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Earned Content Hits the Mainstream with Marketing Tech

Recently, I came across an article published by Marketo that seemed tailor-made for me, entitled,“3 Ways to Grow Your Business With User-Generated Content.”

First, I’m a daily Marketo user. I attended this year’s Marketing Nation Summit, which highlighted Marketo’s position within the crowded marketing industry, and happened shortly before the company’s remarkable $1.79 billion acquisition.. Second, my company lives and breathes user-generated content. Olapic helps brands harness the power of user-generated, or what we call “earned,” content and activate it across all channels.

When your favorite marketing heavyweight passionately validates the philosophies you work to support while on their post-acquisition victory lap, it’s the web-equivalent of the pretty girl asking you to the dance (I know, I’m a geek). So you can imagine why I’m delighted to share my favorite nuggets of wisdom from their post:

Because of its ubiquity, buyers have grown wary of branded content, and so they easily tune it out. What they do respond to, however, is authentic content generated by your most valuable asset—your customers!

Consumers are numb to stock photography. In addition to being everywhere, it’s uninspired, uninteresting, and worst of all, unauthentic. UGC, however, stands out amongst a crowded playing field by capturing a valuable feeling of reality. On top of that, great brands already have ambassadors eagerly creating this content!

Another way to increase brand visibility on social media is with social ads that broaden your brand’s reach and influence potential customers. However, there is a right way and a wrong way to do it. Often, staged social media ads stand out like a sore thumb among the candid content that visitors consume when browsing their feeds. However, by including UGC within ads, you can improve conversions because they blend in better with the surrounding content.

Social ads are a strong tool within the B2C marketer’s arsenal. In the social arena, an ad is surrounded by content provided by one’s real-life friends and family. Because of this, staged photography in social ads are not just boring, they’re downright inconsistent. Social ads are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the omni-channel usability of UGC.

With customer photos, you can reassure your buyers what your products look in real life, outside of a studio, and demonstrate how they’re being used. This establishes trust in your brand, which makes your buyers more excited about your products and ultimately leads to more conversions.

When we evaluate clothing, we typically don’t look like the models in the brand’s staged photos. When scrutinizing home furniture, our homes don’t always resemble those used in the furniture brochures. So it becomes difficult to picture how that clothing will look on us, or how that furniture would fit in our unique home. Looking at these items through the lens of UGC, however, makes content more personally meaningful, because it’s relatable in a way that staged photos are not.

User-generated content is relevant and relatable, and you can use it to grow your business. It attracts a potential customer’s attention and makes the online shopping experience more personalized, all while adding to the valuable relationship you’ve built with your existing customers.

Marketing is about making a connection with your audience, and UGC is a powerful way to do so. Marketo understands that UGC makes that connection because it benefits from a truthful association with real brand ambassadors; it can be impactful over many channels, including social where a brand’s ads are surrounded by content created by regular people; and it provides the relevant context of relatable consumers. The more I see emerging marketing leaders like Marketo validate the impact of earned content, the more I am inspired by the work we are doing at Olapic to help brands create more powerful marketing experiences for their customers.

Image Source: Unsplash.com / By: Priscilla Westra

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