When you consider the products consumers tend to be the most passionate about, home appliances and the like might not come to the top of your mind. But the fact of the matter is that products ranging from coffee makers to dishwashers and more are used daily, so people know what they like and what they don’t. Consequently, there’s both a huge potential and a huge need for user generated content for consumer manufacturing. User generated content, also known as UGC, consists of any sort of content created by consumers, most notably customer photos in the form of visual commerce, ratings and reviews, and questions and answers. It’s a subset of advocate marketing, which is the practice of identifying, targeting, and activating high-potential customers to advocate on behalf of your brand in the form of actions like referring friends, contributing content, connecting on social, and more.
It’s clear that Ratings and Reviews and Questions and Answers are vital types of user generated content for consumer manufacturing. Ratings and Reviews are almost a default part of any omni-channel or e-commerce manufacturer’s (or retailer’s) site today, and the logic for having this type of content only increases with average order value. Shoppers look to reviews to make sure that they’re making the right purchase from a trustworthy company. If they’re spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on an appliance or two, they won’t buy without reading dozens of opinions from other shoppers. Ratings and reviews may seem straightforward, but it takes guidance and effort to make the most of them.
Similarly, a Q&A platform lets customers ask questions that aren’t already answered on your product pages. Sometimes such questions will necessitate an answer from a product expert, while other times they’ll require a subjective opinion from another consumer. Either way, a rapid response to the question always boosts conversion.
Until now marketers have used advocates as an ingredient in other main marketing activities like referral programs. There is nothing wrong in it, as their opinions and content do make a difference as far as purchase decisions of other shoppers are concerned. But to me, it just makes sense to give advocates a separate and dedicated channel or platform where they can talk about your brands freely and frequently. With the assistance of digital tools and social media, spreading them on digital platforms is perfectly feasible. That’s perfectly possible…and Walmart has told us how to do it!
Walmart came up with Walmart Moms. Originally called ElevenMoms, it was an online community of its passionate buyers created by Walmart to allow them to express themselves. 22 moms, who became brand advocates of the brand, began to write blogs and share information on raising kids, shopping, household chores and more. Not just that. The main Walmart YouTube channel frequently posted videos of Walmart Moms making it comprehensively integrated into the huge Walmart brand.
The good thing about this blogging was that the topics were not always related to the Walmart’s core products. Those moms talked about recipes, cooking tips, how to save money and other subjects of concern to mothers and families. Readers of Walmart Moms’ blogs were allowed to share content on social media via share buttons of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+.
Indeed, it was an ideal example of how a company can use an advocate community to indirectly promote its products while also making its brand even stronger. Even though Walmart isn’t a manufacturer of consumer appliances, there is a clear lesson here in terms of UGC for consumer manufacturing. As Walmart caters largely to families, it understood that household shopping is still largely handled by mothers and women. It would be best to give voice to that larger group which possess the possibility to influence most of its target customers…and it did succeed.
You can do the same here. When collecting user-generated content for consumer manufacturing marketing, make sure to target shoppers who are representative of your key audience. Have them share different content along with talking about your products. Then topics of that content can be anything like tips about how to use a particular product, their favorite recipes, household cleaning or craft ideas, and so on. The idea is to make them talk, which will eventually enhance your online presence and buzz around you.
We have observed this many times that companies don’t take enough efforts to utilize the over- brimming enthusiasm of their loyal customers and advocates. Remember that if they love your product, they’ll usually be more than happy to publicly say so. Take advantage of that and gather more user-generated content for consumer manufacturing by having UGC contests. Ikea recently created a #JoyOfStorage campaign, where it asked its Facebook fans to post pictures of Ikea products in their homes to win a prize. Ikea created archives of all the photos to make them available after the campaign.
I think this sort of campaign can work perfectly well in the consumer manufacturing industry. You can ask your customers to share recipes along with the photos of the finished food item. You can reward the best among all the received recipes. For other sorts of appliances, you should similarly consider what experiences the appliance leads to and is a part of. Does your washing machine tackle the toughest dirt? Does it help your customers look their best? Do your dishwashers remove the most stressful part of meals–cleanup? Thinking along these lines should lead you to the most interesting types of visual user generated content for consumer manufacturing marketing with your brand.