25% of search results for the World’s Top 20 largest brands are links to user-generated content.
What does this mean?
User-generated content (UGC) can take on many forms. The most popular and current forms include comments or posts on blogs, Facebook, and Twitter. The social media networks we use every day contain UGC about anything from brand promotions to customer service experiences and everything in-between.
There are many critics and skeptics when it comes to social media and its effectiveness in the advertising and marketing world. But, user-generated content is continuing to increase as social media sites grow and expand. With today’s technology, we are constantly connected – e-mails, “tweets”, and Facebook notifications are sent directly to our mobile phones. We update status messages from the car, from work, from school, at the gym, and from our favorite (or least favorite) restaurant. If service is good or if it’s terrible, we will tell the world via social media. What does being connected mean for advertising?
Most people trust word of mouth comments more than formal advertising. Think about it… if a friend has been raving about a new restaurant, you will want to check it out for yourself. On the other hand, if a friend tells you about a terrible experience at a restaurant, you will most likely avoid dining there. Likewise, if your brand shows negative comments in search results, customers will notice! This is why it’s so important to promote your brand and create a buzz in social media.
Possibly the most important tactic in social media advertising and marketing is to “put a face with your brand.” In other words, connect with your customers on a personal level. Interact with them, and listen to their comments and concerns. Promote events and update regularly. Blend entertainment and marketing as often as possible. Get people talking. You may see some comments you don’t like; let them happen. Be honest. Your customers will respect you more for it.
Let’s face it… social media is changing the way we communicate. What does your brand image look like in the world of user-generated content?