How important is a user to you?
Yes! I know. Silly question.
Obviously, a user is the most important element of any business.
Ok, let me start again…
How important is content for your business?
Ok…My bad again. I know you have been reading my articles. And by now you know that content is the soul of marketing.
Let’s get on it one more time…
How important is user-generated content for you?
Do not be. Today’s topic of discussion is user-generated content.
And especially how sports brands are using the user-generated content, to stand out in the niche market.
Before we jump on to the sports brands, let us first get the head clear about – User Generated Content (UGC).
- What is user-generated content?
User-generated content is basically the content (in any form) shared by your users or fans and followers.
Instead of you boasting about your product and services, your customers do it for you.
– User-generated content can be in any form:
– Resharing of social media posts
– Reviews and testimonials of your customers
– Photos and content sharing by the users
– Blogs and article writing and sharing by your users
– Recommendations, etc.
Your customers are the best marketers you can have plus not to forget the word of mouth publicity.
- What are the benefits of user-generated content?
The best thing about UGC is, it creates more authenticity and build brand credibility, without you having to so much about it.
Think it from a customer’s point of view. If you were a customer, would you buy any service or product just by trusting the brand? Or would you be more convinced if you heard about the brand from an existing customer?
I guess this explains the funda.
Some of the benefits of using user-generated content are:
– Builds Trust – customers are more likely to believe other existing customers.
– Helps You Gain Insights – if you observe the UGC closely, you will understand what your customers are interested in and what engages them.
– Improves SEO Ranking – UGC is comparatively more authentic, hence the chances of SEO ranking improves.
Before going any further, take a look at these numbers as well.
– 67% of the consumers read customer reviews before making the final purchase decision.
– 76% of the millennials are more likely to believe an image shared by a real customer rather than a brand.
– 84% of the viewers are influenced by the user-generated content on the website.
User-generated content is basically a boon for all type of businesses. But today I am going to focus only on the…
Sports brand and how they can stand out in their niche market with the help of UGC
Competition in the market keeps growing and it becomes all the more compact if your niche area is not too large.
If I talk about sports brands, they are constantly in the run to look for authentic ways to connect with their customers.
In the sports industry, you just do not choose a brand because you need its products. You choose and purchase from it because you trust it and the way it presents itself.
Yes, this trust is a very important factor in the sports industry as well. And the best way to build trust is to let your users speak for you.
The niche area for a sports company is not as big as that for the fashion industry. Though their target audience is limited and specific. But reaching out these specific people is no less than a challenge.
Let us take an example. Imagine you are a cyclist brand.
How many people usually buy cycles or its accessories today?
You are right..! Not many of them. Probably some fitness freaks or those who are into sports and different cycling activities.
And to add on, you are not the only ones selling cycling products. There are thousands like you in the wild out there.
And just like you are looking for the right strategies to attract more customers, they are hunting for it too.
So you see, not just the competition is tough, but the target audience is also very limited.
So now the question that might be bothering you may be…
How sports brands are using shared images and videos of their customers to promote products?
My guess here is, by doing something that your peers, might not be doing.
Earning the trust of the people.
And like I said above, the easiest and fastest way to do this is by using user-generated content to spread awareness about your brand.
Now that I have taken an example of a cyclist brand, let me list down the case study of a famous cyclist brand.
Case study 1 – International cyclist brand, Fizik
Fizik is a famous international cycling brand.
It marked its a footprint in the industry by producing and distributing high-quality cycling accessories and bike saddles.
Though Fizik had its loyal customers, the company was looking for a way to reach to the common people and converts them as valuable customers.
This brand indulged in promoting the company by using the user-generated content.
And the results were amazing.
“In the cycling world, you don’t just choose a brand because you need another pair of shoes or saddle. You choose the way a brand presents itself. Then the customers wants to share with the world and with their friends, that they chose that specific brand.” – Enrico Grando, e-commerce and digital manager with Fizik.
I guess these words are more than enough to mark the success of experimenting with the UGC.
