User Generated Content as Disruptive


Oct 26, 2015

It’s content marketing’s sexy best friend. One makes the other look good and they go hand in hand like Social Media & the products we adore!

Do you see yourself there in the bottom corner of the banner image for this article? That’s right, you.

The way brands work on social media has fundamentally changed. 2015 really was the year UGC went viral for brands, thanks to Instagram and the increase in video content, micro content, etc. UGC content is golden for organic reach. Enter brand advocacy, influencer marketing, relationship marketing, SMS marketing and UGC branded hashtag campaigns. If you aren’t keeping up with the trends, you are thinking “what the heck!”. Snapchat? What’s that.

Given that most brands follow a 70/30 rule in content marketing vs. content directly related to their brand’s topics or products. Adding value while giving the opportunity for peer testimonials and new brand advocacy to occur, that’s the key of User Generated Content (USG). And it is disrupting the way brand’s gain the attention of their audiences and consumers at large.

UGC contests and campaigns are now standard arsenal in a Millennial brand’s marketing toolkit, the truth is, User and customer generated content is competing against the media industry and advertising industry, and winning. Have you noticed the media industry changing? Have you noticed how advertising doesn’t work as well on the younger generation? Brand loyalty isn’t what it once was. In fact, it’s estimated upwards of 80% of all media online is UGC.

News becoming integral aspects of Facebook and Twitter are signs of changing times. Brands scrambling to become relevant on Snapchat, Instagram and Pinterest show just how quickly the social media landscape is changing. Since Millennial consumers trust and engage with UGC, a big part of the future of content marketing has to be UGC. I think social media will never be the same, and that’s why I find UGC is disruptive to how the new kind of relationship-direct-influence-viral (RDIV) marketing works.

RDIV marketing and UGC go hand in hand, and to do one well, you have to do the other well. Whichever platform you choose to do your UGC campaigns, do your homework. Identifying who the influencers are for your top 15% of brand advocates and highest value customers is key. Make it fun and rewarding for your customers to become brand influencers. What has occurred is a fundamental shift, branding is no longer about how you are perceived or how your products are viewed directly, but influenced by UGC and influencers. UGC has since 2005, in just ten years changed how social authority and trust is established for an entire generation. With 70% of B2C brands ready to leverage UGC, it’s time we take it seriously.

Acknowledging that UGC is a disruptive and important influence in social media is the first step. Leaning how to set up UGC campaigns and getting the tools, analytics and marketing automation platforms can definitely help. Think about how UGC for mobile audiences look like and occurs in the new digital reality and learn what works from case studies of the pioneers. The question at the end of 2015, is not if UGC will work for your brand, it’s rather how best to do it.

The new model of content marketing includes in addition to UGC as a key strategy, employee generated content, ECC. If your brand is a B2B brand you may want to consider making ECC a norm of your content marketing strategy, in a few short years the trends suggest it will be. You’ll be amazed how much more interesting your corporate website’s blog and LinkedIn pulse articles become when the talent in your company is fully utilized to harvest content ideas.

One of my favorite writers on UGC happens to be Pixlee’s own Juliet Carnoy. They are my favorite San Francisco UGC brand.

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Michael Spencer helps companies improve their content marketing, blogs, social media & video marketing initiatives. If you are a startup or smallbizz you may want to outsource some of your digital marketing needs.

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