User generated content – marketing and brand image in one

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Comments, videos, photos, hashtags… there are a lot of ways for online interaction between a particular brand and its fans. Collectively, this phenomenon is called user generated content and is, from the marketing point of view, highly desirable. Learn more in the text below.

What is User Generated Content?

As you know, at least a few people watch over the content of a specific website. Content manager develops strategies and takes care of the appropriate internal structure – content writers and copywriters provide new content. However, they do not only do that.

Some pieces of the texts may also be published on the website by people who have not been hired to do so and do not derive any profit-making benefits from it. We are talking here about users whose role in the content development process should never be omitted – after all, it is difficult to think of the forums, chats, social networks or video websites … where no one writes or publishes anything.

It is estimated that 57.3% of the entire planet’s population (and we are estimated to be 7.8 billion people) has access to the Internet. On average, each of us spends six and a half hours in the Internet during the day. There are plenty of opportunities that technology gives us – especially if we have created accounts on a large portals with hundreds or thousands of users.

How to use user generated content?

The use of user generated content in marketing is based on encouraging users to self-publish content relevant to (or referring to) your product.

The use of user generated content in marketing is based on encouraging users to self-publish content relevant to (or referring to) your product.

Marketing campaigns based on this type of content may start with suggestions in order to encourage fans to listen and do something we require. It can call-to-action to publish their photos with the product and with a specific hashtag. These can also be videos in which users show how they use a specific product or service (e.g. a camera or piece of clothing). There are also all kinds of consumer opinions and reviews in online shops.

The Internet marketers would notice the positive consequences of this phenomenon quite fast. After all, their duty is to supervise whether the reach of advertised products is appropriate. Therefore, it is impossible to miss an opportunity in which these ranges will extend.

Therefore, it is impossible to miss an opportunity in which these ranges will extend.

User generated content – benefits

This tactic is used by a number of major brands from various branches of industry. Of course, there are good reasons foe this, as it has several major advantages. The effects of using it can be much more difficult to achieve when we only make use of conventional marketing techniques.

It is authentic

People – well, at least most of them – are definitely approaching such marketing campaigns with caution. They regard them as tools of manipulation and ignore presented information (such as „9 out of 10 dentists recommend this toothpaste. Have you ever heard of it before?”).

People believe that marketers cannot be trusted. According to ExpertVoice studies, 92% of typical consumers (even if we do not know their traits) consider User generated content to be more reliable than the information provided by the manufacturer. Additionally, 70% of them say that product online reviews are their second most trusted source.

Let’s take a closer look – we have two brands, X and Y. X uses the user generated content techniques and publishes a lot of information that is consumer feedback. Y does not. The question arises – why is Y not doing this? Does it have something to hide? The conclusions are quite obvious – try to predict which product will be chosen by a typical customer.

It creates a community

Such campaigns can evolve quite fast – it creates a specific community and target group which features will be attracting recipients to our product.

Of course, the scope of the campaign – and thus the probability of such a phenomenon – is limited by the popularity and specificity of a product. The popular carbonated drink has a better chance of becoming an icon of user generated content, rather than the electric chainsaws.

However, such a community may have more common features. Besides the product they choose, it is no coincidence that most of this type of campaigns refer to emotions („share a moment with your friends”, „show what do you do to relax” etc.). This is an additional psychological factor that has not been found here by chance – the more common features do the fans of your product have, the greater the chance that this community will expand permanently.

It is financially beneficial

Marketing activities can be costly, especially if they are about to have wide range. For this reason, user generated content seems to be particularly attractive – after all, you already make use of what you have (the product). Let Internet be the marketing channel – after all, it is a worldwide system used by billions of users every day.

Comparing traditional ads that require payment for a specific display and distribution time, user generated content is always free. It does not require the creation of any new medium (Facebook or Instagram are used the most often) and it is organic, which means that its popularity is generated entirely thanks to the content you created! Since the content will still be created by the users themselves, it may encourage others to do the same.

This does not mean that the cost of preparing this type of campaign is negligible – negative reviews may also appear. It is necessary to provide a reward if you organize your campaign in the form of a competition.

User generated content is free – it does not require the creation of a new marketing channel.

User generated content – what to remember about?

Although there are numerous advantages, there are also a number of nuances to bear in mind.

First of all, products are different. Not every of them will be a solid basis for user generated content – we have already given you an example. A significant barrier is the number of users and their responsiveness to similar campaigns, including demography factors, communication channel (Facebook or any other, less popular website), as well as the specificity of the product. That is why you need to be careful when deciding on the type of interaction you want to have with your users.

Secondly, there is a risk of copyright infringement if you would like to make further use of user generated content. Legal issues may rule out the months of planning, so it is important to move only within legal solutions.

Summary

  • The strategy we have just discussed can bring many benefits, providing that we implement it in a proper way.
  • It is a good idea to keep balance between classic marketing and user generated content. Do not limit yourself to one solution, thus gain benefits from both.
  • However, even if you do not plan to bet on this type of campaign, you should never leave your fans behind.
  • Comments, reviews, opinions – all of these are form of user generated content. It is not only free, but also bring benefits to your brand image.

Jan Susmaga

By education - philologist / linguist, by current profession - proofreader and copywriter, by interest - a bit of everything. He enjoys writing, reading both prose and non-fiction (mainly scientific), watching horror movies, training martial arts, trying new things.

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