This week I attended AMAKC’s Multimedia Bits & Bites Series at the Cerner Innovation Campus. During one of the sessions we discussed one of the best ways to create good content: inviting your customers to create the content for your brand. In the marketing world this method is called user generated content or UGC, and it’s creating big returns for many companies, especially in the food and beverage industry.
User generated content is any form of content such as video, blogs, digital images, discussion posts, audio files, and other forms of media created by consumers of a service or product that is publicly available to other users, often via social media sites. If your company is not already utilizing UGC you should seriously consider adding it.
People of all generations trust opinions from consumers more than what brands say about themselves. According to a survey by The Center for Generational Kinetics, 51% of Americans trust UGC more than other information on a company website (16%) or news articles about the company (14%) when looking for information about a brand, product, or service. UGC is 35% more memorable than other media and 50% more trusted than other media.
User generated content is also a great way for companies and brands to save time, money and boost quality of their content. If the same person is creating content they tend to re-hash the same thing time and time again. UGC keeps your content fresh. It’s better to create a small amount of quality content than to create large amounts of bad content.
Here are 4 examples of user generated content campaigns that were well executed:
In 2014, ALS started the Ice Bucket Challenge to help raise money for ALS research for a cure. It quickly became an Internet and social media sensation across the globe. It was for a good cause, funny to watch and participate in, and it connected people of all walks of life, even celebrities. Each person who participated in the challenge donated money to ALS research and nominated 3 other people to the challenge, creating a domino effect. ALS.net received $4 million from the Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014. Globally, $220 million were raised, so it’s fair to say that this was an extremely successful user generated content campaign.
Initially Coca Cola launched this campaign in Australia in 2011, but the overwhelming popularity inspired them to spread this campaign to the United States and other countries in 2013. They removed the Coca Cola logo from bottles and replaced it with “Share a Coke with” a person’s name. The campaign uses a list of 250 of the country’s most popular names, along with some generic nicknames and titles like Bestie, Bro, Superstar, Legend and Better Half. Coca Cola asked customers to use the hashtag #ShareaCoke on social media posts with their picture holding a can or bottle of Coke. They feature these pictures on their website and on billboards across the country. Coca Cola’s soft-drink sales rose more than 2% in the U.S. following the launch of the personalized beverages.
Since 2006, Frito-Lay has invited consumers to create 30-second commercials for Doritos products with the opportunity to have it air during the Super Bowl. In it’s first year, 1,065 fan-made commercials were submitted and displayed on the contest website. Five ads were selected as finalists for a month-long public vote and the commercial with the most votes (“Live the Flavor”) aired during the 2007 Super Bowl. It was ranked the #4 best commercial of the game by USA Today’s Ad Meter poll. The competition also led to a 12% increase in sales of Doritos in January 2007. This contest is run annually by Frito-Lay and last year almost 4,900 entries were submitted.
Sephora invites customers to post selfies on their website gallery The Beauty Board and tag the Sephora make up products they used. Users can browse the Beauty Board page for looks they like, see what products were used to create the look and order the products online if they want.
Retailers and brands should put consumer opinions front and center. You can add a customer spotlight section to your website or social channels that will keep users coming back to your site, checking for fresh content from other users like them. Also make sure it’s easy for customers to share their opinions about your products and services on social. People of all generations rely on user reviews when considering a purchase, whether they’re booking travel accommodations, shopping for a new smartphone, or ordering groceries online.
In the future user generated content will continue to grow in popularity. Just about anyone can easily create good content thanks to computers and smartphones. Let your customers generate content and be the voice for your brand!