Why User-Generated-Content is the best way to captivate an audience — authenticity unpacked

We’ve all seen the coordinated and polished sponsored posts from hired brand influencers. These posts are rarely authentic, and often scripted, resulting in a reverse-effect in appealing to your audience. Users are less likely to buy a product or invest in a brand if the marketing efforts seem insincere. This is why it is important to utilize user-generated-content that allows your brand and products to speak for themselves.

The best part about crowdsourcing and user-generated-content? Most of the time, it’s one-hundred-percent FREE. If your audience loves your product, they’ll want to tell their audience all about it. Reposting a user-generated image not only rewards that customer, but it’s one less graphic and post that you have to spend time on creating. This method also encourages other members of your audience to submit their own photos for a chance to be featured on your page.

Some companies have taken full advantage of user-generated-content and crowdsourced content. One of my favorite brands that does this is LaCroix Sparkling Water. Scrolling through their feed, you’ll find mostly user-generated-content. I often wonder how much money LaCroix saves on their content creating efforts. Why spend money on a professional photo shoot when your audience takes authentic photos of your product? That’s not to say that LaCroix Sparkling Water doesn’t also utilize the talents of professional photographers and graphics, but they’re certainly not spending as much money as a company who relies on that content.

In fact, LaCroix Water has featured my photos on their platform multiple times, which only makes me want to post more photos and stories with a colorful can in my hand. When I was featured, I shared the photo to my story, resulting in many of my followers liking the photo and commenting on it as well. Those are engagements that LaCroix might not have gotten with an otherwise generic post.

One brand that seems to have mastered Crowdsourcing is Lay’s. Their “Do Us A F(l)avor” campaign sparks buzz and new ideas among their audience and beyond. You may have seen a new “Crispy Taco’’ flavor this year, or remember seeing a “Cappuccino” flavor in recent years. These new funky flavors are all a result of crowdsourcing content. The campaign is simple: users can submit their ideas for a new chip flavor, and Lay’s gets to try them out and decide on the winning flavors. The winner gets one-million-dollars and the chance to eat their idea in real-life, along with the rest of the world. This campaign is brilliant in allowing the Lay’s audience and community to share their thoughts and ideas of what they would want to try in a chip flavor. Not to mention, it causes a lot of buzz over the new and existing flavors, resulting in an increase in sales. Plus, all the buzz on social media is a great method of essentially free publicity.

If these two examples are reason enough for your company to consider taking advantage of user-generated-content and crowdsourcing, you may need to reconsider your position in social media marketing. The benefits and advantages of UGC and Crowdsourcing are virtually limitless, and will hardly cost you a dime.