According to Nielsen, 43% of people are more likely to purchase a new product when they have learned about it through social channels or from friends and family. We already know that word-of-mouth marketing is extremely powerful, and the rise of social media has greatly shaped the way consumers are reached through advertising. One strategy that some companies are successfully employing is using user-generated content as a form of marketing.
Given the reality that consumers tend to trust positive marketing messages from other consumers and peers more than direct advertising from companies, it makes sense that UGC marketing campaigns are becoming a lot more common. The use of UGC as a marketing tool relies on the concept of social proof, which Wikipedia defines as “ a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior for a given situation.” In a marketing context, seeing people we know with certain products might influence us to also purchase that product.
That’s why more companies are beginning to incorporate UGC marketing into their marketing strategies, by actively encouraging consumers to post about the brand, product or company, and then actively re-sharing the content that they post. Through doing this, companies are essentially transforming customers into brand advocates.
UGC marketing is especially powerful for the retail industry. Here are some examples of popular retailers that are successfully employing UGC marketing strategies:
- Urban Outfitters: Urban Outfitters has created a platform, the UO Community, for UGC from Instagram to be featured. The site curates posts of Urban Outfitter products from actual customers’ Instagram accounts, and can even be sorted by tags, like #UOHome and #UOBeauty. Furthermore, clicking each photo reveals which products it features, and gives the option to view it in the shop. This collection of posts serves as inspiration to potential customers, operating on the power of social proof and giving the audience action steps to take to get the products themselves.
- Warby Parker: Warby Parker, an eyeglasses company, has a program called Home Try On, which allows people to pick 5 frames and have them shipped to their house for free to try them on. Warby Parker chose to turn this into a marketing opportunity by encouraging participants to share photos of them in the frames with the hashtag #WarbyHomeTryOn. By doing so, they incorporated UGC into the customer purchase journey, allowing customers to get feedback from trusted friends while simultaneously generating tons of content for marketing.
- Chubbies: Chubbies, a men’s shorts company has relied heavily on user-generated content to craft a story around the brand that focuses on real people having adventures in their Chubbies shorts. The company actively solicits posts from customers, and frequently shares it on social media. The result has been successful, as the company has amassed over 1.5 million Facebook fans and over 321,000 Instagram followers.
As evidenced by these retail companies, user-generated content can be a very powerful and engaging tool for marketing. Using content created by customers has many benefits. It makes customers feel more engaged and appreciated by the company, which will help drive them to become loyal customers and brand advocates. When used as marketing, UGC has a lot more authenticity than marketing directly from a brand, as people trust messages from peers and friends a lot more than from companies. Finally, incorporating UGC into marketing campaigns is a great step towards adopting and executing a successful brand advocacy strategy, where loyal customers help to steer the marketing efforts.
As the complete campaign management platform for social media advocacy, Fanzee can help to make the process of executing a brand advocacy strategy more seamless and effective, allowing organizations to better take advantage of this powerful marketing method.Click here to learn more about how Fanzee can help.