How to Leverage User Generated Content in 2017

12th Dec 2016
There’s nothing new about User Generated Content. Brands have been asking their followers to share for years. There are new ways to leverage User Generated Content though. There is no doubt about that. In fact, the Coca Cola company has just done something really exciting. Their ‘This is Ahh’ commercial is made entirely of user generated video clips.
This is certainly taking things in a different direction than common uses of User Generated Content such as posting followers pictures on Instagram or giving them bragging rights for their artistic talent. The question is, how can you take a page from Coca Cola and do something truly unique with user content in 2017.

First Some Stats About User Generated Content

You may be wondering if User Generated Content is worth your time and effort. Well, take a look at a few statistics we pulled from Statista on this very subject:

  • People Are Primed to Sell: More Than Half Already Share Pictures on Social Media
  • Content Sharing Was The Most Popular Social Networking Activity in 2016
  • 945 Million Dollars in YouTube Revenue Was The Result of User Content

Your audience members are already creating and sharing on the internet. Why not leverage that behavior to your advantage?

Remember That it Isn’t Just About Marketing

Many user generated content marketing campaigns are focused on earning shares and creating engagement. In other words, share your content with us, and we will feature it plus we might give you some kind of a prize.

The thing to remember is that there is more than one kind of user content. User content is also product reviews and discussions about your products and services on customer sites. In fact, according to 3Beds user reviews are the second most influential factor when it comes to making online purchase. Even the pictures and videos people share on your newsfeed have more value than simply helping your marketing efforts.

When customers share content with you, they are giving you an opportunity to learn from them:

  • How are the perceiving your products?
  • How are they using your products?
  • How successful have your branding efforts been?
  • What are some common misperceptions or struggles customers are having with your products?

Takeaway: In 2017, perhaps your research and development teams should pay as much attention to user content as your marketing team.

Focus on Creating Deep Engagement

One problem with traditional UGC is that it encourages drive by posting and superficial engagement. People simply answer your call to action by posting, sharing, etc. Instead of focusing on context driven user generated content, create user forums to allow your customers to engage in one another in discussions about how to use your products. Let loyal followers ask questions, then instead of jumping in, let the experts in the community provide their insights and solutions.

The results of doing this will be greater engagement, more traffic into the funnel, and an opportunity for you to identify your true brand ambassadors.

Takeaway: Next year, your focus might be best directed at those who are truly enthusiastic about your products and services.

Match Your Campaign With Your Branding

One content marketing campaign that has done extremely well is LuluLemon’s ‘The Sweat Life’ campaign. This is because they incorporated their branding, active living, into their campaign. Rather than simply telling people to share pictures of themselves wearing their yoga-wear, customers were instructed to share pictures of themselves actually engaging in physical activity.

This lent a certain authenticity and credibility to the campaign and the brand. GoPro is another brand that is very good at creating organic user generated content campaigns as well.

Takeaway: User generated content campaigns are fun. User generated campaigns that make sense and relate to your branding make money.

Make Them Work For it: Then Really Reward Them

Without a doubt, one of the most timeless and successful campaigns has been the Starbucks White Cup Campaign. In fact it might be most influential in the world of content marketing trends. One of the reasons this worked so well is that contestants actually had to leverage their talent and make an effort to produce content. Because of this, people became much more engaged. It’s certainly more interesting to share and consume content that reflects effort and talent. For example, picture giving a recipe contest a bit of an upgrade. Instead of requesting that users share favorite recipes, ask them to submit self-produced videos of themselves preparing those recipes.

By asking your followers to put more into the content they share, you will create more anticipation and excitement. Of course, your followers are going to expect better rewards and recognition for their efforts.

Takeaway: In 2017, raise the bar and your audience just might respond.

2017 is going to be a great  year for user generated content. The trick will be to take a new look at this method of engaging new audiences, find new ways to use the insights you can get from user generated content, and raise the bar both for your business and your audience.

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