by Stephanie Maldonado
UGC, or user-generated content, is exactly what it sounds like – content that is generated by users. It includes photos, videos, tweets, featured blog posts and really anything you can think of that promotes a brand. For example, I’m sure at some point we have all encountered or maybe even taken a photo of a Starbucks drink; this is a form of advertising. Consumers voluntarily post and share things they are interested in and brands are successfully capitalizing off of this by liking, retweeting or even sharing their posts. To put it simply: Everyday consumers are turning into free advertisers.
In recent years, brands have incorporated user-generated content into their marketing techniques because it is more cost effective and builds customer loyalty. It is no secret that brands spend an obscene amount of money on advertisements, whether its boosted social media posts or the more traditional route like TV commercials (which can cost upwards of thousands of dollars); either way it’s very expensive. So, it begs the question: Why are brands going to pay for ad promotions when they are getting it for free from their own customers?
The answer: they aren’t.
As we can all attest, we live in a digital age so social media plays a crucial role in terms of brand awareness. A successful brand engages with their customers and opens up a line of communication. All anyone really wants is to be recognized so it is nice when your favorite brand acknowledges your photo or simply takes the time to reply to your tweet. It shows that the brand cares about their customers and that they value any type of feedback. If you think about it, customers act as advocates for their favorite brands.
Another thing to keep in mind is that consumers are more aware than ever before about how a brand conducts itself and what values it stands for. Your average customer no longer buys into the same old sales techniques. Honesty goes a long way and that is one of the main reasons why UGC is more trusted than traditional media marketing. Customers are more likely to trust recommendations from everyday people than they would, say a celebrity, because they are not sure if said celebrity is merely getting paid to promote that brand. Brands who integrate and promote UGC give customers the chance for their voices to be heard.
Remember that old saying: Give the people what they want!
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