As we continue to celebrate the holiday season and prepare to usher in a New Year, let’s take a look back at this year’s biggest trend in digital marketing: user-generated content.
In a previous blog post, we outlined the importance of fostering authentic social conversations around your brand leveraging UGC. Study after study confirms that potential customers overwhelmingly trust reviews and insights from friends, family and peers when making a purchase decision. They’re scouring the web for this information, dropping nuggets of knowledge of their own as they go along.
To that end, we’re doling out a dozen tips and insights to help you with your digital campaigns in 2014. Every day for the next 12 days, we’ll reveal one new insight (in the form of a bite-sized infographic) in the space below. Keep an eye on this blog post for new tips!
So, in the spirit of the season, we present to you our 12 Tips of UGC. (For more information, drop us a line.)
For the 1st tip of UGC, my true fans gave to me…
Billions of updates and tweets. Your fans are generating a veritable flood of content on their social networks every single day. Many of these text updates, photos and videos directly contribute to conversations around brands – authentic conversations that influence their peers.
Encourage your fans to contribute content to your UGC campaign, either through a UGC contest page or a branded hashtag. This allows your message to reach beyond your fans and touches your fans’ peers. As a bonus, you get access to original content that feeds into your social campaigns.
Key takeaway: UGC can help you ride the wave of content to expand your reach and feed your social campaigns.
Key demographics. Most Millennials and Baby Boomers say user-generated content influences their purchase decisions. These two demographics are responsible for the lion’s share of consumer spending in the US, and Millennials are poised to outspend Baby Boomers by 2017. While both these key demographics rely mostly on friends and peers to help them make purchase decisions, each group exhibits different motivations, attitudes and behaviors. Your next UGC campaign will resonate best with your target audience when you include relevant calls-to-action and incentives.
Key takeaway: Engage these demographics with relevant calls-to-action.
Low barriers (to entry). While there are specific cases where it makes sense to raise barriers to entry, your consumer-facing UGC contest isn’t one of them. Lower the barriers to entry, give your fans the option to submit text-only content and watch the submissions flood in!
We compared data across all our customers’ UGC deployments to analyze the impact of allowing text-only submissions. Our findings were profound: contests which allowed for text-only submissions (in addition to photos and video) saw a 900% lift in submission volume.
Key takeaway: Allow users to submit the types of content they prefer, and make photos and videos optional.
For the 4th tip of UGC, my true fans gave to me…
Pics and vids galore. Now that we’ve fully espoused the benefits of allowing text-only submissions, it’s worth noting how much photo and video content is generated on the daily. After all, it’s this rich content that will give your UGC contest a more interactive look and feel.
Users are generating several lifetime’s worth of rich media content every day. The stats say it all. Instagram users upload 55M photos per day. Vine users share 12M videos every day. And YouTube sees 100+ hours of video uploaded every minute!
It’s more than likely that your fanbase is comfortable creating photo and video content. Put the right incentives in place to spur them to share their content with your brand (See Tip #2 for more on relevant calls-to-action).
Key takeaway: Give your fans the option to submit photo or video content alongside text to cultivate a submission pool full of rich media.
Greater homepage visits. Regardless of your digital campaign’s goals, there’s one metric that will always reflect success: a spike in the number of visits to your brand’s homepage.
Our data shows that social sharing incentives (such as awarding additional contest entries) are the key to driving fans to your brand site. Encouraging users to share content with their networks not only increases the reach and engagement rate of your UGC contest, it can boost visits to your brand site by as much as 300%!
Key takeaway: Build in social sharing incentives (like additional chances to win) to amplify your campaign.
Massive fanbase growth. A UGC campaign is best used to engage your existing fans, but these types of campaigns can also help you grow your social channels. In fact, data shows 35% of Facebook users will “Like” a page to enter a contest.
Case in point: Levi’s recent #501 UGC campaign directly contributed to growing the brand’s fanbase. Riding a wave of 30,000 photo submissions, the #501 campaign drove an 88% increase in the number of Levi’s social media fans.
