As the saying goes “your brand is what people say about you,” and in today’s interconnected world our audience has a lot to say! Due to the influence of word of mouth, our audience has gained more power over our brand than ever before, but instead of running for the hills, let’s make the most of user generated content to help build our brand.

Harness User Generated Content to Increase Brand Awareness

User generated content is particularly useful in raising brand awareness and drawing in new customers during the discovery stage of the sales funnel. Video camera manufacturer GoPro is one brand that has benefited from user generated content and used this to reach a wider audience by showing us the versatility of their cameras as they are put to the test by their customers.

Harness User Generated Content to Build Brand Trust

Endorsements from peers are an influential tool in building brand trust. Our audience is more likely to trust messages coming from their peers than from our own marketing or sales department. Social media monitoring tools (such the ones we offer here at Meltwater) enable us to cut through the noise and zero-in on positive user generated content that we can then promote in our communications. Reviews and forum comments are a great source of user generated content. They also show that our brand is transparent. As a result, customer reviews and comments are key factors in driving purchase intent. Addressing negative comments is also a great way to rebuild trust as it shows that we’re genuine about our brand promise and committed to responsive customer service.

Harness User Generated Content for Storytelling

We’re most likely to warm to a brand that we feel we have a personal connection to. What better way to create a connection than through the authentic voices of our customers. Phone network provider Three ran a campaign apologising for holiday spam. The #holidayspam ads are humorous, relevant, and creative. Moreover, the fact that the campaign has an obvious and fitting hashtag gives the audience a reason to engage and contribute to the story, which keeps Three’s bank of user generated content growing and growing.

Measuring user generated content

What constitutes the successful application of user generated content in marketing? That depends on our goals. For example if we’re trying to build storytelling into our brand, then the use of images showing how our customers make our product their own aligns well to our stragtegy. But what about the kinds of hard numbers that our executives love? The use of media intelligence tools to benchmark our brand’s share of voice, sentiment, and reach allows us to quantify and visualise campaigns featuring user generated content.

What are your best examples of user generated content? Let us know in the box below!