User-generated content (UGC) and video is constantly growing
With the pandemic, video has been increasingly collaborative. Whether it’s zoom meetings, live-streamed events, or birthday parties in quarantine. UGC videos in different formats emerged as the cost-effective, authentic, and engaging marketing tactic for marketers. Online contests, challenges, virtual events, and even employee-generated content have increased in popularity ever since Covid-19 forced businesses to innovate and reach out to customers, employees, and stakeholders at home. It required them to get more personal and less sales-y.
Why brands should incorporate UGC videos into their marketing
By getting employees and brand managers to go live and post stories from home and interact with customers in live streams and challenges, brands tried to create a feeling of togetherness instead of traditional pushy marketing. This gave a face to the brand and stripped away the corporate feel. They focused on their customers and what they had to say through UGC campaigns. It led to a shift towards customer-centric marketing which increased trust and relatability, especially during a difficult time.
Customers, on the other hand, found themselves creating and sharing content to relieve themselves of boredom. With more time on their hands, 16% of people have been creating and sharing content during the pandemic while 51.7% of global users consumed some type of vlog content each month.
UGV is an effective way to use storytelling techniques and can be both engaging and educational. Visitors to a website that has a UGC gallery spend 90% more time on the site (Salesforce). Not only does it create valuable publicity for the brand, but it also leads to two-way conversations. There’s potential for any brand with an engaged community, both internally and externally.
5 ways your brand can start getting involved in UGC videos
1. Content marketing
Content marketing is the most obvious use case of UGC. Including UGC in the purchase path increases purchases by 10% (Salesforce). Brands use UGV to identify and share stories of their biggest fans and most loyal customers. It could be a challenge, give-away, or gamified Instagram filter. They can be used on the website, social media and in marketing e-mails (with permission, of course). It is excellent social proof and influences purchase decisions.
As brands faced budget cuts and content production had to be halted, they heavily relied on UGV to market products. It provides access to high-quality content at no cost for brands and humanizes a brand through relatable, and authentic content from real people. It brings the community together, gives them a sense of belonging, and is much more memorable.
2. Social commerce
E-commerce websites are increasingly using social media channels to market their products. E-commerce product pages have been using UGC in the form of reviews and ratings from customers but as social media becomes more than just a place of product discovery and includes in-app shopping features, social proof in the form of video reviews becomes crucial.
80% of people say Instagram helps them discover, research, and in making a decision to purchase a product. This is especially true for millennials and gen-z. Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest all added shopping features that got people shopping during the pandemic. The friction between these stages is reduced with all of it happening on the same platform. Real video reviews give customers a clear picture of the size, features, and use when they can’t see it for themselves in-store.
3. B2B testimonials and case studies
In the case of B2B, testimonials and case studies go a long way in attracting new customers. Happy clients are your best brand advocates and website and social media pages should feature them.
With UGV, case studies don’t have to be long and boring. Brands can get loyal clients to share their customer experience in their own words on video. They could even explain the challenges they faced and how the product or service helped resolve it. Video also serves as an easy way to educate and help a potential client understand what the product or service is all about. It shows a potential customer that you’re experienced and have worked with companies just like theirs. People like to do business with people and a video testimonial will put a face to the name, making it easier to trust a brand.
4. Cause-related marketing
Corporate social responsibility, cause-related marketing, and advocacy groups have their cause and mission at the center of any campaign. Whether that’s no animal testing, sustainability, or inclusivity, through the power of visual storytelling, these organizations can create impactful content to communicate to gain support.
Nonprofits and advocacy groups have limited budgets and resources so UGC becomes a cost and time-efficient tactic to drive marketing during covid. Relationship building at fundraisers is especially hard with restrictions on how many people can meet at a venue. UGV can effectively convey the message while creating an emotional connection with the viewer.
By getting the community to participate and highlighting stories of volunteers and beneficiaries, organizations can build credibility and trust. It can be amplified on social media as viewers tend to share content on their social media if it aligns with their personal morals.
5. Employee advocacy
Employees are representative of their brand and help form a perspective about the work culture. Employees are considered a credible source for learning about a company or organization by 40% of consumers, just behind CEOs who were trusted by 44%, indicating that internal voices help build external trust. In other words, employee experience can influence customers’ views.
As employees worked from home during the pandemic, internal communication teams found it a challenge to engage employees, and create a sense of belonging. Through virtual contests, challenges, and video messages, they found themselves relying on UGV, or rather EGV, to engage employees. Brands are trying to build a positive work culture through establishing bottom-up communications with video think tanks, video messages on milestone achievements, and other contributions. These videos are then compiled and shared on social media, websites, company newsletters, and groups.
According to Edelman Trust Barometer, people are more likely to find people like themselves to be a more credible source of information about a company when compared to a CEO. Individuals are keen on building their personal brands and it is mutually beneficial for organizations to provide an opportunity and a platform to do so.
Lockdowns may have been eased in many countries but these digital behaviors that we’ve grown accustomed to while being confined to our homes have led to meaningful and genuine communication between brands and customers. Loyal customers make it easier for brands to switch from paid influencer marketing to free, more authentic, and valuable publicity.
Consumers want to see more user-generated content and tools like Vloggi will help collect clips and automate the video editing process to upload anywhere with your branding. With different templates for video messages, contests, challenges, instant reactions, and testimonials, brands can leverage their community to run all kinds of UGC campaigns.