April 12, 2017

Marketing and branding leaders are in the midst of a revolution. The rise of social media, user generated content, and product reviews are empowering customers to mold a company’s brand, whether the brand likes it or not. Consumers no longer look solely to company websites and advertisements for product information. In fact, they’re rejecting traditional marketing altogether. Overproduced advertisements, videos, and stock photos are being replaced with authentic product reviews, video testimonials, and user generated photos, which the marketing world has adopted as user generated content (UGC).


In an age where shoppers crave authenticity, many companies are including UGC in their brand awareness campaigns to save money on photo shoots, amplify authentic marketing efforts, and to gain access to high quality content at scale. Here are a couple of our favorite examples.


Purple Inc.

Purple, an online mattress company, is using UGC to increase online sales. Purple has an entire section on its website menu dedicated to customer reviews. For most consumers, purchasing a mattress is a big investment. They are expensive, you spend a lot of time using it, and most people keep their mattresses for decades. Purple used UGC to ease any concerns that online shoppers might have when making such a big investment. Purple also creatively uses user-generated photos and videos in social media ads as a way to get this product feedback in front of the right people at the right time. The ads show real people sitting on or attempting to smash eggs into the mattress to prove its absorbance. Check it out for yourself!


Cheap Caribbean

Our friends at Cheap Caribbean were looking for an alternative to expensive photo shoots when promoting its destinations. Because people love to post pictures of themselves having a fabulous time on vacation, Cheap Caribbean adopted a branding campaign to legally repurpose traveler’s photos in its marketing efforts. To prevent any legal issues, Cheap Caribbean uses our UGC platform to legally request the rights to photos and videos at scale. As a result, they’ve seen a substantial increase in brand awareness with a 3x increase in Instagram followers and a 2x increase in Facebook likes. Check out their truly authentic, user-generated photos on Instagram and see for yourself!


If you have a great product, service or industry, people are likely posting about it on social media. Harness the authenticity of UGC to enhance your next branding campaign. Here are a few tips to get you started.


Organic Earned Media

If you already have a strong brand and customer community, scour social media to see what your fans are posting organically. Reach out to them, let them know you love their photo or video and ask if you can reuse it. With the right UGC system, you’ll be able to distribute that image anywhere, from organic social to paid media. . We’ve found that once the community realizes that they will get recognized, they will start to post more branded UGC to try and get your attention and possibly be featured by the brand. Their network will see all of these activities along the way and the majority will follow suit.


Social Influencers

A new way to increase brand awareness is to reach out to an influencer in your space about promoting your product or service. An ideal social influencer is a person with a decent social following (we see this a lot on Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest) that fits your buyer personas. The makeup industry is excellent at this. We’ve seen many makeup brands target YouTubers or video bloggers to do a makeup tutorial with their product. Since UGC videos are 10X more popular than brand created video content, using UGC via social influencers is a great way to build brand awareness.


Hashtag Contests

If your audience needs a little push to post branded photos, incentivize them with a contest. Our friends at Universal Pictures created a fun hashtag contest for the premier of the movie The Secret Life of Pets. A hashtag also makes it easy for your team to source and request the user-generated photos and videos. Engage your audience, and turn your customers into content creators.


Tapping into your Target Market

Is there  an abundance of content being posted around your industry (travel and hospitality are great examples), but your brand isn’t particularly being tagged? Try requesting content from within the space and reposting with photo credit. This will help you stand out and also put you on the radar of people that are clearly spending money in your industry.

We hope these tips help guide your newfound brand strategy with UGC. Reaching out to the right influencers and generating communal excitement around your brand will strengthen all future marketing and advertising efforts, something every brand marketer is looking to achieve. If you think your team is ready for a ShareRoot demo of our UGC platform, click below to schedule one today.


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