“People trust people, not brands” is a popular sentiment these days. With a flood of information at their fingertips, modern consumers are becoming more selective about what and who they pay attention to.
They want recommendations from those they trust: friends, family, and people who have real-life experiences with a product.
Research about first hand experiences has become an essential part of the buying process; people everywhere look to others they can rely on before making a purchase. This has led to a proliferation of user generated content (UGC), or media produced by ordinary people rather than brands.
This style of advertising is becoming the norm. People are more likely to believe what real people say instead of what a brand tells them.
For small businesses, this presents an opportunity to:
- Build trust
- Save money
- Make your brand more authentic
- Increase brand visibility through new opportunities
UGC is a cost-effective way to create engaging content. Your clients can create it for you if you ask them for product reviews and feedback. Or you can easily turn testimonials into social media posts so their experience with your brand is readily available for prospects to see.
If your own employees are using the same tools you recommend to your clients, you can get them to create content and share tips related to your industry. For example, Video City Productions has team members share techniques that help people up their game when filming with an iPhone. Their Shooter and Editor, Kaia Grobe, uses these tips herself which is why she’s able to easily speak to them.
By creating content like this, Video City Productions can earn their viewer’s trust and establish their authority in the industry. They’re also able to save money by having their employees record in-house for free!
Increased Brand Awareness & Collaborative Opportunities
By leveraging user-generated content, brands can easily increase their overall visibility. For example, Hilltop Boilers Maple Syrup of Newfield, ME recently partnered with Maddie Niles, a Maine high school athlete to create promotional content for their brand. This includes social media posts, testimonials, and occasional in-person appearances. For her commitment to Hilltop Boilers, Maddie will be compensated for the use of her name, image and likeness.
“I love Maine maple syrup and baking, so when I found out about this opportunity, it was something I really wanted to do. I think it’s a great opportunity to support a local Maine business that is also supporting me in the future of my career, so it’s a win-win.”
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Maddie’s creation of original content on her account is helping Hilltop establish trust with potential customers. By sharing her positive experience with Hilltop’s products and brand, prospects can see firsthand the benefits and satisfaction they can expect before buying from the company themselves. This approach enables Hilltop to build trust with prospects before they’ve even considered purchasing from them.
Plus, thanks to the recent enactment of the NIL Policy, it’s easier now more than ever before for small businesses to partner with student athletes in college and high school.
Another example of this kind of partnership is Riley Geyer, a student athlete at Norwich University, who is paid in gift cards from End Zone Pizza in exchange for promoting the restaurant on social media. He helps End Zone get in front of students, families, and other customers in the Norwich, VT area.
“I think it’s a great way to promote small businesses while also getting something out of the deal. End Zone Pizza and Diner is such a great place and I appreciate that they are willing to work with me on this promotion.”
Partnering with Riley enables End Zone Pizza to effectively reach their target demographic of college students and families. Potential customers can see someone within their demographic enjoying the brand’s products and experience, which can help establish a relationship with them before they even hear about End Zone Pizza. This collaboration allows them to increase their brand awareness, build trust with prospects, and ultimately attract more customers.
Leveraging User Generated Content
As authenticity continues to hold increasing value in the world of marketing, user generated content is becoming an integral component of modern business strategies. By leveraging this style of advertising, small businesses can create engaging content and save money on marketing.
Additionally, collaborating with individuals in their target demographic can help to amplify the brand’s reach. As consumers become increasingly selective about what they pay attention to, small businesses can use UGC to stay ahead of the curve and earn their audience’s trust.
If you’re looking for guidance on how to use UGC, our team can help! Contact Sweet Rose Studios today and we’ll work with you on developing a comprehensive social media strategy that helps you establish relationships with your target audience.