Scroll through Instagram. What do you see? A bunch of carefully crafted images, a wild usage of filters, and….wait…was that an ad? Yes, yes it was. How many times have you scrolled through one of those images without realizing they were, in fact, sponsored posts? This is the essence of user generated content marketing.
Social networks used to be purely engagement channels – a place to connect with your friends and acquaintances. Over the last few years, those social platforms have slowly shifted and turned into performance channels. Having a social media presence is essential for any brand to stay in touch with their supporters, solidify the brand’s identity, and to continue the online conversation that used to be limited to the company’s website.
Traditional advertising still exists, and it’s still effective if done right. However, there has been a recent a shift in emphasis from traditional advertising to social channels — a place where your customers are easily reachable, where targeting your demographic is made easy, and where people are already looking. The shift doesn’t stop there: social content has also evolved from a text-based experience to photos and videos.
How does this affect content strategy? New ad buying features on major social networks now provide metrics to evaluate the success of marketing campaigns, and user generated content has been proven to be more effective than brand generated content. Why? Consumers trust other consumers. You can publish a carefully curated and branded image on social media – fans will engage and respond accordingly. However, when you publish an image from consumer to consumer, the audience feels less like they are being marketed to, and more like they are getting a good recommendation from a friend.
The best way to gather this sort of content is to encourage participation in marketing campaigns to effectively engage consumers. This could be simple – a prize giveaway that requires photo submissions, for example. We always recommend you require your consumers to check off a box on the entry page that states they agree to let the brand use their image.
At Madison Mott, we are always armed with great user generated content, and ready to put it to good use! Through traditional and digital techniques, we generate the buzz and encourage consumer submissions, making sure to keep the excitement going by tagging the author of the image and acknowledging their contribution whenever we do use their image on our client’s social channels. Sure enough, their friends and family almost always follow their lead — proving that even in 2015, there is nothing like good word of mouth marketing.