Customers today are more aware of businesses who make little effort to sell the customer on why they need their product. Businesses are now taking on the role of a guide where customers are coming to them with issues and businesses present them, or develop, products and services to help.
Marketers can also take advantage of the shift in power between businesses and customers. One major business trend is taking advantage of user-generated content. This is because personalized customer experiences are now the common goal between businesses of all shapes and sizes, regardless of field.
Marketers, who are tasked with relaying a company’s goals and message to the public, can alleviate much of the pressure that comes with generating content on a regular basis and regain their customers’ trust by implementing user-generated content into their marketing strategy. We’re going to explain why marketers should start using it now.
Personalized customer experiences are what every business strives for. Customers who feel like their needs are being tended to are left with a positive, overall experience. When this occurs, they recommend that business to their friends, family, and anyone else they care about.
User-generated content takes this concept a step further by highlighting specific customer experiences that everyone can relate to, then using those experiences as part of their marketing strategy (commercials, advertisements, etc.) to relay that experience to large audiences without shoving sales pitches down everyone’s throats. Instead, they see how other people are benefiting from a business’ products or services, and they’re the ones who get to decide if those products or services are right for them.
If you look through any business’ product review page, you’re going to come across tens, hundreds, thousands of reviews from people who believe their opinions, regardless of how right or wrong they are, should be heard. Those customers are, however, right to a degree. Businesses should be looking at who their customers are more closely in order to determine what products are going to coincide with their everyday lives.
The relationship between transparency and user-generated content is a natural one because customers are seeing how others are using a business’ products and services, and by doing so, businesses are telling their customers that their voices are being heard, that all those comments aren’t being completely ignored, that customers can have good ideas on how to improve the business. Marketers, in turn, who take advantage of user-generated content tell potential customers that they’re open to new ideas regardless of the source.
3. Easy to Find
There’s an overwhelming abundance of potential content for marketers on social media. Most businesses have fans who make their own memes, share their own stories, direct their own videos, and pitch their own ideas to anyone willing to pay attention. Marketers, who are already on social media, can, at the very least, use user-generated content they find on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube for inspiration.
Taking the time to look for this content can save marketers and production teams (if present) lots of time and money that would ultimately be spent on original content. Social media influencers can even be used to spread content even further. And every other person you know is a social media influencer nowadays. Expanding to social media for content is a great way for businesses to appear transparent to customers, especially millennials, while offering more personalized experiences simultaneously. The more content a business uses, the more trustworthy they appear to be.
Authenticity differs slightly from transparency in that it also includes the aesthetics of a carefully-constructed, but relaxed and more personalized marketing strategy, whereas transparency focuses exclusively on acknowledging a business’ customers exist. In some cases, sounding like you care isn’t enough. How often do you hear the CEO of a business in the aftermath of negative publicity saying to his/her customers We hear you. and then nothing happens?
User-generated content can be of very high quality. Ask social media influencers with access to DSLR cameras and mini production teams. Most, however, has a lower quality that, surprisingly, leaves a positive effect on audiences because they’re using tools that the average person has access to. Certain mediums evoke specific feelings that other mediums can’t. That’s why many people still use both film and digital cameras. When the sound and picture quality of a commercial or ad aren’t top notch, it adds to the effect businesses are trying to achieve when using more personalized, user-generated content.
5. Cost Effective
We’ve already mentioned that taking advantage of user-generated content is a cost effective marketing strategy for businesses, but we need to really break down why that’s the case. If you’re a big business looking to cut costs, or if you’re a small business looking to save wherever possible, you should be relying on user-generated content because generating original, high-quality content requires time, which can turn costly long-term, and a dedicated team, but you ultimately get what you pay for. You can consider a social CRM to make the overall task much easier and organized.
User-generated content is created by people who already want to create this content. They’re not always doing it for the money, but even if they are, the amount your business would have to spend on giving someone credit for their work versus hiring a team and buying equipment and software would be much higher. People are passionate about the content they create, and they want businesses to see that passion in their work because they already believe in the business enough to take the time out of their day to make it. Finding teams dedicated to your company’s overall mission isn’t as easy as you’d expect. Go on social media and you’ll find thousands of people ready and willing to help at a moment’s notice.
The Final Word
User-generated content is a significant business trend for good reason. It’s personalized, transparent, easy to find, authentic, and cost effective for businesses of all sizes who are interested in regaining the public’s trust as well as putting the customer in control. When customers feel like they play an important role in any business’ success, they’re more likely to have a positive overall customer experience worthy of sharing with the world.
About the author:
Reuben Yonatan is the founder @ GetVoIP — an industry leading business comparison guide that helps companies understand and choose a VoIP system for their specific needs. Follow on Twitter @ReubenYonatan