One of the most important aspects of running a business is developing a brand and ensuring audience awareness of your brand.
Brand awareness has a direct impact on the growth and profitability of your business. However, brands are not built overnight. They require the successful development and execution of marketing campaigns for building brand awareness over time.
Why does brand awareness matter? Brand awareness matters because consumers are more likely to purchase from companies they trust and recognize.
Before the rise of the internet, media planning agencies ran brand promotions only on traditional channels like radio and television, billboards, and print. Now, with social media and other online channels, businesses have more options for getting their brand in front of their target audience
While using online channels to increase brand awareness is not exactly new, creating content that resonates with your audience is not the easiest thing to do.
Enter user-generated content.
What Is User-Generated Content?
User-generated content (UGC) is any content (wikis, videos, social media mentions, podcasts, slide decks, etc.) about a brand that is created and published by a customer or fan of the business.
As it is experience-driven and honest, user-generated content is known to be the most dependable and authentic form of content when compared to brand-pushed marketing messages. Why? Well, it is the online equivalent of a recommendation made by a friend.
As a result, user-generated content is the most trusted marketing message among consumers, making it an excellent tool for businesses looking to increase brand recognition online. Furthermore, when done correctly, UGC can provide your brand with a large amount of high-quality brand content for next to nothing!
If you work with a marketing company in Dubai (or wherever you’re located), this is something you may want to have them add to your marketing mix.
Why Should Your Brand Care About User-Generated Content?
More than ever before, consumers are making purchasing decisions based on what other customers say about a brand, service, or product. This presents a significant opportunity for companies because active customer participation in any marketing campaign is one way to ensure campaign success.
Essentially, user-generated content gives your business superpowers in the form of unpaid brand advocates. They provide valuable social proof by posting content about their experiences with your brand’s products and services, which then positions your brand favorably in the eyes of your audience.
The tricky part now is capturing your customers’ attention and converting them into enthusiasts who will actively support and promote your brand.
How To Turn Customers Into Brand Advocates
The first step in converting customers into brand advocates is by creating an emotional engagement strategy for your primary audience.
However, in order to do so, you must first understand the segment of your audience that will be creating the content and the larger segment of your customers who will be consuming the content. Which social media platform do they prefer? What is their preferred format for content?
Aside from that, you will need a plan for turning positive customer feedback into measurable business outcomes.
Here are a few strategies that have proven to be effective:
1. Create an Immersive Brand Experience
The interaction your customers have with your brand is the most crucial factor in determining whether they become ardent supporters and word-of-mouth promoters of your brand or its harshest critic.
When you consider that customer service can be an excellent tool for brand differentiation, the impact of consumer experience on brand perception becomes even more important. Furthermore, according to statistics, 55 percent of consumers are willing to pay more for a product or service if the company provides an immersive and customer-focused experience.
2. Offer Exclusivity to Capture Their Interest
Even though it may appear contradictory, exclusivity is a very effective UGC tool. It is that strange feeling of wanting something you can’t have. People prefer exclusive items. They desire what others desire. They want things that show the world that they are part of a select group.
The Ivy Park and Adidas campaign exemplify how exclusivity can be used to generate user-generated content. Following the release of first-look images of the limited edition collection, a small group of famous people was sent boxes of the collection ahead of time.
Reese Witherspoon, Ellen DeGeneres, Kylie Jenner, Janelle Monae, and others took to Instagram to share videos of themselves unboxing the special massive orange box they had received. The flames were lit in an instant.
For weeks, Twitter was awash with commentary on the collection, and Instagram was flooded with videos and images of influencers and celebrities posing with the “big orange box.” When the Ivy Park/Adidas collection debuted, it was reported that everything sold out on the first day, with the exception of some socks, which were sold out by the end of the weekend.
So, what if you don’t have Adidas’ marketing budget or Beyonce’s celebrity status? You can build exclusivity around your service or product by offering exclusive sneak peeks or limited-time offers instead.
If those ideas don’t work for your type of business, consider enlisting the assistance of experts by hiring a marketing company to assist you in developing exclusivity around your business offering.
3. Show Your Customers How Much You Value Them
When a customer does business with you, they should be treated as if they are very important persons (VIPs). This starts with providing exceptional service at every opportunity, from providing helpful support via chat or phone when a problem arises to optimising the user experience on your website through interactive website design and development — whatever it takes.
You can also make your customers feel appreciated by providing special rewards and perks to show that your relationship with them is more than just a means for your business to gain profit.
4. Regularly Update Your Social Media Pages
No, a few posts here and there isn’t going to cut it.
Your most loyal customers are often the most active on your social media profiles, and you must maintain that interaction. Furthermore, social media is an excellent platform for cultivating a unique brand voice and making your brand more approachable to your target audience.
Your brand does not have to be present on every channel. You only need to focus on those used by your target audience.
On each channel, create high-quality, interactive content that encourages your fans to make UGC. Then be proactive about sharing this content. After all, what’s the point of having all this content if you’re not going to share it?
Guidelines for Sharing User-Generated Content
Even if user-generated content is free and targeted at your brand, there are some best practices for sharing it to avoid alienating your followers and customers.
- Always Credit the Content Creator
Giving proper credit to content creators is a meaningful way to recognise their efforts and keep them interested in creating content about your brand. It also makes it simple for your followers and customers to confirm that the content was created by someone other than your company.
Therefore, before you hit the share button, tag the post creators and indicate what portion of the content is theirs.
- Ask for Permission Before Sharing
Re-sharing content without express consent is the easiest way to kill goodwill and irritate some of your most ardent supporters. Yes, even when a past includes your hashtag. It is not uncommon for users to make use of a tag without knowing its connection to your business.
- Provide Something Valuable to Show Your Appreciation
If you want your customers to provide you with user-generated content, you must reward them somehow. This is why conducting social media contests is one of the most effective ways to generate a lot of user-generated content quickly.
However, do not get too caught up in giving out prizes to UGC creators. You will never run out of user-generated content as long as you give content creators credit and share the best contributions on a regular basis.
Use UGC Strategically
User-generated content is a powerful, accessible, and authentic tool for increasing brand awareness. It is important to remember, however, that creating brand awareness through user-generated content is not a “one and done” process.
To keep your audience engaged and creating, you will need to implement new strategies.
Fortunately, when done correctly, using UGC always pays off in terms of increasing brand capital and business profits.