When To Include User Generated Video As Part Of Your Content Plan

There’s a video on YouTube called OREO CHALLENGE! that has had more than 36 million views. You may think that figure is not too surprising given that Oreo is one of the most popular cookies in the world. And, the video is nothing if not charming. Two cute kids in blindfolds compete against each other to try to guess the flavour of a dozen different Oreo cookies. (We won’t give away who wins!).

What is surprising is the fact that the video isn’t made by Oreo. (The producer is at pains to point this out in the video description). This is a perfect example of user generated content; that is, content created entirely by unpaid contributors. Your super-fans if you will.

Imagine how delighted Oreo is about this. It has showcased 12 of its cookie flavours to an enormous audience and it hasn’t cost them a penny. What’s more, Oreo will be aware that user generated content (UGC) is incredibly powerful. Typically, it gains higher social media engagement that content produced by a brand itself. And, a whopping 93% of consumers find UGC helpful when making a buying decision.

There are a few reasons for UGC’s effectiveness. Authenticity is a big one. A customer posting a picture or video featuring a product is real life proof of its value. This is reinforced by the people who share these posts, who feel strongly enough about the product to want to be part of its ‘community’. Millennials, in particular, engage with UGC and are more likely to buy something if it has been endorsed by someone else. And, a report in Adweek also claims that 85% of users find visual UGC more influential than brand generated photos or videos.

Brands know all about the potency of UGC. Oreo is one of many that have created campaigns around UGC, its #PlayWithOreo encouraging Instagram users to post images showing Oreo cookies being played with. (The OREO CHALLENGE! video was not, in fact, part of this campaign).

Another brand to get in on the UGC act is LEGO. Its Lego ideas campaign asked fans to come up with ideas for new LEGO sets. What was really clever was the fact that users had to get support from at least 10,000 people before LEGO would consider the idea.

People took this seriously, setting up social media campaigns to gain support for their ideas. Some took a humorous approach, as you can see in this LEGO large hadron collider parody video on YouTube. In running its campaign, LEGO had hundreds of unpaid marketers promoting their brand across social media platforms, for free.

Other brands to have harnessed UGC, include Loews Hotels (Travel for Real) and Apple (#ShotonIphone). The Apple campaign was effective in helping win over consumers jaded by their usually super-slick adverts. By getting users to show off the iPhone’s capabilities they added an authenticity to their ads that was previously lacking.

At this stage you may be thinking that this is all very well for B2C, but what about B2B? As we’ve pointed out in previous blogs, businesspeople are human too. It’s more useful to think in terms of P2P – people to people – than B2B or B2C.

We’ve written about Adobe before and how innovative they are in the using emotion in their videos even though they sell to businesses. They’ve done the same with their UGC Instagram campaign, using it to show off pictures and videos produced by clients of their products. By doing so, they are building a community around their products and inspiring both existing and future customers.  

UGC is a valuable part of any business’s marketing mix, though it takes originality and imagination to make it work. Where things get a little murky is when businesses decide to produce UGC content for themselves. If you’re considering this approach then it’s important to factor in brand perception. For many businesses, UGC is appealing because the cost of production appear significantly lower. It’s worth remembering, that if sufficient equity has been built up in the perception of your brand, then UGC shouldn’t replace your branded content outright, instead it is better utilised as a compliment to your existing video strategy.

If you’re committed to a UGC approach for video. It is usually a good idea to work with a production company for both guidance on how to shoot the videos properly as well as for support in a post-production capacity.  It’s no great secret that films live or die in the edit and a skilled editor will maximise the full potential of your footage. Working with a production company also has the advantage of presenting a screening process to make sure the content being output is on brand.  

To discuss setting up a video UGC campaign for your business, please contact us now.

About the Author

Nathan Haines

Nathan is the managing director of Element 26 and an expert in video production and video marketing. Nathan enjoys supporting companies to grow their businesses using video. Get in touch on Twitter @element26uk

Why Your YouTube Channel Needs A Comments Strategy

YouTube comments are a great way to engage with your audience and to demonstrate that you’re interested in what your audience has to say.  As we said in our blog How to choose the best social channel for your video, posting your videos on YouTube is a great way to raise awareness of your goods or services. But that’s only the start of the process. In this blog, we look at why you need a comments strategy for your YouTube videos and how you put one in place.  

