Consumer skepticism is nothing new. Consumers have always been leery of the hard sell. And now with influencer marketing hotter than ever, it’s even more clear that consumers will trust customer reviews over traditional advertising.
Savvy brands who realize this are pivoting by tapping into the influencer trend and building brand trust through user generated content.
User generated content (UGC) features real people who use the product, which makes it more authentic to consumers. Here are three ways brands are leveraging UGC to appeal to their consumers.
1. Branded Hashtags
Hashtags are a great way to nurture UGC. Create a hashtag that centers around your brand (e.g. company name, product, or campaign). It can be creative, but make sure consumers can still easily trace it back to your brand.
Related Post: How to Boost Your Brand’s Growth With Hashtag Marketing
Have your consumers use the hashtag whenever they post pictures with your products like Wayfair does below.
This is a great technique because it allows for real customer testimonials. However, if you’re not careful, things can get sticky when reposting a consumer’s personal content and pictures. Before you repost, you need the consumer's consent plus give credit in the caption like Wayfair does.
Another great way to utilize hashtags are through contests. Do you know anyone who would pass on an opportunity to win free stuff? (If you do, I’m sorry, but that’s just weird.)
Borden Cheese sees the value in contests. Last year they launched a Culinary Creations Sweepstakes. The contest encouraged customers to use Borden Cheese to create something fun with food, and then share it on Instagram for a chance to win prizes.
After the sweepstakes was over, Borden not only got a boost in brand awareness, but a surplus of UGC.
Related Post: How to Build Brand Awareness With Mobile Video
Borden Cheese isn’t the only brand taking advantage of this type of UGC. Not too long ago, Oreo had some fun with consumers, too.
Consumers were allowed to voice their opinions on Oreo flavors through Twitter using the hashtag: #MyOreoCreation. By pitching their ideas, they were eligible to win $5,000. Seriously, who would pass on that?
The best part: Oreo rewarded fans with their creations. Whether it was an avocado Oreo or a unicorn Oreo, they made it happen. (No, Larry Kim was not the face behind the unicorn idea.)
3. Product Packaging
Have you heard of Jones Soda and their unique product packaging? They’re letting their customers be a part of the branding.
Source: Jones Soda
To have your picture used on a Jones Soda bottle you can submit it to their photo gallery and if it gets enough votes it’ll be used. (Or you can have custom bottles made just for you.)
Their entire brand is in the hands of their users.They practically saw the UGC trend coming from a mile away.
Now, getting past the new soda tax will be a struggle in itself. But as for UGC, Jones Soda might be in the lead. They give hope to all the small businesses out there.
We already know reviews can make or break your brand. I mean come on, that’s how user generated content became a part of marketing strategies.
These are just a few UGC examples to get your creative juices flowing. By implementing these UGC strategies you can potentially increase awareness and sales for your brand, too.