28/11/2012 by staffreference
The concept of user-generated content has grown exponentially since its first mentions since the beginning of the century. The term refers to published valuable content generated by users or members in websites, blogs, forums and communities in general. These contents have become more and more important to marketers, since the actual generation of buyers, the generation Y (born between 1977 and 2000), relies heavily on other people’s voices rather than those of the brands.
In fact, young customers not at all interested in user-generated contents represent only 3%, while 84% of them are interested in seeking other peers opinions and influences (there is a very interesting report about the Generation Y purchase habits on Bazaarvoice, found in our sources).
Eric Enge, an expert in the field, says that UGC should add engagement and value to your community, and not just text space, in order to improve the SEO (search engine optimization) ranking and gain competitive advantage. We all know two perfect examples of valuable UGC: Amazon and TripAdvisor, where user reviews are an important part of the brands’ offerings.
Of course each brand should be able to foster the user-generated content by providing good topics of discussion and tools that make the interactions possible; this is achievable following some steps:
- Ask for opinions: customers are more likely to start creating valuable contents if the brands ask them to, making feel them empowered and willing to participate.
- Put users together: interactions are the key point of communities’ growth, so companies should give members an environment where they can share contents and ideas with people of same interests.
- Generate two-way communication: users need to know that their contents are read by the company; the best way to let them know is to start a real communication which will increase loyalty and community quality.
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