Show, Don’t Tell: The Power of User Generated Content

Show, Don’t Tell: The Power of User Generated Content

NJP Blog image_Show Dont Tell_The Power of User Generated Content

There’s great news for beauty brands… the demand for social and digital content has never been higher. For many, traditional marketing is losing its relevance… it has a place, but will be mentally filed under “brand messaging” with preference given to the thoughts of family and friends, and the reviews of trusted online influencers.

If social media has taught us anything, it’s that people love to be part of what’s going on and to share experiences. Since social media has made it easier than ever for consumers to share their opinions, it’s time to encourage them to talk about your brand, and in turn, to pay attention to what they’re saying.

Show, Don’t Tell

In a highly visual industry, the breadth of opportunities to reach current/new audiences, to build engagement and ultimately sales, is there for the taking. The need for brands to differentiate themselves from competitors will encourage innovative, cutting-edge marketing to achieve this, for both prestige and mass.

So… how do brands combine the desire for user authenticity with on-brand visual messaging? User generated content (UGC). Encourage users and influencers to contribute their own images to the brands’ channels to share trusted content.

Digitally-savvy brands are not only good at content creation, but also at content curation, letting their target audience participate in the process. The recent surge in UGC proves that customers prefer hands-on experiences of their fellow consumers… they want to be part of the story and be recognised by their favourite brands.

Solid Social Media Presence

The majority of UGC comes from social networks, and to be successful, beauty brands need a solid social media presence. Popular networks include Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat. Anastasia Beverly Hills (88 percent of its photos are from influencers and other fans, including repurposing posts from MUAs or bloggers), Smashbox, OPI Nails, China Glaze and Garnier are good examples of employing UGC to strengthen their story on Instagram. Whether to raise brand awareness or create a fanbase, brands who constantly interact with users on social media networks are more likely to excel at both.

Inspiring customers to create and share UGC aids this effort, as their content provides a direct view into their real-world experiences. As a result, 50% of consumers claim that they remember content shared by their peers more than sponsored messages.

Create Something Catchy

A catchy hashtag, contest and interactive visual campaign might be all you need to encourage consumers to share photos and videos that align with your brand image, resonate with your ideal consumers and drive purchasing decisions for new customers. Do give guidance on the type of content they can post for optimum effect.

Beauty brands pull related posts predominantly via #hashtag campaigns. Charlotte Tilbury’s #TagYourTilbury, Nyx’s #NYXUKCosmetics and Urban Decay’s #URBANDECAYCosmetics are using this effectively. By featuring images on their websites, these brands are able to both spotlight and inspire their customers. YSL Beauty and KIKO Milano distinguish themselves by making site UGC elements “shoppable”. It’s now proven to be a commerce-enhancing tool effective in nudging the consumer down the purchase path. However, just 5% of beauty brands in the UK and 13% in the US take advantage of this L2 Beauty Index

With great UGC, comes responsibility. Brands do need to get the permission of the creator and Offerpop’s Rights Management for UGC Guide helps beautifully.

The Proven Benefits

There are many proven benefits that come from taking beauty brands’ ads and marketing into the 21st century. UGC is less expensive and more trustworthy than brand-produced content, and social media influencers are, influencing consumers now more than ever. Additionally, moving toward mobile optimisation and recognising people’s natural affinity for images are smart moves that take already successful brands to the next level. As digital marketing continues to shift, it could quite literally pay-off to learn from these brands’ tech-savvy experiences.


Lead image by Rachel Thomas and shared on Anastasia Beverly Hills 

Kathy Wrennall

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