Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Would You Like to Know the True Value of User Generated Content?

Most definitely one of the questions you've asked yourself more often since you started your business’ presence in social media has been about the things you could do so that people receiving the content you share get to feel more committed and engaged with your brand or product, make more comments on your posts, subscribe to your Youtube channel, follow you on Twitter or "Like" your Facebook fan page.

Today I’d like to share with you a first-person experience. But before I do that, I have to start by reminding you that actively listening to what your customers have to say has always been my recommendation to you on this blog, because only listening closely to your customers, to what their real opinions about your product are, how do they use it and what kind of experience they are having with your company, in addition to many other things, you’ll thus have the opportunity to define your marketing strategy much more accurately and efficiently.

I have also commented on this blog that all of us, at one time or another, act as customers buying someone else’s products or services, and having our own shopping experiences with different companies. We could even assume I do buy what your company sells, at any point in time.

And because of that, today I would like to talk to you as a person who buys products, and will do my best to share with you the reasons why I was hooked with content generated by a particular group of people.

Content that got me hooked me, was not generated by the brand directly.

On December last year, we gave our oldest son a Play Station IV with a game titled "Destiny" (I’m including the name herein because either yourself or your kids must be familiar with it). And I wasn’t that much impressed initially because I’ve never been the kind of guy who sits in front of the TV to play video games, and rather saw it as something only for the enjoyment of my kids.

But after my children insisted me on playing with them, I had such a breathtaking experience that even inspired me to write this post. It turns out the game I’m referring to is kind of an adventure: You're a guardian of the future, fighting lots of enemies to save our planet Earth from the occupation of "The Darkness".

Throughout a certain amount of missions in different planets you increase your “level”, therefore you're increasing your character’s resistance and strength, therefore gaining the ability to assume increasing challenges as you go on. It’s kind of moving up in the social ladder within the game.

But as with all these games, the thing starts becoming more and more intense as you progress, and as I was leveling up, I felt the need to ask for help. Guess what I found: A huge, very large community of players willing to teach me how to go along with the game, do a better job on it and even willing to help me advance to higher levels!

Content that solves problems and clarifies doubts, is the most engaging one.

I then started as most other newbies do: I googled all my doubts and waited to check what answers did I get. For every question I asked, Google directed me to many different sources of content, some on written format (blogs and forums), others on video (YouTube).

That’s when I found a extremely valuable treasure: Destiny players themselves had already posted content answering all my questions. How can I move from level 26 to 27? Several videos explaining how I could do it. How to get the best weapons? Again, others guys shared with me the whole story. How to complete the most difficult mission? The same thing again.

Their content was so appealing to me that I started following them immediately.

It was that easy: their content was so appealing to me and so directly helping me solve my problems that I did subscribe to almost all their channels right away. I must make something totally clear: So far, none of them has wanted to either sell me anything or asked me anything in return for their knowledge and advice.

Up to this point, all of them have been driven by the pure interest of sharing their knowledge, helping me enjoy the game, making my life easier, and thus lives of all newbies like me. Destiny itself hasn’t been telling the story about their wonderful products or how well their company is positioned within the market.

User generated content has greatly enriched my experience with the product.

All of them are game players, just like me, customers who have also bought the same game and decided, at one point, to share their gaming experiences with other players. It hasn’t been the company itself publishing content, but actual players, or in most cases, people who professionally dedicate to playing video games.

You have to go beyond the sales pitch.

As I mentioned above, the only thing we bought was the console with the game. We only needed to do our Internet searches to come across Destiny’s users who have created an inexhaustible source of hints and tips for those, like myself, who have started to play the game a bit later. And it’s with them who I got hooked with.

From that moment on, I found a lot of players to get engaged with, we have even got to schedule times for playing online together and have fun. Isn’t that the kind of interaction and engagement you’d like your audience to have with your product and brand?

Enriching conversations plenty of tips, suggestions and recommendations to develop a better customer experience.

Well then you have to go beyond your traditional sales speech. It’s no longer about what your product does and all its wonders, but about the experience users have with it, as well as with your company and brand.

What can you do if you’re selling running shoes? Then offer your buyers advice on how to improve their performance in jogging. Selling school supplies? Offer your customers tips on how to get their kids to do their homework more efficiently.

Only this way you’ll be offering true value to your audience, by building a authentic, selfless community without the intent to sell, which is what really helps increase engagement. And I bet that by doing so you’ll generate around your brand and product, a community of users truly interested and committed.

And all of this actions will lead to a better positioning of your product and company within consumers’ minds, thus building up customers for the rest of life.

You might want to read the following posts on this blog:
What Makes Your Content Relevant?
Differentiate Yourself By The Value Shared Through Your Conversations.
What Can You Talk About With Your Customers When You’re Not Selling To Them?

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