|June 7, 2017|
So, last month we told you that the future of digital marketing is going to belong to the consumer. We then went on to suggest that you encourage audience interaction with your brand, and promote the creation of user-generated content.
We then ended the article, and gave you no insight, at all, as to how to go about doing that.
Maybe we’ll write an article in the future about how you can keep your blog readers coming back for more.
In the meantime, though, lets tackle the question of how to encourage the user-generated content that we’re trying to convince you is going to own tomorrow’s marketing.
Before you can engage and mobilise an audience, you need to actually have one. Before you can get an audience, you need to know where to find them.
Simple stuff, right?
It’s not overly complicated, but do not write off the selection of platforms as a task that requires anything less than your full consideration. Not every platform lends itself to user-generated content, and not every platform will necessarily suit your brand’s personality, or the interests of your consumers.
Do your research, even into platforms that you are intimately familiar with. Find out, not only where your audience is, but how to leverage other platforms to expand your audience.
We must confess, we’re not 100% sure if the above picture was the result of planning or serendipity, but optics matter. Either way, it worked out quite well for Johnnie Walker, whose sky-high branding was splashed across Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram when South Africa was on the streets two months back, marching in protest of Zuma.
And that, dear reader, is a perfect example of user-generated content.
Whether intentionally, or by chance, Johnnie Walker had its finger on its audience’s pulse, and hopped on a bandwagon that resonated. Cleverly positioning itself as a friend to the average South African on the street, Johnnie Walker earned goodwill and the sort of publicity that would have been tough to achieve under its own momentum alone.
When what’s important to your consumers is what’s important to you, it becomes that much easier to leverage goodwill into brand-building through user-generated content.
Come up with a competition idea, a hashtag to go with it, and a creative goal for the consumer to pursue, and then set your audience loose; selfie sticks in hands, and dreams of fame in their hearts.
Whatever prize you happen to be offering will probably end up being secondary in the consumer’s priority list to the reward of having their faces spread far and wide as a part of the marketing of your overarching campaign.
The internet has ensured that everyone will get their 15 minutes (or seconds) of fame, and the novelty hasn’t yet worn off.
Make it about the audience, and they’ll jump at the chance to be a part of your promotional efforts.
Many business owners get nervous at the prospect of opening the door to reviews from a public that they have little-to-no control over.
It’s understandable; opening the door to public opinion opens the door to publicised complaints, and no one wants that. Problem is, you don’t have a choice about who says what about your brand, and if you’re not near the conversation, or even hosting it, you won’t know what’s being said.
The advantages of encouraging reviews (or providing a place for them on your website or in social media) from your audience is twofold:
While it can be an uphill battle to get your staff involved in your social media efforts, it is important to remember that employees are consumers too. If you don’t already, you will probably soon employ a few millennials (digital natives) whose familiarity with digital communication is an undeniable boon in this day-and-age. If their voices are authentic, your staff can engage your brand and your audience, both encouraging positive user-generated content, and being a source of it themselves.
Of course, tapping your staff in as social ambassadors for your brand requires that they understand your brand and its messaging, and that they actually feel like they are involved in the character of the brand on a fundamental level. Otherwise, their online interactions are unlikely to inspire much positive engagement.
The benefits of an inclusive company culture thus bleed over into perceptions of it on the social stage.
When all the techniques, tricks and tips are stripped away, encouraging user-generated content comes down to a lot more than any set of specific instructions. If you don’t want to be tripping over yourself in the attempt to get your public on board, you need an understanding of your audience, a philosophy of transparency, and an inclusive corporate culture. You need to know where your ideal consumer spends his/her time online, and what he/she aspires to.
Above all, never forget to engage the consumer as an equal, and make them feel appreciated.
For more information about how to encourage user-generated content, and leverage the digital space to benefit your brand-building efforts, contact Wetpaint Advertising today!