Facebook returns to its UGC origins and Amazon bought the User-generated content platform Twitch. It’s about back to the digital roots. Back to UGC! Find out why User-generated content is the hottest platform and social media content marketing trend.
At the beginning of the digital age, one thing immediately happened:
People uploaded their own experiences in the forms of digital content like opinions or comments. Or simply shared their photos on social media platforms. Resulting that social media platforms like Facebook evolved successfully.
- From the beginning, it’s been all about authentic content from real users, shared online between real people. It’s always been about User-generated content
In brand marketing terms User-generated content was continuously replaced by big Influencers, who are users, but far more public figures than normal users.
A trend in marketing was to replace user-brand interactions and put an influencer instead. This influencer or influencer marketing seemed to be a way to produce authentic content in the forms of digital word-of-mouth.
But not from a real user, who generates the powerful brand and word-of-mouth experience, but from an influencer instead, of which the brands thought they had control over.
But the brands made the calculation without the host. And when it comes to the latest online user interaction statistics, one statistic stands out.
Again more content is being uploaded than downloaded!
- This means that users again upload more content than they actually download
- Which means User-generated content is higher than content, which is downloaded
A trend which for me, as a digital word-of-mouth social media content marketing creator can only mean one thing: How can I inspire users and integrate User-generated content into branded social media content marketing campaigns?
92% of Consumers trust User-generated content over traditional advertising
What is Influencer marketing?
At that point where the web went mainstream on thing got clear: Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and youtube are vital for brands and companies to keep growing in a digital age!
At this point, brands became Social Brands.
Meaning user engagement and content from users on social media platforms became an inherent part of branding and social media marketing campaign strategies.
BUT in the beginning, brands couldn’t accept that user experiences and User-generated content dominated over the regular branding strategies…
- That former passive consumer suddenly became a brand deciding player
- Until now the direction always has been determined by the brand’s headquarters. That has changed fundamentally
What happened next was brands used the upcoming influencer marketing trend and teamed up with influencers. Influencer always existed: They are experts and their opinion is respected by their community. A bit like a star…an expert people listens to.
- Influencer became the new brand ambassadors
- It seemed they replaced the user and his very own and authentic brand experience
And most brands liked it. Some even prefered Influencer marketing to User-generated content marketing. Not being able to let go of control they teamed up with the influencers, who promoted the brand´s product with their very own content they created on social media.
- Through social media, the aura of an Influencer is accessible like your best friend.
- Influencer seems to be like a user. What would imply that their User-generated content is an authentic one
→ But it isn’t. And people strongly felt Influencer marketing doesn’t equal User-generated content marketing!
Same with reality shows: It seems authentic. But the silent contract between audience and performer is: Pretend that it is real. Same with influencer and influencer marketing.
- The influencer marketing trend stagnates. It somehow doesn’t feel right for users if an Influencer promotes the brand in the forms of User-generated content marketing.
→ Doesn’t matter how real and authentic the brand experience of the influencers is. It always feels a bit like a fake! With the result: Decreasing brand trust, decreasing brand awareness and decreasing business growth.
We are right now at the turning point and it’s about getting back to the point, where it all started. It’s all about real users, sharing their authentic experiences online! It’s about User-generated content.
→ Brand growth and brand business success in a digital world strongly depends on how much real values/experiences the brand as a platform can deliver to its customers!
It’s Again All About User-Generated Content!
UGC User-generated content stands in a direct relation with digital storytelling and interactive brand and business social media strategies
User-generated content social media campaigns in combination with transmedia brand storytelling always generates social media platform activities
User-generated content is all about sharing your experience & passion
→ Which means UGC User-generated content and brand business storytelling always lead to user-brand interactions, brand awareness and growth of both: Growth of the user and growth of the brand.
- UGC User-generated content strongly builds up a relationship between the user and the brand!
- Through strategic storytelling, people get inspired
- Through UGC User-generated content people get engaged to share their very own brand experience in social media
- Which again inspires other users for the brand
→ This is digital User-generated content marketing with trustworthy and authentic word-of-mouth recommendations via social media!
My experiences as a social media director shows UGC User-generated content creates real and authentic user-brand interactions. Which is what marketing always wanted to achieve: Digital word-of-mouth recommendations: That’s the best a brand can get!
My very personal social media experience with User-generated content is that the brand wins
- If the brand let’s go any kind of social media control and lets things develop, giving only impulses
- while focusing on inspiring real users to start interacting with the brand and sharing the authentic user-brand experiences
- The brand wins as the brand encourages users to voice their brand experiences
→ In a digital age of social media, a brand grows by letting go the controlled one-way monologue that brand marketing has built up over the years.
→ The goal is to build a real relationship and dialogue with users. The result is a trusted digital word of mouth.
And What Are The Big Players Doing? They Bet On User-Generated Content To Guarantee Business Growth
What Facebook knows best: UGC User-generated content is the digital way how real people share their experiences online.
Their joy, their annoyance, their frustration and their passion. This is real. It’s authentic. Authenticity is the fundamental basis of digital word-of-mouth recommendations.
→ But why is digital word-of-mouth so important for brands in a digital social media age??
- Because only upon content, which can clearly be categorized as authentic, people evaluate and build trust for that brand
- Which is decisive for the purchase decision!
My experience shows that as a contemporary content marketer it is NOT about the brand in the first place BUT about the Brand Experience!
I really like the American way! Successful American businessmen always knew: It’s about the values they bring to the market and how the brand can deliver values to customers. It’s not about the business/brand in the first place, but about the Customer Experience – this determines business success → And this is exactly how successful User-generated content marketing works!
My experience as Social Media Director during the World Ocean Summit 2018, hosted by The Economist, where NDC, as the social media partner, has created the User-generated content marketing campaign
- Successful UGC User-generated content marketing campaigns, first of all, inspire and engage real users
- Inspire and engage real users to communicate their personal brand experience
- What was a commitment in the case of the World Ocean Summit that it is possible to make a significant change
- Resulting in 7300 organic clicks from highly involved people via social media to the Landing within 6 weeks!
CONCLUSION Why User-Generated Content is Here To Stay
→ Today business growth is more than ever before associated with brand and customer experiences!
→ Simply, because everyone has a globally audible voice through social media.
→ Social media marketing has to accelerate User-generated content in order to accelerate user-brand interactions and achieve user-brand experiences.
Back to the roots means
- Back to Authenticity and Trust!
- In the forms of UGC User-generated content from real users, who share their trustworthy brand experiences on social media platforms
- Which is the basis of digital word-of-mouth recommendations
OUR SECRET SOCIAL MEDIA INGREDIENTS
- UGC User-generated content equals brand and business growth in a digital social media age
- Simply because UGC creates trust, trust and confidence building determines the purchase decision
- Therefore UGC User-generated content is critical to any brand or business to ensure business growth in the age of digital social media
→ Not creating User-generated content impulses in social media and sticking to old patterns, such as not letting go of brand control, means in the age of digital social media: losing customers 24 hours a day every day!
Are you interested in further information about the benefits of User-generated content in the age of digital social media?