It’s pretty hard these days to put together a digital marketing campaign without a user-generated content (UGC) layer built-in. At the very least we ask our users to share offers with their friends on sites like Twitter and Facebook.
What Is User Generated Content?
User generated content is a broad term used to describe content that is uploaded to the internet. It generally encompasses a wide range of digital media including “question-answer databases, digital video, blogging, podcasting, forums, review-sites, social networking, social media, mobile phone photography and wikis”.
For the purpose of this post we’ll talk about user-generated content as it relates to your business.
What makes UGC such a hot topic these days? As new platforms and APIs become available, marketers have the ability to create more targeted UGC efforts. These tools allow for easier engagement with lower barriers to entry. As a result we are seeing more powerful campaigns with deeper levels of engagement.
Just look at what Olapic is doing for its customers. Olapic is a platform that eliminates a lot of the pains you might encounter from manually curating photos on Instagram. Its features include duplication detection, analytics, multiple ways for users to submit photos and multiple ways to integrate the photos into your site. Offerpop is another solution if you’re looking for a more all-inclusive marketing platform. They provides multiple types of UGC in the form of video/photo contests, voting, caption contests and more.
User generated content platforms are also getting more sophisticated in the form of social data platforms that simplify the pains of working with multiple APIs to aggregate social feeds. Company’s like DataSift and Gnip offer services that give developers access to a ton of social data in more digestible chunks. This enables marketers to extract deep insights from what was previously unmanageable data.
We’ve gone beyond traditional UGC efforts in the form of Yelp reviews and blog comments and begun to enable users to engage through social channels at a deeper level where they are already active. A properly run UGC campaign can be an endless wealth of free content not to mention an invaluable source of real-time consumer insights.
There’s also something to said about the consumer benefits of UGC campaigns. You’re recognizing and enabling community members to express themselves, earn rewards, become famous and have a little fun. In a world where consumers have more control over a brands image, embracing this movement creates long-lasting connections and increases overall loyalty.
With so many opportunities for exciting and engaging user-generated content efforts it can be easy to fall into the same old traps. We need to move beyond just asking people to share things and encourage more authentic engagement.