Scenario: you’re an independent optician and want to promote your practice, so how do you go about this? Hire a photographer to take stylish shots of the frames and lenses available, your optical equipment, premises and team? If you’ve got a healthier marketing budget, maybe you want to bring in a videographer to record you talking about what you offer and what makes you different? Neither of these options are wrong per se, but there’s another string that you can add to your marketing bow which can be more cost-effective and impactful if managed well: User-Generated Content (UGC).
According to the data [Photoslurp], UGC is five times more likely to lead to conversions than slick photos, videos and copy. There are several reasons for this, starting with the fact that buyers are highly motivated by other shoppers’ experiences and therefore more likely to click through and make a purchase if a product or service has been highly recommended by real, trustworthy consumers like themselves. Take Amazon, for example: who isn’t swayed by the reviews in some way, whether they’re glowing or scathing? The same applies to services, with potential consumers checking Google reviews before deciding whether to contact the company for further information or to book a consultation.
The visual effect of UGC is also extremely powerful. Having been bombarded with glossy marketing campaigns for years, the public has become somewhat desensitized to them. However, now they’re seeing more and more content created by their fellow consumers. It immediately resonates with them because it’s raw and has obviously been produced by authentic brand advocates whose stamp of approval hasn’t been sponsored by the company or a PR agency.
When it comes to UGC on social media, it’s a match made in heaven. With over 3 billion users worldwide [Global Digital Report 2018], the desire to share our opinions online on our latest purchases, restaurants, politics, sports, holidays and so on, plus debate similar viewpoints from other people, is getting stronger by the day. Each platform is used differently and their audience has their own set of expectations – longer, more emotional status updates on Facebook, appealing images on Pinterest and Instagram, pithy text on Twitter about real-time issues – but the common thread is wanting to discuss our experiences and curiosity in those of others. While this is nothing new (journaling wasn’t exactly popularised by millennials), social media has given us all a global platform to shout about the good, bad and ugly things that happen in our daily lives.
Lastly, content creation can be a costly exercise, which involves careful copywriting, skilled photography and videography and marketing strategies to name just a few of the tasks required. Making UGC part or all of the plan means lower costs because businesses are simply sourcing suitable content and sharing it. Of course, it depends on how much UGC is being used, which can range from the occasional post, a specific campaign with a unique hashtag or an entire feed dedicated to consumers’ output.
Going back to the independent optician, how could they implement UGC to their advantage? Even on a small budget with a modest audience, creating a hashtag campaign asking their followers to tag the company in photos could lead to more engagement. In this case, something like #WhatISee or #ThroughMyEyes could work by encouraging people to show a familiar scene with a different spin, such as a cool object which caught their attention en route to work. If you need any guidance in translating this for your business, we can speak your language.