What do you trust more -- a brand’s online marketing campaign or a friend’s opinion about a brand?
If you said your friend’s opinion, you wouldn’t be alone.
According to Nielsen’s 2012 Global Trust in Advertising report, 36 percent of those polled trust online video ads and ads on social networks, while 92 percent trust recommendations from people they know.
That 36 percent is a frightening number for marketing and advertising professionals, but what if there was a way to tap into the trusted friend recommendations? Good news. There is a way -- user-generated content (UGC).
UGC is exactly as it sounds. It is content related to a brand that users, not the brand, create. That content could be a review, a photo, a video, a tweet or blog posts. Just think, the last time you uploaded a photo of your amazing dinner to Instagram and tagged the restaurant, you created UGC.
Marketers have now realized that building campaigns around UGC can be a successful and cost-effective way to drive social engagement, grow an audience and build the brand loyalty and trust that online advertisements cannot.
Here are three of the best examples of how brands have activated UGC to amplify their online marketing efforts:
DORITOS CRASH THE SUPER BOWL
Chances are if you watch the Super Bowl, you’ve seen the Doritos Crash the Super Bowl campaign. Long before Super Bowl Sunday, Doritos asked its fans to create a Super Bowl commercial video for the chance to have their commercial air during the game. By giving their fans control over their Super Bowl promotions, the Doritos campaign led to 2,000 video submissions (that’s 2,000 videos about Doritos!) -- each one its own piece of UGC.
SHARE A COKE
When Coke wants its users to tweet about its product, the brand gives them a reason to do so. For its Share a Coke campaign, Coke swapped its signature “Coca-Cola” logo for some of the most popular names in the United Kingdom and invited UK Coke drinkers to “Share a Coke with [Insert name here].” To be sure no one felt left out, the company then travelled to local cities and grocery stores, where fans could get their name printed on a their very own bottle. What fan wouldn’t take a photo of their name on a Coke bottle and share it with their friends?
HOW DO YOU HUHOT?
Don’t be mistaken. Videos and photos are not the only way brands can activate UGC. HuHot Mongolian Grill created buzz around its restaurants by asking fans to submit their own recipes. Local restaurant winners were awarded free HuHot for a year, and the grand prize winners received free HuHot plus additional prizes. Even simple submission contests, like favorite recipes, can be effective when fans are sharing your -- and their own -- content.