User Generated Content: The most powerful content marketing of all time?

We have all contributed to some form of User Generated Content (UGC) – blogs, tweets, digital images/videos and reviews are all examples, perhaps we have done this without even knowing. Marketing is constantly growing and developing, as brands continue to pump in more investment and consumers keep responding to content. I would argue that consumers have become less susceptible and more sceptical of adverts and marketing in general. This is where UGC becomes really important – consumers want organic, reliable and unbiased content. In fact, UGC has some influence on 84% of Millennials in terms of what they purchase.

Let me ask you a question… How often do you check TripAdvisor (other services are available) before venturing out for dinner? Or read consumer product reviews on films, music and TV? These reassurances before making many or any decision are becoming a consumer habit, and the opportunity for marketers to use this insight and content to transform their proposition, has become a golden opportunity.

Brands, of course, have picked up on this trend – many restaurants now have TripAdvisor stickers in their windows prompting you to leave positive feedback. Hashtags appear more and more on screen during live TV broadcasts, encouraging viewers to generate social media content to pull in additional viewers. It’s more important than ever before to link UGC to your marketing efforts. It increases your reliability as a brand and drives consumer engagement.

Of course, this is all very relevant to the world of CRM and Storytelling. As reported in 2017’s edition of ‘The Future of email marketing’, live social feeds are expected to become more popular in email. Here, we expect to see up-to-date images and posts from Instagram or Twitter to flow into email communications.  Email plugins enabling highly targeted communications to each recipient, such as Stackla, are already available which pull in relevant UGC images.

Disney, AllSaints, ASOS, River Island and Footlocker are just a few which have featured UGC from Instagram in their email campaigns and we are loving watching more and more brands let this valuable content empower more brands.

Naturally, brands face issues with UGC, specifically you’re never in direct control. Consumers have their own voice and social media allows them to project to the masses. Negative reviews can quickly hinder your sales efforts and go viral like never before. If you’re building UGC into your marketing efforts to bolster your messages, you’ll need a curator to monitor and select appropriate content to add into your campaigns.

It’s clear that UGC is going to continue playing a role in the industry, so now is time to make the most of it.