The authenticity age of User-Generated Content. Is it really word of mouth 2.0 in 2024?

The authenticity age of User-Generated Content. Is it really word of mouth 2.0 in 2024?


30 May 2024 | By - Sudha Mariappan
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Advertising has ruled the whole world to this day. There were times when the only way to know which product to buy was when a celebrity suggested you to on a TV ad, or when it appeared in a slick magazine ad.

Apart from that, word of mouth from people existed way before advertisements.

But with rising technology, word of mouth has evolved and times have changed. It is the User Generated Content that rules the digital world.

This new word of mouth is where people trust the product tested and used by normal individuals on the internet, by posting on their social media accounts.

Keeping this in mind, let’s see whether UGC is simply a digital replica of the conventional word-of-mouth recommendations, or if it represents a paradigm shift in how we construct relationships with brands that are based on trust or loyalty.

What is user-generated content (UGC)?

User Generated Content (UGC) is a review of your brand that is posted on various platforms by individuals who have already used your product.

The review can be posted in the form of images, videos, podcasts, and product reviews on any social media platforms.

UGC is the best way your product can generate more sales and the reviews positively impact your brand. While looking at the reviews, people will ultimately decide to buy the product.

Here’s an example of a UGC post on Instagram.

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Source: top.favorite.finds on Instagram

Types of UGC:

There are two types of User Generated Content:

Organic UGC: When the users who use your product naturally post about your brand on their social media platforms. There is no need for any promotion for your brand, as there will be reviews coming naturally.

From online reviews on Amazon, Meesho, Myntra, and any other platform where there are reviews of people who have used the product, images, and video testimonials on social media platforms, to blog posts on their websites.

These reviews tend to be more authentic and more trusted by people. The reviews are genuine and will create a sense of trust among other users.

Paid UGC: When you’re a newly emerging brand with fewer people knowing about your product, you can use UGC creators who are specifically hired to review your products, who are different from influencers.

In this way, you can make your brand visible for more people to buy, and also make more profit.

Paid UGC is more popular these days. If you wish to use paid UGC for your brand, then you can look out for UGC creators on platforms like Fiverr and Upwork.

Is this the true commercial of this era?

For a very long time, brands controlled messaging to the audience through thoroughly planned commercials, which can often be very artificial. Glossy commercials and endorsements crafted with conditioned interests of the product, paint a rosy picture that conceals the reality of use.

This illusion is now shattered by social media. People casually catch things compared to before. Therefore, consumers have a platform to share their unfiltered thoughts, which has been a huge boon among the community.

The true picture portrayed by brands about their products and services has changed fundamentally through the unsolicited comments, personal stories, and images that are posted on social media by consumers.

Why do audiences crave authenticity?

Welcome to the “Authenticity Age”, a time when consumers are now craving genuine and authentic experiences on buying products, and to attain that trust, people are now relying on fellow people for reviews on brand products.

According to taggbox, in 2024 about 92% of the customers vouch for user-generated content affecting their buying habits other than conventional promotional campaigns.

So, why is this happening? People find it real because UGC is not authorized by any company, rather it is the genuine thoughts of the users’ experience with certain brand products.

This is not a marketing tactic from brand managers, think of it as what it’s like your friends would post on social media.

The effect of user-generated content:

Even though UGC is like old-fashioned word-of-mouth, it takes an additional step.

Think of a friend telling you about an awesome new place to eat. Their suggestion is limited to a few people.

Now consider that friend posting an appetizing picture alongside positive feedback on a social platform saying how good the food is and how often they would visit the place.

By posting it on social media, the opinion quickly travels to a larger group of people. Such an “amplification effect” is the strong point of UGC.

Honestly, positive things spread like wildfire bringing up tons of joy and brand advocacy, which will benefit your brand.

The Power of Visual Storytelling from Consumers:

UGC’s visual element adds an extra layer of influence. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. High-quality user images and videos of products being used in daily life help customers imagine themselves owning them.

This form of visual storytelling enhances brand attachment and intensifies the urge to possess the item, creating a deeper connection.

The Power of UGC:

How can brands leverage their use of social media content to their advantage in this era? Here are some important strategies:

Create a UGC-friendly environment: Make your users comfortable and intrigued by giveaways, and contests, displaying user-generated content on their platforms, and responding by giving genuine feedback to their comments and reviews.

Partner with micro-influencers: Micro-influencers may have a small following, but they have highly engaged followings and can create genuine content that connects with their audience. Partnering with them will give your brand the initial publicity that it needs for you to higher up.

Empower your brand advocates: When your customers turn loyal, they will most definitely turn into loyal UGC creators. Therefore, identify the relationships you have with your most passionate customers, and nurture them. In this way, they will turn into brand advocates who will create positive UGC organically.

Respond, don't react: Life happens, sometimes users might not like your product and may leave some negative reviews. When you’re faced with negative UGC, address it as soon as possible and be professional about it.

A thoughtful and understanding response can turn a potential crisis into a positive customer service experience.

Be transparent: Allow constructive criticism in your strategy. When authenticity is key, it means acknowledging both positive and negative feedback. You need to show your commitment to improvement by responding constructively to criticism.

The Future of Brand Advocacy:

The UGC revolution comes with its own set of problems. Any brand may navigate through fake reviews, ads supported as natural posts, and negativity possibilities.

Even though these issues exist, they can be managed by adopting approaches such as building real conversations with users who are not fake, and tracking what is being said online or offline but on social media sites specifically, promoting genuineness within the community.

User-generated content is not just a trend, but it is becoming an essential transformation of the client’s relationship with firms. Trustworthiness is the dominant value in this new era. Those who motivate and enable their clients to share their experiences will be the ones thriving in the authenticity age.

So, are we currently in the era of Word-of-Mouth 2.0, in 2024?

Yes.

User-generated content is becoming a more powerful tool for businesses to conquer more sales with the voice of real people with real experiences.Subscribe to us for more blogs.

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