guidelines that users can use in developing UGC.
To further tempt participation and contributions of UGC, marketers can design campaigns that support causes and offer some reward in return. With these approaches, marketers can stimulate a larger amount of UGC that they can apply to their marketing campaigns and hopefully secure better metrics.
Ruta is Brand Communication Manager at Billo, responsible for everything visual and written. Ruta is passionate about marketing and trends – from trusted to unique ways of building a brand. In her spare time, she is interested in art, literature, and raising her dog Vincent.