In a short period of time, the company realised that the bikers who were their customers were very excited to flaunt themselves, using Fizik products.
Now the challenge was how to use these images and videos shared by Fizik customers to broaden the engagement as well as increase sale.
The solution to this was harnessing the power of user-generated content and spread awareness.
Seeing the success of the user-generated content campaign, Enrico Grando said that, “User-generated content is super important for selling in a niche market. When people ride their bikes, they are having fun, they are doing what they love the most in the world. And they want to belong to a community and to a brand.”
This was precisely true and the numbers backed his statement.
- They collected more than 13,000 user-generated images.
- And experienced an average order value increase of 4.4%
So, basically the existing users of Fizik products helped the company get them more users by sharing their experiences.
This really works.
Next in the queue is:
Why using UGC is so compelling when competing in a niche market?
To get an answer to this, scroll back up and read the benefits of user-generated content once again.
Hopefully, the picture is a little clearer now.
To make things more convincing, let me dot down another case study of a famous sports brand – Lazer Sports.
This is one of the oldest, a helmet manufacturing company in the world. When I say oldest I really mean it.
Lazer sports has been into helmet manufacturing for both professional and leisure cyclists for almost a century now.
Wow…This is a long time to sustain in the market, especially with the coming of the digital era.
There has to be some secret behind its sustainability. Let us take a look at it.
Case study 2 – Lazer sports, cycling manufacturing company
Celebrating its 100th anniversary, the company experimented with the UGC, by spreading the word of its celebration across the world to its loyal customers.
Deciding to accommodate the user-generated content in its marketing strategy, the company boasted on social platforms with images and videos of its happy customers wearing Lazer Sports helmets.
Marking it’s 100 years in the industry, Lazer Sport’s online marketer, Nico Dierickx stated that, “We want to celebrate that we are a company, that is still active and is still selling the same products, from 100 years ago. For professional helmets, we’ve been the number one brand for so long, so we want to say, ‘Hey, maybe you’ve heard about us for 20 years, but we’d actually like to share that, we’ve been around for a 100 years now.”
The thought and implementation of using the user-generated content and showing off their proud customers across several platforms online was a move that brought them back great results.
UGC worked for this sports brand as well.
It is more or less repeating the same thing again, but I would still like to note it down once again…
How using UGC develops a deeper relationship with online customers?
It is like a cycle that keeps repeating.
A user comes to you, you earn his trust, you build brand credibility and a loyal customer. This customer than talks about you to someone else, then that person starts believing in your brand and becomes a customer.
Then the same cycle repeats, this new customer again gets you another customer.
Be it personal or professional, the most important thing in a relationship is – TRUST.
Once you earn that trust, you win the battle. And you know that the toughest part of winning a battle is knocking down the most difficult element.
And I am sure, you know how difficult it is to win trust.
Anyone will only trust you if he truly believes in your authenticity. And authenticity does not come when you speak for yourself.
Obviously, no company talks about its drawbacks and you would not too.
Here comes in the role of the user-generated content. When the customers who are actually using your products and services, recommend you it becomes more real and genuine.
You will speak good about you all the time. But your customer will speak well about you only when he is happy and satisfied with you as a reliable brand.
And when this satisfied customer spreads a word about your brand, a non-customer instantly believes him.
So here, the entire game is about winning the trust and you can genuinely do this by using the user-generated content.
These two case studies clearly state that working strategically with user-generated content is a good idea.
It does not just increase your customers but also builds brand credibility and especially if you are working in a tight niche market, like the sports brand.
Customers are now smarter than ever. If they trust you, they expect to be involved in your community.
One good thing about the user-generated content is, it has negligible side effects.
By giving your users a platform, where they can talk about they being your customer is the perfect way to enhance existing customer’s trust and build new customers.
If you are a sports brand and are looking for a hole to get into your niche market, this is your key. Try using the UGC strategy and see the results for yourself.
And do not forget to share your experiences in the comment box below.