6 reasons to use User Generated Content as part of your content strategy

Blogs and social channels are hungry for content. They need to be continually fed with fresh content to keep the brands they sustain high up in the search engine and public’s view. Collaborating with customers and publishing their User Generated Content (UGC) is a cost efficient way to fill the vast content vacuum that occurs when brands sign up to social channels or commit to starting a blog. Plus its on-trend for brands to co-create and collaborate with their customers – they’re seen to be current, cool and connected to their fans.

The Coca-Cola ‘share a coke’ campaign made waves on social channels last year as its brand fans posted images of themselves holding a can of coke they’d bought/been given (with their name on) on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #shareacoke. The drinks giant initially released bottles and cans with 150 of the most popular names and then - for a second bite at the digital cherry – invited fans to vote for the next wave of names to be released. This campaign gained considerable traction worldwide appealing to young and old consumers alike and fed into the trend of people documenting their lives on social.

For brands, using UGC and crowd-sourcing as a way of creating content is a win-win situation. It makes them appear more approachable; it makes their campaigns look more authentic and has the added bonus of engendering greater brand loyalty with fans. With the numbers of people documenting and sharing their lives online increasing the brands that nurture this, and the ones that allow their fans to become co-creators, innovators and ambassadors, are the ones standing head and shoulders above the rest.

The Finnish home & interiors department store and online retailer Kodin 1 has successfully integrated user generated content into its content strategy. On its newly created ‘My life in the home’ inspiration section (which was built and powered by Flockler) it published its customer’s user generated content alongside content that’s been created by its marketing team. It has collaborated with its customers and advertisers to create an authentic, relevant and original magazine-style piece of content marketing. It uses guest blogs by amateur and professional interior design enthusiasts, bloggers and uses images of its products in situ, taken by its customers.

Using UGC to increase engagement with their consumers was the brainchild of one of the leading Finnish agencies on content strategy and content marketing, VapaMedia. Since ‘My life in the home’ s’ inception it has accumulated more than 1,700 images of its products taken by its customers. Kodin 1 has used these on its blog, Facebook page and Instagram account.  Customers have been queuing up to submit their photos and blogs as Kodin 1 credits each author/photographer as well as linking back to their personal sites/blogs – thus giving them huge exposure which they’d otherwise not be able to get.

Why creating content with your customers makes sense

  1. It increases your social engagement with your customers and widens your digital footprint which is good for SEO.
  2. It can increase sales – American female retailer, In the Pink, reported a 17% rise in engagement with its customers and a significant sales boost after running a UGC campaign.
  3. Gives integrity to your content – it’s far more powerful to harness the voice of a real person already using your brand than to create marketing-led content.
  4. Gives your customers a voice - consumers like the power and influence they can have over brands… especially if brands listen carefully and react to what’s being said.
  5. UGC is about having an authentic message that everyday consumers can relate to. The ‘real people’ creating the content have the power to influence their friends and family and can reach the everyday consumer more effectively than a branded message can.
  6. UGC opens up a two-way conversation with your customers and makes the content more relevant to the consumer.

For advice on how you can make UGC work for your business check out these five tips  and get inspired by brands that are successfully integrating it into their content strategy.

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