4 ways to let your customers do the advertising for you

Bombarded with advertisements everywhere they turn, it is no wonder consumers are becoming jaded about advertising This spells bad news for businesses that have invested in ads, as these would do little to boost their sales.

This is why businesses are increasingly tapping on user-generated content (UGC) in their marketing campaigns. UGC refers to content created and put out by people who have direct experience with a product or a brand, and includes anything from photos to online reviews.

In a study done by Adweek, 85% of users surveyed found user-generated content to be more influential than that created directly by brands.

Here are four ways to promote your brand while engaging with your customers using UGC.

1. Harness the social power of #hashtags

By thinking of catchy and unique hashtags, you immediately offer customers a quick and easy way to promote your brand through the content they post.

Take Swedish furniture retailer IKEA for example. Shoppers want to know how to design their homes beyond the catalogue photographs styled by professionals. On Instagram, hashtags such as #IKEAHome, #IKEAHacks and #IKEAKitchen contain hundreds of thousands of photographs created by users that show how they work IKEA products into their home decor. 

With these hashtags, IKEA is able to share customers’ content on their social channels to amplify brand engagement. Here, they repost a customer’s Instagram post to showcase how she used an art piece from IKEA to adorn her vanity area.

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Such photos on IKEA’s Instagram page encourage other customers to do the same with their IKEA products at home. In so doing, they help build IKEA’s brand identity.

2. Online customer reviews = modern-day word-of-mouth advertising

Most businesses use customer reviews or testimonials to prove their products’ reliability. In fact, a 2018 study by British marketing firm BrightLocal found that 86% of those surveyed read reviews for local businesses, and 78% of people trusted online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

Make the effort to reach out to your customers and ask them for feedback on your products and services, and get permission to share them on your social media channels.

Lilo, a Singaporean brand that sells seasoning powder made from ikan bilis and mushrooms, puts up customers’ reviews on its social platforms regularly.

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The brand also encourages users to leave reviews on their Facebook page. Such reviews encourage potential customers to give their products a try. 

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Everyone loves a good contest

Contests are a great way to encourage people to create fresh content and engage with your brand in a fun way. If done right, holding contests can allow your brand to bask in the limelight.

One of the most successful examples of user-generated content is Apple’s ongoing #ShotOniPhone campaign. The brand regularly posts community briefs on its Instagram page to encourage users to shoot and post images on a given subject, such as skylines or the colour red, with the hashtag. Earlier this year, Apple turned the campaign into a contest. Those interested just had to upload their photos on Twitter, Instagram or Weibo using the #ShotOniPhone hashtag.

Ten winners would have their photos displayed on billboards in cities across the world, in Apple retail stores, as well as online, and be paid licensing fees for their works.

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The contest was a hit, with users from around the world sharing their photos. Instead of telling you how good the iPhone’s camera was, Apple lets iPhone users do the talking through their photos. 

Here’s a fun fact: A Singaporean photographer was among the 10 winners – and the only one from Asia!

Embrace memes – they are less polished but more authentic

Memes might be crude and childish. But they can also be relatable, witty and entertaining. Plus, there is no escaping them these days. These reasons make memes a more accessible form of user-generated content.

Some brands, especially those that target a younger audience, have started to ditch the well-staged Instagram aesthetic for a more personable and casual tone, and this includes sharing and reposting memes.

American beauty brand Glossier often puts up product-related posts on its Instagram account, as well as beauty tips and makeup tutorials. These days, it has also begun reposting memes shared by fans of its products.

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By reposting this Tweet on its Instagram account, Glossier – a brand with 2 million followers – shows that it is keen to engage with fans and finds humour in memes too.

Today, millennials spend 30% of their time on the Internet viewing user-generated content. This valuable space, which can turbocharge advertising efforts, can no longer be ignored by businesses. But crafting a compelling advertising strategy can be challenging, especially if you are a fledgling entrepreneur.

Here is where Adtiq can help. Built with small businesses in mind, it is an easy-to-use online advertising platform that helps you tailor your advertisements to win over specific audiences on Facebook, Google and Instagram. Get started with Adtiq today.