User Generated Content (UGC) : 3 Reasons You Should Just Do It

User Generated Content or UGC is any content contributed by people (let’s call them fans of a brand) instead of the brands themselves.   Fans create and share a series of videos, pictures or tweets showcasing themselves with the brand through the use of social media and blogs.  Judging by how almost every one of the user generated content goes viral easily and how effectively it captures the attention of a wide audience, UGC is often heralded as the game changer in marketing.

Why should brands use it?

“The next wave of the Web is going to be user-generated content.” – John Doerr, Venture Capitalist.

UGC is such a great way to spark desire among people new to your brand and to build long term relationships with your loyal fans. What ever your goals are, UGC is a powerful tool to create a meaningful relationship between your brand and your fans.

Here are more reasons to look into UGC:

  1. A showcase of your brand 
    Going into UGC, especially through smart online contest and campaigns, opens up a whole new dimension to your brand.  As fans share stories of themselves interacting with your brand, it allows others to see how they could potentially engage with your brand, too.  It plants an idea in their head. It starts a conversation.  It piques curiosity and leads to questions like,  “What is this brand all about? Maybe, I too, can have that much of fun with it?”  It showcases your brand in a new light and personalize connections to your brand. Leveraging on your fans’ stories about your products and services, you get to wow people with a funny, new or distinct features you may have.

    More than that, good reviews about your brand help raise your SEO rankings.  It’s simple.  The more people post and hashtag (read more about Hootsuite’s tips on using a hashtag) about you, the higher chance it is for you to appear on the top of searches.  Being highly visible and trusted by search engines like Google and others, will work favorably to your brand.  It increases credibility, boosts lead generation and shortens your sales cycle.

    All these put your brand at the forefront. Translating, of course, to higher purchases and increase in revenue.

    Key game-changing point:  Leverage on your fans and their amazing stories about your brand. Build a strong platform and align your online contest and campaigns to their contents. In return, you will enjoy greater publicity and receive more sales opportunities.

  2. A powerful community 
    Behind every successful brand, is a community of passionate fans.  They are those who love talking about your products and services.  Take for instance, Apple.  What makes it a brand supremo?   It’s not just the IPhone product itself. More than that, it’s the thriving band of passionate followers who has build their identity around the Apple I-phones and are willing to queue for days outside Apple stores before the release .

    Your brand community provides a platform for your fans to engage with you and others. They are able to connect with like-minded folks and ask questions, share ideas and solve any problems.  Through these interactions, they are empowered to influence.

    In the community, real life stories are shared.  These authentic testimonials about your brand  convinces and converts way better than slimy marketing tactics.  Point is, people trust people more, which is why, a survey found that 92% of people are more likely to trust a recommendation from another person over branded content,

    Seth Godin, the author and marketer rightfully points out that “you only need 1,000 true fans to build a tribe around your brand”.  Start today to build your community.

    Key game-changing point:  Build your strong community today.  It’ll turn fans to fierce advocates of your brand and it is a fail-proof way to convert many more into believers of your brand.

  3. A cost effective strategy
    The wonderful thing about UGC is that it is run by your fans.  Their contributions fuel the conversations around and does the “marketing” for you.  Marketers often save big bucks on ads and other campaigns that may or may not draw the attention it desires.

    Key game-changing point:  Leverage on your fans’ stories but complement it with the right reward system.  This encourages a stream of loyal contributors and inspire new people to contribute their contents towards your brand.

Here are some examples of brands that rock in UGC marketing:

Krispy Kreme

Picture Source: TINT

One of  TINT’s greatest success was to turn the all time American doughnut giant, Krispy Kreme into a visually and interactive brand, appealing to not only their traditional  set of audience, but to the millenials, as well.  Transforming the website, in-store and social media, the campaign gathered more than 36 million impressions and three thousand aggregated posts.

Read more about it from its original source:  https://www.tintup.com/resources/case-studies/krispy-kreme

Starbucks

Source: Anna, Toronto Canada, Starbucks Stories & News

Who have not heard about the Starbucks’ #RedCupContest? Or the #WhiteCupContest?  Both campaigns invite fans to submit photos of  their creative take on the Starbucks cups in return for a chance to win gifts and have the best entry design be the template for new limited edition cups.  It sent fans (and non-fans) into a frenzied doodling, snapping away pictures of their creative cups and taking over the social media by storm.   The campaigns gathered close to 40,000 photos in just three weeks. A great way to earn publicity, indeed.

Air Asia

airasia

This Malaysian low cost carrier definitely has a creative way to increase its followers.  Winner of ‘Best Social Media Engagement‘ award in 2015, Air Asia used Facebook extensively and creatively to increase it’s followers.

One of its most successful campaign, “Air Asia Friendsy” was launched back in 2012.  It invited fans to participate in a challenge to fill up 302 seats of Airbus that flew from Sydney to Kuala Lumpur with friends.  The winning entry will receive free flights for himself – along with his 302 friends, too!