YouTube isn’t just a place to watch videos. People also use it to interact and comment on what they watch. This might be with the person who posts the video or with other viewers. Like all social media channels, it is a two-way street. If you want to use YouTube to raise awareness about your brand and what you sell, you need to build a relationship with your audience. The comments section can play a big part in this.

Research by Tubular Insight estimates that with a few exceptions, every video with 5,000 or more comments has at least one million views. True, this is a bit chicken and egg as you need the views to get the comments but the point is that views and comments go hand in hand. YouTube is an excellent place to host videos that are at the awareness stage of your customer journey. This might be a video version of your elevator pitch, for example. This type of video is likely to be more about your brand and values than your specific products or services. At this stage of the journey, you are trying to get your video seen by as many people as possible. The comments you (and other people make) can encourage people to re-watch the video, watch it all the way all the way through or share it with other people.

Click the image above for more information about the Elevator 1

Just gaining views isn’t the only the reason to have a comments strategy, though. Another is that the comments you post give you the chance to amplify the messages in your video, reaffirm your brand values and direct viewers to more of your content. Now you need a strategy. Here are 5 ways to put in place a comments strategy for your YouTube videos.

Post your own comments

YouTube videos without any comments look a little sad and people may be shy to kick off them off. There is nothing wrong with you starting the conversation. It shows that you are open to feedback and encourages viewers to interact with you. It also gives you the chance to direct what people talk about.  The most important thing to remember is to be authentic and add personality. No one will bother to engage in a conversation with a generic, boring brand.

Reply to comments promptly – ideally within an hour or two

We should say here that you will need to look at your comments settings. These let you hold all comments until you have reviewed them or you can allow all comments to be posted immediately. You can also blacklist certain users or specific words and phrases.  It is important to respond promptly while the video is fresh in the commenter’s mind. You want the conversation to gain momentum so don’t hang around.  

Answer constructive criticism

There are no hard and fast rules about what comments you allow but you need to be conscious of how you deal with critics and trolls. Commenters with constructive criticism should be welcomed. By replying to them you show your authenticity and that you take viewers’ comments seriously. This will give a positive view of your brand.

You should probably have a policy of dealing with abusive trolls as they can discourage people from engaging. Having said that, YouTube’s algorithm puts the top comments first so the chances are that unless you have a high troll to comments ratio these won’t be seen anyway (unless someone is determined to read all the comments from top to bottom).

When you respond to comments you have the opportunity to forward links to your website or other videos that may deal with issues raised. This is a chance to send potential buyers further along the customer journey and should be part of your blended approach to video marketing. Even if you don’t respond to each comment, a simple thumbs up shows that you are listening. All these are steps will help build a community around your brand.

Use your videos to fuel the conversation

You should think of your videos as the opening gambit in the conversation. You can use them to ask for comments, likes or for people to subscribe to your channel. You can also get feedback on what types of videos the audience would like to see in future.  Another thing you can do is showcase in your videos specific comments you have received. Shouting out to individuals is a fantastic way to add a personal touch. You could even include your biggest fans in a future video or invite them to submit their own videos.



Reward your community and build deeper engagement

You can reward your loyal fans’ in a variety of ways. One way is to produce exclusive content that is unlisted or private and only available to subscribers. Jamie Oliver did this to give a behind-the-scenes glimpse of his daily life. Another is to offer exclusive giveaways or competitions (although be aware that YouTube doesn’t allow you to offer a reward in return for likes or comments).

Produce great videos

It sounds obvious but the better the video, the more likely you are to attract comments. (Actually, that’s not strictly true. Controversial videos are good for gaining attention, too.) As a rule of thumb, though, an outstandingly produced video that tells a good story and grabs people’s emotions is a good place to start.

To discuss how Element 26 can help your business manage its YouTube channel, contact Nathan Haines at nathan@elementtwentysix.com.

About the Author

Nathan Haines

Nathan is the managing director of Element 26 and an expert in video production and video marketing. Nathan enjoys supporting companies to grow their businesses using video. Get in touch on Twitter @element26uk