Stock photography has long been a staple on most websites. It’s used to create visual appeal and connect companies and products with with website visitors. But the rise of social media and reality TV has brought with it a media-savvy generation that no longer relates to staged, stock imagery. Instead, modern consumers are beginning to lean towards media that is genuine and authentic. Hence, we’re seeing the increasing use of user-generated content on websites.
Typically these campaigns are featured on the home page or product pages and are feeds from the company’s Facebook or Instagram accounts that show real people using actual products in real life. Some of the content can be quite clever and creative, especially when posts are short video clips or GIF animations (check out Starbuck’s Frappuccino site for examples). And the authenticity apparently creates a much stronger bond with customers.
Content needs to be authentic for marketing campaigns to succeed, which is why user-generated content has emerged as a priceless resource … A Bazaarvoice survey revealed that over half of Americans trust user-generated content more than any other information on a company website. Eighty-four percent of millennials report that user-generated content on company websites has at least some influence on what they buy.
Taking advantage of user-generated content not only helps brands build trust, but also creates a stronger connection between the brand and the consumer. When people see images on a website or in an ad campaign that are recognizable, the brand does not seem cold and faceless … It seems like a company that understands them — their life, likes and dislikes, and needs. This sense of understanding leads to engagement and loyal fans.
Incorporating an Instagram or Facebook feed on the website is becoming a powerful tool for companies looking to connect with customers. It’s time to start investigating how to bring user-generated content into the content mix.
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