As marketers, we are always on the hunt for new and crazy ideas that will help us reach dizzying audience heights and create a mass flow of engagement.
Integrating the various marketing channels available at our disposal and throwing some of the green stuff (money) at a campaign definitely helps, there is one priceless factor that we all crave for, and that without a doubt has to be ‘earned media’. I’m not talking about some blogger somewhere, no – I am talking about real, genuine, customer engagement. Those fans we aspire to reach out to who create a snowball effect of engagement, generating a tonne of organic content for us to leverage.
Ahh, the dream…
Digitally connected and socially dependent
Millennials. The future. Our future. Me.
With more spending power than previous generations, brands have to find a way to connect to this audience. Gone are the days when brands can tell people why they should shop/eat/drink with them, instead, time and investment needs to be made in connecting with this demographic at a much deeper level. The term ‘brand ambassador’ springs to my mind yet again.
Millennials don’t want to see a celebrity telling them to buy this. No. They want to see a real person, someone relatable telling them to buy this, try this or whatever it is you need to push. Hence the rise of Instagram stars and Mummy bloggers.
According to a survey carried out by Bazaar Voice, 84% of all millennials stated that user generated content had an influence on what they buy. In fact, user generated content or ‘earned’ media is more influential in the buying cycle than any other content.
Essentially, earned media/UGC needs to be considered in your marketing strategy and unfortunately, just sitting back and hoping your audience will naturally want to publish or share is simply not enough.
Law of attraction – think big, get big
Sitting back and hoping for the best won’t work nor will creating content for the sake of it work. If you are looking for some simple tips to test out, try the below tips:
1) Influencer Marketing: Find an influencer who resonates with your audience, whether it be a budding chef, a hard working Mum or a 17-year-old vlogger who has a multitude of teens chasing him. Research who they are, what they talk about and why their audience loves them before you do any form of outreach. If they agree, their audience will hopefully become yours too.
2) Engage in Conversation: Ask questions, the right questions. That doesn’t necessarily mean you ask if your customers are having a good day online, but ask questions that matter to the audience. You may want to refrain from politically or religiously driven messages (unless that is your area of business).
3) Big up your Customers: Now this tip, is my favourite tactic when it comes to earned media. Some brands have done it brilliantly (think Coke’s #ShareACoke campaign) whereas others have failed miserably. By simply sharing positive customer experience and highlighting it digitally, you have the power to make the other person feel very special. And who doesn’t want to feel special?
4) Get Emotional: sometimes, businesses and brands alike can lose their personality behind a tape of bureaucracy or an overkill of headache inducing jargon. Talk plainly. Another favourite campaign of mine which I have referenced multiple times in the past is the Dove campaign for real beauty, in which Dove aims to empower women to feel beautiful, regardless of industry and societal expectations. I could write endlessly about their approach but to save time and to not bore you, I won’t. Ultimately, they hit the nail on the head when it comes to combining all the core marketing principles.
Hopefully, this article has given you some food for thought and why earned media or UGC as some like to call it needs to be vital component in your marketing strategy. As always, this is my opinion based on my own experience. I’m sure there are many other tips and of course, differing opinions. Feel free to comment!