As traditional marketers examine where their audience is going, they are starting to look at the Social Web and its abundant and ever-expanding amount of User-Generated Content (UGC). UGC is quickly becoming the name of the game in the social media and marketing spheres. UGC, a plentiful and often untapped resource, can be a powerful marketing tool if used correctly.
In a recent Ad Age article, “Most Define User-Generated Content Too Narrowly”, Jimmy Wales and Andrea Weckerle discuss how UGC enables brands to interact and engage with their customers on an unprecedented scale. What brands need to learn is how to utilize this resource. Instead of focusing on “chaotic, disorderly, and unrestrained message boards”, brands should turn to “well-cultivated spaces such as wikis and blogs that are monitored by the community”, and therefore have some genuine caché. These spaces will enable legitimate and extensive opportunities to build your brand, all at a comparable price versus traditional brand advertising venues.
Wales and Weckerle present compelling case studies of UGC campaigns that successfully generate buzz. The takeaway: create a simple yet engaging platform and your users will come, create, and spread the word. So what does this mean for brands?
Companies should address and embrace UGC venues and incorporate them into their overall marketing strategies. Brands are recognizing that their consumers are living on the Social Web and that they need to create marketing strategies around them. By leveraging the power of UGC, brands encourage their consumers to create, discuss, and evaluate the brand, and the consumers ultimately become the brand’s evangelists.