The pandemic brought about a significant shift in customer behavior towards consuming brands and the content they produce, leading to notable changes in social media trends. Customers are no longer relying solely on advertorials and brand promotions when making purchasing decisions. Instead, they are placing greater importance on the experiences of their peers with these brands. Factors such as reviews, customer experiences, and product feedback shared by other users have a substantial influence on their choices. As consumer patterns evolve, it becomes crucial for brands to adapt their strategies accordingly.
At the launch of Rocomamas, our goal extended beyond mere sales generation. We aimed to cultivate a devoted community of customers who not only regularly support our brand but also willingly share their experiences online, inspiring others to join our loyal following. To accomplish this, we employed a key strategy: leveraging user-generated content.
User-generated content (UGC) is any content—text, videos, images, reviews, etc.—created by people, rather than brands. And brands will often share UGC on their own social media accounts, website, and other marketing channels.
So why was it important for us to use user-generated content?
1. An organic way to create more awareness.
When done right, content from users/customers can drive organic awareness to those who haven’t seen or heard of your brand. This reduces the budget spent on paid ads and other marketing channels.
During the launch of Rocomamas, we had over 100 story mentions on the official @rocomamasghana page on Instagram. Customers, influencers and invitees to the launch created content which they shared to their stories and tagged Rocomamas. This led to an influx of traffic to the page, rapidly increasing the following and overall interaction on the page without any paid promotions.
The organic awareness created by these users through their content led to an instant rise in visits to the restaurant as well in the following days since customers wanted to try this new place they’re seeing on their feeds.
2. Consumers find user-generated content more genuine and trustworthy.
Advertising is telling the consumers why they should patronize you, but by giving the mic to your customers and putting them at the center-stage, they’re able to tell your brand’s story from the perspective of their own experiences. There is a reason we all check customer reviews on online shops before making certain purchasing decisions. This is because we trust that other customers experiences are more genuine than what they brand would portray themselves to be.
Because people are more like to patronize brands they’ve seen their peers experience or use, right from the launch of Rocomamas we’ve always used Key Opinion Leaders and Influencers in all our activities. These individuals are people who our audience love, trust and look up to and take their opinions serious. So its more likely for their followers or audience to patronize products and services they recommend.
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Aside collaborating with influencers and key opinion leaders, random customers who also had an amazing feel of the Rocomamas experience and food also shared photos of the food and themselves at the Rocomamas restaurant. This influenced other people to also visit Rocomamas to also have a feel of the experience and food their friends, peers and social media mutuals have had.
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3. It inspires brand loyalty and affinity.
Building an emotional and psychological connection with your audience influences the long-term growth of your brand as your customers tend to fall in love with your brand, purchase whatever you sell, become your most frequent return customers and become advocates for your brand.
Building brand loyalty is about fostering long-term relationships that result in multiple sales over time.
We figured that, customers who create and share content from Rocomamas are likely to be among our biggest fans. They have probably patronized Rocomamas, loved the experience and willingly shared on their social media. If we made it easier for them to continually share their experience we would create a cult of customers who ant to feel like a part of the brand. User-generated content allowed us to harness that brand excitement and foster a sense of ongoing loyalty in people who may be less familiar with your brand.
From interacting with their posts frequently, reposting their content to our feed and our story and creating experiences that people wanted to be part of, we got customers wanting to be part of the Rocomamas experience by also visiting the shop, tasting the amazing food, letting the world know they have experienced Rocomamas through their posts and in that process, influencing other people to try same.
4. It supplements branded content
Creating great and consistent content require a lot of resources – money, people and time. But being a social brand means we have to constantly push out with great content to make your presence visible online. Fortunately, user-generated content doesn’t require as much resources because you’re sourcing images directly from your customers on social media.
Our social media strategy for Rocomamas includes creative content featuring products, customers, staff and influencers, which required heavy planning and creative processes such as designing, copywriting, video and photo production and editing. Since this can easily influence production budgets and increase the workload of our content creators we had to get creative with getting visual content.
We supplement our social media content calendars with user-generated content. By sharing and reposting content created by customers on our social media feed, we reduce the amount of creative and production work that goes into creating content thus saving us time to develop more creative strategies and content ideas as well as saving on thin resources such as money and time.
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How can you generate User-Generated Content for your brand?
1. Impeccable Customer Experience
The experience people have with your brand influences how they feel about your brand and what they are willing to share. Focus on providing exceptional customer experiences that customers naturally want to share with others. When customers have a positive experience, they are more likely to share their stories and recommendations spontaneously. Encourage customers to share their experiences through reviews, social media posts, or testimonials, and feature these on your platforms to inspire others.
2. Make It Visual
Design products or create spaces that are visually appealing and that encourage customers to take pictures and show them off on social media. Consider incorporating unique or Instagrammable elements that make your brand or products stand out. This could be anything from aesthetically pleasing packaging, visually striking store displays, ambience lights and backgrounds in physical spaces or interactive installations that provide great photo opportunities.
3. User-Curated Campaigns
Invite customers to co-create for brand campaigns, products, events or initiative by encouraging them to share their content, creative ideas, designs, or visual content related to your brand. Allow them to take the lead in creating content that showcases their unique perspective and connection to your products, services or spaces. This approach not only generates UGC but also fosters a sense of ownership and loyalty among your customers
4. Branded Hashtags and Challenges
Create a unique branded hashtag and challenges that users can participate in. Encourage them to share their experiences with your brand, interactions, or creative expressions within the brand community using the hashtag. This way, you not only generate user-generated content but also strengthen the community by highlighting and celebrating its members.
5. Contests and Giveaways
Host contests or giveaways that encourage users to create and share content related to your brand. Ask participants to showcase how they are a part of the brand community or how they embody the brand’s values. This approach not only generates UGC but also reinforces the sense of community and belonging.
Congratulations if you already have an operational marketing plan that incorporates user-generated content. If you haven’t implemented one yet, it’s never too late to step up your game and let your fans become your advocates.
Feel free to reach out to us to collaborate on developing a marketing strategy that effectively integrates user-generated content, enabling your business to expand its reach, attract new audiences, and drive revenue growth.