Brand-Building Benefits of User-Generated Content

August 22, 2014

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Posted By: Mindbenders Media
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Have you ever seen a friend’s Instagram photo or Facebook post and thought, “That could totally be turned into an ad for [insert brand name here]”. Working in advertising, we think about it quite a bit.

For those that may be unfamiliar with user-generated content (or UGC for short), the term refers to “any data or media that is contributed by individual users”. While user-generated content can take on any number of forms, it typically includes social media. All you have to do is look at Miller Lite’s recent #ItsMillerTime campaign or Coca-Cola’s “This is AHH” campaign to see the type of impact user-generated content can have.

If you haven’t considered a marketing campaign centered on user-generated content, it’s time to change that train of thought. User-generated content offers marketers and brands a number of benefits. Here are seven we’ve identified:

1)   It’s more cost effective: Cost always plays a key role when brand-building. Unlike other campaigns, user-generated content allows brands to develop new content regularly by gathering it from their fans and consumers. This helps eliminate production costs that would have otherwise been spent on content creation.

2)   It’s enriches the user experience: Consumers love to see their content publicized by brands online. By allowing them to voice their opinions and express themselves, consumers feel a part of the ongoing conversation and are more likely to remain engaged with the brand long-term.

3)   It builds a stronger community: Additionally, user-generated content allows users to easily identify and engage with other like-minded individuals. This is true for all social media. Your social community will grow stronger as a result of user-generated content being shared and liked across the Interweb.

4)   It’s more trustworthy: More and more consumers are relying on the opinions and recommendations of other online users when making a purchase decision. One survey found that, “over half (51%) of Americans trust user-generated content more than other information on a company website (16%)”. The result: user-generated content can turn positive experiences into profit.

5)   It builds a stronger SEO: This may be the best benefit of all. More content tagged as your brand means greater search visibility. This is particularly true if there is a key hashtag or concept surrounding the brand like #ItsMillerTime or #IceBucketChallenge.

6)   It’s conclusive: There is typically a definitive start and end date for user-generated campaigns, especially when an incentive is involved. As shown in the Miller Lite and Coca-Coal campaigns, both beverage brands asked fans to post within a specific time period. The brands then took the best submissions and shared them in a final video. In some cases there is a clear-cut winner as was the case with one of our client’s recent UGC campaigns that ran during the month of June.

7)   It’s an opportunity: Brands both big and small are able to collect feedback from customers, thus creating an opportunity to improve the overall customer experience over time. It is also an opportunity to turn the occasional customer into a loyal one, grow the brand’s audience, and increase the brand’s reach.

The biggest risk and worry brands have about centering a campaign on user-generated content? That fans and users won’t engage. That’s where the Mindbenders team comes in.

Ultimately, user-generated content allows brands to create a revolving door of fresh, relevant, and exciting content. If you haven’t already, there’s no time like the present to get a user-generated content campaign started.

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