Below is the excerpt from the Social Media Business Performance study on Air Asia’s marketing strategy:

Within the two days of being live, the contest had more than 4,000 users. As of May 15, 2012, there were more than 11,000 completed entries and the contest increased the Facebook page by 20,000 “Likes”.

It grew from local, to national to international news, generating Public Relation (PR) value of $1,627,593 on a $80,000 marketing campaign.

The campaign grew the Air Asia Facebook fan base by 30%. The competition received 12,500 entries and reached 2,291,483 people on Facebook, which is a whopping 20% of Australians using Facebook.

Now, everyone can truly be part of the AirAsia family.

All preceding benefits of UGC leads to one : to influence purchasing decisions.  How have your brand use this powerful marketing tool?  Do share by leaving a comment below.

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Driving Engagements through Interactive Content

interactive
Picture Courtesy of Angelo Moleele @unsplash

It was opined, as far back as 1995, that interactive marketing is the future of digital advertising and e-commerce.  Since that significant shift from traditional marketing strategy, interactive marketing made great strides in helping brands engage better with their consumers. 

Not surprising then, that interactive content became the all important elixir to interactive marketing, especially contents that engage, convince and convert the audience. With IoT, 5G, Big data and AI to come, we can only expect exciting times ahead for quality interactive content.

Related: Read about MarTech’s prediction of the top 5 Content Marketing Trends For 2020


Making a Mark 

You probably have seen many interactive content throughout the day. Perhaps some info-graphics while browsing through websites or video advertisements while looking through your news feeds in Facebook. Broadly put, interactive marketing uses any interactive content to enable customers to interact with the brand, including (but not limited to):

  • Interactive storytelling
  • Interactive Info-graphics
  • Quizzes
  • Games
  • Videos
  • Polls/Surveys
  • Email campaigns

These interactions provide the crucial data brands need to journey together with their customers.  The data help brands track their customer behavior, device marketing plans and style their products and services offerings to suit their customers’ wants.  Better understanding leads to greater customer satisfaction and thus, mapping the path to loyal customers.

Many brands engage content marketers to evaluate the right communication channel and create campaigns that will perform well. Content marketers help brands achieve higher SEO rankings, ensure the right balance in the consumption and absorption of content and most importantly, create the right User-Generated Content (UGC) to generate better brand experience.

Exactly, how powerful is interactive content? Well, 64% of consumers say watching video on Facebook has influenced a purchase decision of theirs in the last month.  Plus, people are said to have the ability to recall 65% of the visual content that they see almost three days later.

Here’s a look at some examples of great interactive contents:

Survey / Quiz 
Marriot’s website provided a fun way to families planning for a get-away to Scottsdale, Arizona. Based on their answers to the questions, Marriot’s interactive graphics suggest places to visit.

Interactive Website 
Designed by VGNC company, this website introduced APPS’ flagship product apple cider (liquor) in a cool way. You can create a memorable cider producing experience through few easy clicks. I love this, simply because it’s not an ‘in-your-face’ kind of advert that aggressively  pushes its product.  Instead, it lulls you into an experiential journey of plucking, squeezing and pouring your very own cider.

Related: 20 Best Interactive and Fun Website Examples 2019 

Interactive Email 
A surprising element will do wonders for any boring marketing email.  For example, a pop up box featuring the summer drink menu from the company Pret, is a nice “surprise” as it pops up once the email is opened.  Definitely a welcomed departure from the usual marketing emails we receive.

Or book a ride with Penguin Random House on a journey to find out what new books they have in store.  All it takes is to scroll down the email and click on the respective cities’ button – which makes it low in interaction barrier and delightfully surprising, as you’ll discover different new books in each city.

Related : 5 Ways to Integrate interactive marketing into email marketing 

Developing solid interactive content has become a must for any brand now.  What have your brand been doing to cut through the noise and better engage, educate and entertain your customers? Do leave me a comment below.

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Are You Ready to Freelance?

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

What a privilege to contribute to Jobstore last month on a topic close to my heart. Check out the full article at Jobstore’s Career Blog 

August, here we come! 

 

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Lessons from a classic advert

cliff-johnson--uaOnCFb9bU-unsplash

Photo by Cliff Johnson on Unsplash

I remembered watching this particular advertisement when I was a kid. They had this catchy slogan- style, quality, excellence– that’s stuck in my head, even till this very day.

Well, never mind that the product they were advertising was highly inappropriate –  cigarettes (gasp!).  But man, do these words ring true! I have, throughout my writing life, often reminded myself, how crucial it is to deliver a top-notch work that reflects these very same words.

So, what is style?
The good news is, one’s writing style is not something you are born with.  It can be learned.  To develop your own style, begin by harnessing what is inside you – your innate personality and capabilities.  Develop your own voice and tone. (This calls for a separate blog another day).  Think about who you are writing for,  imagine what they are like and how you want them to respond to what you write.  Keep your words simple –  free from grammatical,  sentence construction and spelling errors.  Keep it real.  Don’t force another’s style into your writing or you will end up with incoherent ramblings.

