Consumers do not trust advertising. More than half think brands are not creating content that feels authentic. This slide in confidence towards online businesses has seen the emergence of a new trend – user-generated content (UGC).
UGC is created by customers. Because the authenticity outshines anything a brand puts together, UGC represents a boon for travel operators that struggle to break through the noise and resonate with your audience.
Statistics published by Stackla reveal that 86% of consumers in the UK, US, and Australia consider authenticity is important when choosing which brands to engage with. Yet 57% of respondents think brands create content that is believable.
The importance of building trust and authority with consumers cannot be underestimated. On average, 60 per cent of purchasing decisions are influenced by family and friends. In contrast, only 23% of consumers are influenced by celebrities.
Furthermore, 84% of Millennials are more likely to make travel plans after watching a video or seeing photos of their friends on social media, and 56% will eat in a restaurant after seeing images of their friends posted on Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram etc.
Business travellers want authenticity
Olapic, a firm that sells a marketing platform to help brands turn user-generated content into a valuable asset published a survey which reveals how Millennials and Baby Boomers react to brand content. The overriding feeling is "76 percent of consumers believe the content that average people share is more honest than advertising from brands".
Consumers are three times more likely to trust UGC over marketing content created by a brand. And people can distinguish between the two around 70 percent of the time. Not only that, but if consumers do not feel as though content generated by a brand is authentic, they will disconnect with them.
Earning trust is not the only benefit of UGC. This strategy builds a unique visual library of evergreen content that resonates with your audience and subsequently separates your brand from the competition.
For inspiration, check out the Instagram accounts of top level brands that are killing UGC; Red Bull, BMW, Qatar Airways and Starbucks.
How to get started publishing user-generated content
Although user-generated content gives brands the opportunity to amplify their marketing message, sometimes the content is not great quality. Whilst brands should be encouraging your customers to be creative, sometimes their work requires adjustments. Here are 4 ways to get started:
1.Make a video
Use your the video facility on your smartphone to record the reaction of business consumers after their travel experience with you. This is a cost-effective and powerful solution.
2.Transform user-generated images into user-generated video
Videos are consumed more than any other medium. Rather than waiting for users to post a video, be proactive and put a montage of user-generated content together.
3.Host a user-generated video contest
There’s no better way of raising your profile than running a content through social media. Even better, make it easy, fun and engaging, by encouraging people to send in related video content.
4.Give in-house videos a ‘user-generated’ look
Although user-generated content is trusted, it doesn’t mean that you can’t create your own videos. Give it an authentic ‘user-generated’ look and you can get your marketing message across in a convincing way.
Video and image content is a critical feature for travel brands. So too is earning trust from business travellers. By encouraging your customers to create content, you can reduce marketing costs whilst converting more sales.