While most marketers, public relations pros and businesses understand the extent to which brand content influences how a brand is seen an perceived online— and if they don’t they really should sort that out— less people appreciate how significant User Generated Content (UGC) is. And the importance goes well beyond merely being visible in the land of www.
From advertising to PR reputation management is one of the fundamental differences between a campaign working, and falling on deaf ears. Let’s say Company X breaks the mould with a new stunt; Company X is going nowhere if it’s name is mud. Firms have triumphed and gone bust on the say-so of their reputations, irrespective of what they have to sell.
So how does UGC effect reputation management? Perhaps it’s easiest if we start by listing some examples of UGC:
*Reviews on sites such as TripAdvisor or Amazon
*Social media posts
*Streamed Q&A audience participation
*Photos and videos
Obviously the above are only considered UGC if they were created by someone other than the brand itself, or any agency working with the brand.
In each case there’s one intention— showcasing what the brand has to offer from the user perspective, for example in the form of written feedback or a clip of a product or service in action.
Millennials and UGC
When people think of UGC they usually link it to millennials. Like this lovely lot below… look how happy, carefree and plugged-in they all are…
It’s certainly true that millennials love UGC. According to a study by Crowdtap and Ipsos, stuff made by their peers is 35% more memorable than content from brands, and considered 50% more reliable by this demographic. However, it’s also worth noting that:
90% of shoppers are influenced by UGC
70% of the time consumers can identify between brand and UGC content
60% of all consumers consider UGC more authentic than brand content
Reputation management and UGC
It’s therefore logical that UGC impacts overall brand reputation management. If people are talking about Company X in a positive way online, leaving great reviews and sharing videos of the amazing whatever they bought from said company, then Company X is going to be viewed in a positive light.
What’s most important when it comes to understanding the extent to which reputation management now relies on UGC, though, are numbers like these:
76% of people will post on social media after a positive purchasing experience of food or drink
52% of people post on social media at least once a month about something they have purchased
Companies seen to have excellent reputation management are therefore always customer-focussed— which means being highly responsive across all channels, and considering the purchaser’s perspective and experience at all times, whether that’s the buying journey or ensuring you have a decent bot set up to deal with online queries.
But did you also know that…
81% of people would be willing to spend more with a company that had positive UGC compared with lower priced alternatives that had none?