Welcome to the Download on Digital, where we cover the latest in digital marketing news, trends, and more. This month, we’re diving into user-generated content (UGC).
Taking content marketing to another level
In a recent interview with Martech.org, Hubspot’s CMO, Kipp Bodnar talked about the importance of being everywhere your customers are. While that’s obviously nothing new, following through on that goal has never been harder. With an endless list of social media platforms calling for different content types, most companies are left wondering whether they should blog, film, podcast, tweet, email, live chat, text, or just forget content altogether — don’t do that last one.
Hubspot has accounted for this by essentially building a media company within a tech company. They’re Hubspot, so they can do this sort of thing. But what about the companies who don’t have the resources to dial content production up to 100?
User-Generated Content is so hot right now
Want to generate content without blogging, filming, podcasting, tweeting, emailing, live chatting, or texting? Incentivize your customers to do it for you.
I’m talking of course about user-generated content, a long-established marketing tactic that’s booming right now thanks to the perfect storm of social media developments, advancing technology, and changing consumer behaviour.
Here are some stats:
- ComScore found that a mixture of user and brand-generated content resulted in a 28% rise in engagements.
- This is probably why 86% of companies rely on UGC campaigns as part of their marketing strategy.
- At the same time, Stackla found that 79% of consumers say UGC highly impacts their purchasing decisions.
- Low-fi aesthetics appear more authentic than brand-made content, making user-generated content more trustworthy.
UGC is killing it on TikTok
Want to see an example of those stats playing out? Look no further than TikTok. As reported by Vox, the video app has led to a number of mass-produced items—from tanning spray to catnip—to sell out in no time, with influencers promoting their purchases with the hashtag #tiktokmademebuyit.
TikTok is also the home to a new trend where users create commercials for their favourite brands. The current face of the trend is the television programming block, Adult Swim, which has been tagged by more than 350,000 videos. I’d call it a user-generated content campaign, except Adult Swim had nothing to do with it. The user-generated commercials were 100% unprompted by the brand.
Why are people doing this?
According to Deloitte’s most recent demographics report, consumers aren’t exactly fond of big business. With 70% of Gen Z and Millennials agreeing that corporations need to focus less on their own agenda and more on bettering society, you can’t help but wonder why the hell those same consumers are creating free ads for those same corporations?
As the kids say, “Do it for the gram!” With the growth of social media, UGC campaigns have become less fuelled by prize money and free vacations and more fuelled by social factors and psychology. According to studies, UGC applies ego-defensive motivation, by increasing the user’s self-esteem by way of community acceptance, validation from the brand, and other means of snuffing out all of our internal insecurities.
So when Danica with a thousand followers posts a selfie hashtagged #zara.style.daily, she’s not getting paid by Zara. She’s using that hashtag to tug on the fast fashion pant leg of a corporation in hopes that they turn around and publish her photo and by doing so, validate her sense of style to a massive network. In the end, Danica feels closer to Zara and enjoys the likes. Zara gets brand loyalty, free advertising, and a content source they need to water on occasion. That’s the transaction.
No more excuses
While it may seem like this sort of tactic is limited to industries like fashion and cosmetics, that’s not the case. When welding company, Lincoln Electric, failed to find welders who could make quality content, they went the other way and found content creators open to learning about welding, woodworking, and other trades. TL;DR, they built their own army of influencers.
If you’ve been putting off content marketing because blogging takes time and video is outside your wheelhouse, you’re making excuses. User-generated content is the answer and it just so happens to be one of the most effective marketing tactics today.