Toby Britton from Miappi reflects on the challenge’s brands face when marketing under lockdown…
There’s an old saying: “Never work with animals and children”. Previously, this wasn’t something considered by many industries outside of the entertainment industry, but for many who are working from home under the current lockdown, this is the new reality.
Not only have business meetings become draining video calls, fraught with connectivity and latency issues (“can you hear me? You’re breaking up”), some of us are juggling needy pets and upstaging kids who decide to put on an all-singing all-dancing production of ‘Baby Shark’ behind you just as you’re trying to close a deal with a client.
Of course, the lockdown brings broader challenges, not least when promoting your business. On-location photoshoots and other collaborative in-person activities firmly fall under the ‘non-essential’ umbrella which leaves hands tied marketing-wise, with brands of all shapes and sizes finding themselves in the same boat. Campaign content must now be created apart, with tightening budgets and only the resources we find around us at home.
The challenges lockdown brings
It’s not all doom and gloom, as we humans are a creative bunch. A quick glance over at social media shows the ingenious solutions people are coming up with to make their home office experience more palatable, from the person who created their own standing desk by balancing large objects on top of each other on the bed (don’t try this at home…oops, too late) to the many workers lifting their spirits by taking their conference calls out in the garden or dressing to the nines. And although the marketing outlook might look grim at first glance, there is a silver lining after all. The best marketing material for your brand might already exist; you just need to find it.
It’s always been known that marketing using social proof – particularly of the visual kind – is one of the best ways to sell. What could be more reassuring than seeing people like us being pleased with their purchase? Brands can leverage this peer-to-peer power by placing such images at key points in the consumer journey, with a particular effect at the point of sale.
Social media sources such as Instagram are a rich source for this peer-to-peer marketing. We call this User Generated Content, or UGC for short. UGC might sound very jargon-like, but it’s one of the most authentic and vibrant forms of marketing there is.
The power of social media
As you begin to explore the world of UGC you’ll notice that the way the most passionate fans respond to products can vary, from simple but artfully shot photography showing a product alongside a glowing review, to video demonstrations, Instagram stories, entertaining tableaus and much more. One of the joys of UGC is that you’ll be constantly amazed at how creative humans can be. In short, with UGC your customers are the stars. It’s also the most trusted form of marketing after all Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising report found that 92% of consumers around the world say they trust earned media, such as recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising.
OK, so you know you’re after UGC for your brand, but how on earth do you find it? Your next step is to find the right tech partner for you. This is a software platform that can collect, curate and moderate UGC from social media and also through a direct upload. Finding the right UGC can sometimes feel like searching for needles in a haystack but a suitable content aggregation platform can make this task a cinch, using information such as social media hashtags, @username mentions and image tags in their filters, as well as a human eye.
Choose the right platform
Once you’ve collated your UGC, the next thing you’ll need your chosen platform to do is get the content rights-approved. The best platforms will allow you to easily obtain the right permissions from these users so that you can use their content in your marketing campaigns.
What you do with the UGC is up to you. Some of the most common and effective uses include using your chosen platform to publish the best content to websites (particularly at the point of purchase), digital screens, emails and more. With the right permissions, you can be as creative as you like, editing your UGC into videos, using it in print advertising and much more. And if you have any other specialist digital needs for the content, a supportive platform will develop UGC feeds that work for you.
One of the joys of UGC is that you don’t have to rely on what already exists. The best brands encourage the continuous creation of UGC by giving their most engaged customers clear instructions including @username mentions and hashtags to use, with the resulting content processed by their chosen content aggregation platform. They also develop their relationships with their most engaged customers by rewarding them in creative, ethical ways.
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