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Every year more and more information is received by consumers through digital channels. The role of a person as a consumer of goods and services has become largely dependent on communication in social networks where he receives information about products, consumes goods and services, and discusses his consumer experience with other people.
Over the past few years, the popularity of social services and the level of user confidence in the information posted in them have grown significantly.
Brands are actively using these properties of social networks, increasing the use of social platforms as a marketing channel. In the future, more and more marketing challenges will be addressed through Online channels, especially social media and mobile advertising.
Lead generation. You receive applications from potential consumers of your products (both b2c and b2b) directly to the official accounts.
Information. You bring the necessary information to consumers who, for one reason or another, are not in other information fields.
Tracking and managing brand reputation. The time of forums, message boards and similar sites is going away forever. Now consumers are sharing their experiences and leaving feedback on products and services on social networks. In any social network, you have the opportunity to instantly respond to feedback on behalf of the company's official account, enhance the positive, or vice versa, neutralise the negative.
The main thing is direct communication with consumers. You create a touchpoint for consumers with the brand, you give them a new communication channel. A great way to connect with your customers online is holding virtual events. With such events and your presence on social networks, you allow the end consumer to directly contact you, as a brand, with a question, complaint, proposal or gratitude.
Social networks are mostly composed of unique user-generated content. It doesn't matter if you do it yourself or see it in others: it exists and accompanies us throughout the day.
But users are already tired of social media ads. This is what they say: the option to hide recommended ads in the app's feed, outraged comments under advertising posts of influencers and an increase in the popularity of ad blockers (more than 10 million people use AdBlock, Chrome released its own ad blocker in 2019). Hence, the trends of 2020 - relationships based on trust and transparency, communication with users in their language: listening, adapting, encouraging feedback and UGC content.
Maintaining traditional advertising has become expensive and inefficient: 74% of Gen Z and Millennials are annoyed by in-app ads, 57% are unsubscribing from pages with a lot of paid ads. What should brands do in such a situation and how to survive in conditions of limited advertising? Pay attention to user-generated content.
UGC (user-generated content) is social media content created by users on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube etc: photo and video materials, stories, wall posts, comments. This also includes user reviews of a product or service.
Pros of such content: it is emotional, understandable to the audience, personalised and has no relation to the brand. Users trust it and watch with great desire.
92% of users trust user reviews on social networks;
79% of people say UGC strongly influences their buying decisions
user-generated content on Facebook is 6.9 times more interesting than branded content.
Even if there is a brand in the content, users like it more than advertising publications. This is due to the characteristics of the audience: Millennials and Gen Z are the backbones of social networks. They prefer to know in advance what to expect, so they read reviews from other users.
It is trite, but it is economically beneficial. Users creating UGC do not receive a salary from the brand. They do it with enthusiasm. The costs of creating branded advertising and promoting it on the network are many times higher.
With UGC, you can raise the number of mentions. How does it work? Viral UGC marketing that provokes user creativity. This was the case with the ALS Association. A little-known company came up with the Ice Bucket Challenge: people poured a bucket of ice over themselves, tagged friends and asked to repeat. As a result, we get user-generated content in the media, fame and $100 million in donations to research amyotrophic sclerosis.
SEO brand promotion is expensive, especially if you are aiming to be in the top 10. Users, on the other hand, intuitively use keywords and brand names in the comments, providing SEO promotion. The more mentions, the higher the company rises. For example, Coca-Cola's Share a Coke ad campaign (find a bottle with your own name and share on social media) increased the number of searches related to the brand.
UGC is also about user feedback, which helps form a relationship with a brand. In such content, you can get ideas for inspiration, find out what is worth working on. Thanks to reposting of users' publications on the company's personal page, the brand not only gives a person a moment of fame but also shows that his opinion is important.
Insight is an insight, true motivation of the consumer, his knowledge and ideas about the world, goods and services. Often it may not be formulated by the consumer himself. User-generated content reflects the thoughts of people with whom you can and should work with when forming your marketing strategy. You can clearly evaluate the construction of positioning using insights on the example of the dating application Bumble. There are a lot of barriers and stereotypes in the field of romantic relationships and especially dating apps.
In the wake of such a trend as feminism, it is possible to identify indicative "pains" of the female audience (which is especially important and difficult to attract to dating applications): harassment, obscene photo content instead of a greeting, devaluation (evaluation by men), objectification. The concept of the Bubble service is built on the idea of an equal relationship, and an application where a woman can feel comfortable and take the first step. The app's creators believe that the fact that only a girl can be the first to start a dialogue reduces the risk of unwanted communication and generally negative experience from using the service.
Influencers usually make a perfect picture that is not satisfactory and is expensive. At the same time, the post does not always fit into the topic of the blog, which makes the picture look purchased and does not inspire confidence in the audience. While UGC content is authentic and emotional. Positive experience from collaboration, loyalty programs and nice bonuses can turn an ordinary client into a brand advocate. These are people who actively recommend products to other users based on their experience, defend the interests of the company in disputes about a post on Instagram, participate in discussions and form the opinions of other users. And they do not have to pay, except for the quality of services and attitude, which is several times cheaper than the cost of advertising.
In today's world, transparency, trust and authentic content are current trends in marketing strategy as consumers move further and further away from traditional advertising. Users expect emotion, realism, and humanity from both other people and companies. Potential customers opt for brands with engaging campaigns, engaging content, good feedback and reviews from other users.
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