If you’re marketing to Millennials, I have good news and bad news.
The good news is, Millennials are more likely to trust and be influenced by user generated content than content you the marketer has created. This is good because that’s content you don’t have to create – your community will create it for you. Yeah!
The bad news is, Millennials are more likely to trust and be influenced by user generated content than content you the marketer has created. This is bad because you don’t have control over user generated content. That means potential customers could be getting a completely wrong impression about your company and products.
UGC doesn’t have to be negative to be harmful. Misinformation can hurt you, too. For example, Susan posts a picture of herself in a new dress along with a link to your online store but then adds that the dress is available in plus size, too. But it’s not. When customers show up and can’t buy, who are they going to blame? Susan or you?
According to a study by Ipsos for Crowdtap, Millennials spend about 30% of their media time consuming content that was created or curated by their peers. This is vastly different from earlier generations who spend all their media time with magazines, newspaper and TV. In 1980, magazines told you what was hip and you believed it. In 2014, your social media friends tell you what’s hip and you believe them.
Here’s how the Millennial prioritizes his media consumption:
Social network beats TV. Watching YouTube and reading blogs beats reading print magazines. Peer reviews beats professional reviews. Add it all up and 50% of those surveyed said that UGC influenced their decision to make a purchase. Traditional media got 44% of the vote and the lowly banner ad got only 23%.
So, what can you takeaway and use from all of this? A plan. It would be nice if you could depend on the public to create all of your marketing materials for you but the reality is, they need a little help. Make it easy for them to share their purchases and reviews. (You have social sharing buttons on everything, right?) Consider encouraging customers to share their brand experience by incentivizing them to upload photos or videos. (Just watch those legal guidelines.)
Working from the bottom up is good but unpredictable, so you need to mix in a little Top Down. Find those influencers who can champion your product in an honest and sincere way. If you pay a blogger to post and it sounds like an ad your company wrote, that’s not going to help. Give an influencer your product and let them create the message. If your product is as good as you think it is, there’s no need to worry.
Best piece of advice from the Crowdtap report: think long term not short.
This isn’t about how many views you can get on a funny video tomorrow. This is about developing a solid relationship with your customer so they wouldn’t think about shopping anywhere else.