Someone once told me to always write authentically.   Be yourself when you write, they said. Right. But, as a novice writer, where (and how) in the world am I supposed to find my own style? Thankfully, after hundreds of drafts, I believe I’ve found my groove; a style that principally identifies with me.  The key is to let the passion inside of you exude into your work and influence your choice of words.  Allow what we write to be enriched by our beliefs, our experiences and even our eccentric expressions.

What about quality content?
Did you read about how Apple is planning to invest over US$1 billion on original content? Or how the other big players Google, Facebook and Amazon are each spending significant dollars on original video contents, too? The future of content marketing trend is all about consistent, original and addictive content!

In writing, original contents are in demand. Organisations look for that special breed of  writers whom understands and turn unique ideas into results. These writers help establish organisations as experts in their niche and help widen their influence.  Original contents garner more mentions, shares, likes in the social media and gets you the attention quicker than any other reshared or copied content.

Excellence- at the heart of every writer
I rarely release any work without first going through my toughest critic – me.  I diligently complete my drafts, rereading and scraping away ideas that didn’t quite made sense after a second read.  I love my readers, so I made a point to connect with them by writing something they’ll enjoy reading.  Facts are researched responsibly and inspirations are caught from reading, interactions and even watching some television. Excellence, too is that incredible willingness to work hard- to have the discipline to sit down every morning to write even when the flesh is weak.

How do you find your style? Where do you find your inspirations for quality content? What habits do you instill to be a good writer? Share by leaving a comment below.

 

 

 

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Excuse me, can you spell?

2018-10-26 11.11.44

Remember back in school? How the teachers made us write 20 word corrections for every wrong word in a spelling test? Oh, how we dreaded those days! 

I mean, back in our school days, spelling was the least of our concern. As long as our sentences made sense, and we got the facts right, who would mind a couple of misspelt words, right?  

Wrong.  

As I write more, I became acutely aware of how important spelling is.  To borrow a baker’s expression: good spelling is like the beautiful icing on a cake – decorated to be pleasing to the eyes and lends a tinge of sweetness to the cake.  Similarly in a story, good spelling gives a sense of grandiose to the tale. It captures the reader’s attention as it takes them flawlessly into a world of imagination. It helps create a flow without halting the story unnecessarily. 

Now, try reading something riddled with spelling errors. 

“Oncee apon a tine, they was a famili of rabits that luv to hont for juicy carotts in Farrmer Billy’s vegitable farm.  They will go out in the evenins; in the rain, in the sun, in the planes where there’s lots of fun. ” 

Difficult to read, wasn’t it? And almost, impossible to enjoy it.      

No room for error 
Have you browsed a corporate website and discovered it is filled with spelling errors and grammatical mistakes?  In Branding Beat, Krysten Ledger wrote that “Studies have shown that just one spelling mistake on a website can cut a company’s online sales in half.”  Naturally.   If a company cares little about presenting their best on the website, which includes, getting their spelling and grammar right, then you can expect that they wouldn’t care much too about the quality of service or products they are offering. 

Correspondents riddled with bad punctuation and spelling mistakes are dreadful to read. Often bad spelling thwarts the meaning of the message.  Look at emails, memos, letters- all infiltrated by short forms (or I like to call them short-cuts) of the English language.  You’ll find words, such as “uolls – you all”, “bcoz” –  because,  “pse – please”, “tq – thank you” among others, commonly used in short messaging system but certainly unacceptable in formal correspondents. 

In business there’s just no room for error in spellings and short-cuts to words as the brand image is at stake.  It pays to get a polished write up that presents you and your brand in the best way possible. 

Loose it or lose it? 
Surely the fail-proof auto-spelling check function in the computer is a big help?  Believe it or not, it has betrayed me on numerous occasions.  Once, in a haste, I wrote an article about the need to move forward and loose the negativity.  Yes, you spotted it.  It should’ve been “lose” the negativity.  There was also the time when I wrote about big rad apples instead of “red” apples.  Both these words escaped the auto-spelling check which accepted them as correct, despite not being rightly used in its context.  If you ask me, I’ll say, lose the auto-spelling check.  A more effective way to spot spelling mistakes is to read the article over and over again, preferably by a different set of eyes – hence, the “four eye” principle.  Read and check the words in its context. Spot the error while preserving the meaning of the sentence and keeping the story in its entirety. 

Could it save lives?
I wouldn’t dare say that a great spelling save lives.  But close enough, it saves you from awkward and embarrassing situations.  I once had a friend who lost her loved one, and she posted her great sense of loss on the social media.  A well-meaning tribute came in. But, it sounded terribly wrong.  It went like this,  “We feel so sad about your loss. May his sole rest in peace”.   

What do you think?  Have you had your encounter with misspelt words? Share with me by leaving a comment below.  

 

 

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Understanding Academic Writing

Aiding the Writing-Stalled Professor by Joli Jensen is a good read. You’ll discover that academic writing or not, we writers have the same struggles.  Get some great tips to write better here.

Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education

 

 

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How NOT to write

I have to share this. Wickedly brilliant! If you do engage me to write, I solemnly promise I’ll do better than this 🙂

Credit: Mark Angel

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