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User Generated Content

One of the big trends within the last few years has been user generated content; look at blogs, reality shows and YouTube and you will understand. The statistics show that in 2008 consumers of user generated content numbered 115 million; this number is expected to increase to 154 million by 2013. (source: eMarketer, 2008).

But how can we, as website owners, take advantage of and maximize its potential?

Well, the obvious choice is getting involved with social media, but we can do more. How about adding user created videos to your website? How do you go about accomplishing it and what are the benefits?

I will use a sample scenario to make this point. Let’s say you are in charge of marketing for a school. The best content are success stories from your graduates. But how do we get our hands on these?

Side note here: make sure you keep in touch with your graduates as much as you are able to – an article on ways to keep in touch is for another time.

The answer - run a contest for the hottest success story. Have your graduates submit videos to you through YouTube on their success stories. Your current students get to vote on their favorite. The winner is profiled on the website and gets a contest give away.

You can see the benefits of this scenario are multiple. First, you get free, persuasive content on your website. Second, your graduates are more involved and will tend to be proud of and recommend your school. Third, your current graduates will be more motivated and driven to complete their course. And finally, if promoted correctly, you will create a social media buzz that will increase your brand recognition.

User generated content is going on with or without you. People are talking with or without your presence so why not utilize and direct what is already happening.

Author:
Dilsah Tercanli, Director of Marketing Strategies for Searchlight Designs
Posted October 12, 2010