January 22, 2016 admin

How To Survive In A User Generated Content World

User Generated Content (UGC) is not just another content marketing buzzword. Yes, it is thrown around like a Frisbee in meetings, with everyone claiming to be doing it, but in South Africa specifically, there are few publishers that are doing it well.

Why incorporate UGC into your content strategy?

With each person who adds content to your site or social platforms, a whole new group (friends/family/coworkers/the stalker of the contributor) accesses your content. You are now catering for a new audience that previously didn’t even know about you.

Content marketing isn’t just about content. It’s about connection. And for every brand, the one way to really win is by actively interacting with your audiences like you would with communities.

Just look at YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. Their models are user generated content. The end user creates the content, shares the content, and ingests content that is personalised to their specific interests.

User generated content allows for instant gratification. People love to be seen; love to show off their creative skills and thinking.

Many brands use UGC to start two-way interactions with customers, but the end result usually appears as if they were trying way too hard. Liken this to a company that pays for UGC to that friend on Facebook who keeps posting those ‘wish you were here’ posters and tagging you. Or what about that friend who keeps posting her weight-loss supplements and how they have transformed her life. More than likely, she’s sharing this information because she’s being paid by the company or receives income through affiliate sales.

Remember, your audience is more likely to trust messages coming from their peers than from your marketing team.

At the end of 2015, The MidlandsMeander asked visitors to share their best Midlands Meander memories. The end result was a beautiful marketing video that I am sure will be used for years.

When planning your UGC strategy, incorporate social influencers

Social and digital influencers are viewed as leaders among their social circles, and for good reason. They typically boast large, active followings, beautiful photo feeds, and more than likely have at least one of their status updates shared every day. These are the cool kids in the classroom.

Why was the #feesmustfall cause such a success? Why did there appear to be such broad sympathy and support for the student cause?

Just think about how you heard about the protests in your circle of friends and then think about how you reacted? Yes, the power of the social influencer.

Sincerity is crucial for successful UGC

In March 2008, Sportingo, which empowers fans to become expert pundits through creating and sharing opinion, launched a new initiative with UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund. Sports fans, bloggers, and online commentators were able to directly influence and improve the lives of those in the developing world through donations of $10 per author to UNICEF for user generated content.

This innovative model pioneered and championed by Sportingo, at the time had over 2,000 writers.

Sportingo donated the equivalent of a child’s sports kit to UNICEF’s Sports For Development programme in South Africa on behalf of all new and existing writers when they submitted an article about any sport on the Sportingo website throughout March. Visitors to the site were able to make additional donations through links on the site. READ MORE HERE.

Know the purpose of UGC:

Do you want your user generated content to inform or entertain?

Television programmes such as Kwêla encourage users to send in video clips about anything from family life to nature and win prizes.

In 2013, to launch its new variants, Pink Pomegranate and Black Espresso, Ola Magnum hosted South Africa’s first ‘live’ Twitter Auction.

Hosted by Janez Vermeiren, a live auction hub was set up in Sandton City, as tweets from across South Africa came streaming in.

Over 1000 people from all over South Africa participated in the auction, with the aim to win one of 10 luxurious prizes.

The auction generated over 80,000 mentions on Twitter, which allowed the brand to trend for 26 hours on the day of the event and the day thereafter.

Why will your customers be creating content?

User generated content matters more now. Take a lesson from Coca-Cola. In preparation for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, Coca-Cola launched “Move to the Beat,” the single largest Olympics campaign in the company’s history. Coca-Cola’s multimedia campaign showcased millions of original and crowdsourced videos from loyal fans around the world. This user generated content was compiled into a 30-minute television show that was broadcasted in 40 major markets globally. Coke reached 45 million viewers on YouTube alone and ensured that 70% of the engaged audience actually fell within their target demographic of 13- to 24-year-olds.

From polls, to pet pictures, back to school pictures, recipe submissions, and even those stories about the 20 cats your neighbour owns, user generated content is a simple way of rapidly growing your pool of content with minimum effort from your side.

The moral of the story is this: Your customers and fans can create more stories, content, and conversations about your brand than any marketing or advertising budget.

By Charis Coleman (Head Of Content)

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