Did you post a comment suggesting on how your latest cellphone is less compatible with another app, you want to use badly ? or Did you just post a selfie on Facebook , sitting at your favorite restaurant and writing about what they served you ? If yes, you just generated some content for them which is fresh and transparent for the current and potential users.
With the ever rising cost of promotional campaigns and digitization around all the fields of marketing and promotion, the trends have become more ephemeral and less persisting. With the innovative yet riskier customer engagements, companies have created new ways to interact with the customer when subtly promoting their brands.
Where customers have turned more socially active and look for more reviews and feedbacks, companies are escalating their engagements with customers to create a two way conversation on social media. We are talking about, User Generated Content.
What is this User Generated Content or the UGC?
You might have seen people posting and going all gaga about what they think the product or the idea or may be the experience offered by an entity stands for; what does it hold the best and where does that go disappointing. What is happening basically that user, after using any product or service, are now posting about the same on social media or may be on the companyâ€™s website to register their response.
These responses are coming in the forms of ideas for new launch or may be suggestions for improvising. Users are active in telling the world what is there in the offering, what should have been and what is redundant.
The Companyâ€™s Insight
Why would companies ask or let customers do it? Promotional efforts. Yes you got it right for obvious reasons it enhance your visibility in the internet space in general and social media space in particular. UGC has turned out to be a great way of carrying out subtle promotions since 2005. With exponential proliferation of internet and extreme interest in user to find social presence, users take no time in opinionating through texts, pictures or may be videos about the latest offerings. UGC is emerging as a low cost, two-way, strikingly dynamic and high ROIC – promotional strategy.
Firms now believe in democratization of customersâ€™ say. This probably brought more transparency which in turn leads to trust. Customers get involved in spreading what they believe in and on seeing that they are being heard, they respond with utmost sincerity.
Still… whatâ€™s there in it for the Users?
Well, users are generating the content for many reasons. From a big fat social recognition on social media page to some incentives and rewards, people indulge in such activities as these are transparent, worth contributing for and let them pursue two-way conversation with the company.
YouTube became a great example when it comes to UGC. Users turned into producer of their content, started their own channels and eventually produced lot of content online. Users do want to be popular and loved online and thatâ€™s exactly what UGC fetches them. Users create, share and popularize their own content to achieve the same benefiting the brand.
How do they do it?
It could be online competitions to get the best innovative ideas or selfie submissions to claim to be a user of the company product. Companies indulge in such content generation to get the quality content out of the loyal users. To cater to these users and their responses, companies need to respond with equal responsibility. The benefits companies get out of these activities are primarily fresh content and that too at minimal cost.
Fresh content is provided by the Users who tend to generate the ideas and suggestions even in terms of complaints that help firms to get the nuances of the features where the offering is lacking or can be improvised. That apart the cost of such an activity is very low. Least investment required as most of the content is generated online on social media or on forums.
Firms have striven to achieve their goal of generating quality content through rather a low cost yet more effective and engaging way of UGC. Users attained the position where they had the power of expression, authority to deny or approve and independence to complain. This new Win-Win situation so created by the firm let the users decide what they want and how they want it. Firms try to comply or at least take the quality content out of it and do some mining to pave the way for its future offerings.
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Easy it might seem to us when users are keeping the ideas in their arsenal and companies are aiming the arrow but, inviting, receiving, sieving and finally executing the same gets even more audacious for the companies. Users will keep on generating their content and to maintain the same, companies would need to be more responsive to continue a two-way communication and incentivize the content creator. Finally, when companies are promoting through engagements, the ultimate goal to promote with improvisation at low cost, unlike the traditional media, customer reach has to be achieved to build and sustain the UGC.
Our Guest contributor, Akshay Agrawal isÂ currently pursuing PGDMÂ from IIM Indore Class of 2016 and aspires toÂ make it big in the field of marketing in general and digital marketing in particular.Â