Key takeaway: Use a UGC campaign to engage and grow your social networks.
For the 7th tip of UGC, my true fans gave to me…
More ways to upload. Allowing multiple upload options will vastly increase the volume of submissions to a UGC contest. It’s all about knowing where your fans live in the social-sphere and giving them options to submit content through their preferred platforms.
By providing upload options across Facebook, Google+ and Twitter, our customers have seen a 10x lift in the number of submissions. And, when they layered on the option to submit content using a hashtag, our customers saw a 14x lift in the number of submissions.
Key takeaway: In the same way that lowering barriers to entry increases submissions, you’ll get more submissions by offerings more social networks and hashtag options.
For the 8th tip of UGC, my true fans gave to me…
There are currently more than 254M Facebook users and 176M Twitter users who might find their way to your UGC campaign via a mobile device. If they’re met with a frustrating experience – or worse yet, a broken experience – you’re going to lose a lot of potential engagement. Offer them a way to interact and submit content from their mobile devices and they’ll return the favor with an increase in the number of submissions to your UGC contest.
Key takeaway: Make sure your campaign plays nice on mobile devices and you’ll be rewarded with more content submissions from your fans.
For the 9th tip of UGC, my true fans gave to me…
Authentic conversations. People trust friends/family first, peers/strangers second, and brands last. They look to social media for recommendations, reviews and feedback from “real” people – think of these as authentic conversations around a brand.
Consumer trust in social and mobile is growing, but doesn’t hold a candle to the trust they put in real feedback. For potential customers in the research phase of their journey, it’s these type of earned media that will have the most influence on their purchase decision.
With 92% of people indicating that they trust earned media over all other forms of advertising, brand marketers have the opportunity to foster authentic conversations and build their earned media reach. By engaging fans and encouraging them to create content around your campaign, you empower your community to become ambassadors for your brand.
Key takeaway: Encourage authentic conversations around your brand by stoking the fires of user-generated content.
For the 10th tip of UGC, my true fans gave to me…
Lower marketing costs. In addition to the myriad benefits of a UGC campaign – tons of rich media delivered to your doorstep, boosted engagement rates, increased reach – did you know that it can help lower your overall marketing spend?
One key metric to consider is the cost per sales lead.
Studies show that the average cost to generate a lead through inbound marketing is 62% less ($143) than with outbound marketing ($373). Traditional outbound marketing efforts are expensive and the benefits are short-lived, while inbound campaigns like UGC contests offer more bang for the buck and longer-term benefits. Inbound campaigns focused on UGC can offer serious returns.
Key takeaway: Drive down your overall marketing spend through inbound marketing efforts like UGC campaigns.
For the 11th tip of UGC, my true fans gave to me…
More video views. When it comes to content marketing, video still reigns king over all other media. Branded videos are great, and we’re big fans of branded content, but it’s worth noting that UGC videos are much more effective at getting your message out to the masses.
YouTube users are much more likely to watch a brand fan’s UGC video than the brand’s own videos. Videos submitted from brand fans get 10x more views than the brand’s own video content, reinforcing the need to foster authentic conversations around your brand.
Key takeaway: For maximum reach, showcase your UGC videos alongside your branded videos.
For the 12th tip of UGC, my true fans gave to me…
Higher search rankings. Your brand’s search engine ranking is important. But your owned properties aren’t the only links displayed on a search results page – they’re likely surrounded by links to your competitors. Did you know your UGC content helps boost your search engine presence?
Your fans play an integral role in boosting your search engine mojo through the content they create. UGC content generated by fans of the world’s top 20 brands are responsible for 25% of search results for those brands. These results reinforce your owned properties and increase your brand’s visibility on that all-important search results page.
Key takeaway: Increase your search engine footprint by cultivating UGC content in all forms and across various social platforms.
For more information, drop us a line.