Content marketing is a powerful advertising channel because it simultaneously promotes the brand and provides audiences with valuable information that will inform their future decision-making processes.
This is not, however, to say that this approach is an easy one. The modern marketing climate is complex and growing numbers of consumers are finding it increasingly difficult to navigate through swathes of sponsored content to find information they view as being authentic and trustworthy. There is now a sea of brands partnering with online influencers, sponsoring Instagram posts and conducting social media ad campaigns and, frankly, it can be hard to effectively and consistently portray an authentic image via influencer marketing.
So, if effective influencer marketing campaigns are so difficult to execute well, are there any equally powerful alternative strategies that brands and businesses can look at? At a time when authenticity is essential, user-generated content (UGC) might prove to be the answer for many brands.
What is user-generated content?
Many marketers view UGC as the future of marketing, and for good reason. Not only does it provide consumers with easy access to authentic advertising, but it is also a strategy that every business has the ability to execute.
By definition, UGC is content that has been produced by a user who has not received financial compensation. Essentially, this means that a brand’s audience are the people actively producing the content that is then shared across key social platforms, YouTube, brand blogs and company websites.
Instagram has become a major hub for UGC because it allows users to share both still images and video content. Most businesses embarking on a UGC strategy will begin by launching a campaign that will encourage their audience to tag them in content about a specific product or service. This content can be anything from a YouTube video to a blog post, tweet, or Instagram post. From here the brand will take this content and integrate it into their overall marketing efforts.
There are a range of benefits that can come from sharing UGC. Audiences often feel significantly more connected to the content they are engaging with because it feels so much more authentic than the slick and typically hyper-curated content that has historically been published by brands and advertisers.
Another significant advantage is that a UGC content strategy won’t require a significant financial investment because brands won’t have to pay to produce the content they will go on to share.
Notably, UGC isn’t solely reserved for B2C businesses. Employee generated content can deliver remarkable results in the B2B landscape. As this type of content is more likely to be widely shared, it can help B2B marketers showcase the authenticity of the business to other companies.
Why should my business utilise user-generated content?
When a business chooses to share UGC, an immediate sense of community is established with its audience. These relationships are extremely important and identifying ways to nurture these connections will help business owners to set their brand apart from the competition.
Simply delivering overly-curated content in an attempt to sell more product runs the risk of not resonating in the right ways with audiences. Conversely, research conducted in 2017  illustrates that authenticity is something that almost 90% of users take into consideration when they are making purchasing decisions. As almost 60% of those asked stated that they didn’t think brands were producing content that was authentic, pursuing strategies that will help to portray a credible brand image is vital.
As innovation continues to progress at ever-increasing speeds, businesses are being faced with a range of new challenges. With these challenges comes unparalleled opportunity, and our team here at Clifford Associates can help you to unlock your business potential and resource senior professionals with the knowledge and skillset you need to thrive in competitive marketplaces.
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