Let Your Fans Take the Reins: Participation Marketing

July 11, 2016

In May, Oxford’s social team attended The Participation Marketing Conference hosted by Offerpop, a leader in visual user-generated content marketing platforms. Participation marketing, also known as user-generated content, encourages brands to embrace social media in order to easily allow consumers to share stories and information with others. After a day of hearing from thought leaders across the social-scape, here is what the team learned about raising user-gen participation on our clients’ social pages:

Keep up with leaders in the digital space. Doritos, Taco Bell, Hotels.com … these brands are embracing social media and not only producing content to excite and entertain their consumers, but taking an active role in guiding consumers to create and share their own, on-brand content. It’s important for brands to think of new ways to get attention from their audience that feel authentic and thank them for posting that awesome photo or hilarious story about their products. Even a simple retweet can make a consumer feel loved and encourage them to keep sharing!

Seize the opportunity to tell a new brand story. Taking a backseat to consumers can be nerve-racking, but the unique stories and information brands may find if they listen to what their consumers are saying is worth it! Searching keywords on Twitter and hashtags on Instagram can dig up quality content; even if brands haven’t created a branded hashtag yet, chances are people have tagged the product anyway. Brands will benefit from finding out what people are saying and use that to craft a new campaign or develop a new product that can further satisfy the needs of their consumers.

Acknowledge the power of the reviewer. With every review on Yelp, Google, Amazon or Facebook, consumers are telling a brand’s story, and most consumers won’t purchase a product without reading these reviews first. So, how should brands address negative reviews, questions and comments? With transparency and responsiveness as consumers are heading more and more to social with questions, praise or complaints to get a quick response. Whether it’s with a straight answer, a “thank you,” or a note to say someone will contact them soon, it’s important to respond and show that social is an active and effective means of communicating with consumers.

Decide how social fits into marketing strategy. Brands who can leverage their influencers and guide them to develop great content featuring their products will benefit from increased exposure and inspire future purchases. Brands are fighting for organic and authentic social sharing, and the competition is fierce. Working with a blogger or influencer is a great way to get new eyes on and help people think differently about brands.

Create the right social content to engage audiences. Step away from the call-to-action. Resist the urge to plug the benefits of products. Compose meaningful content that connects to audiences on an emotional level. Find out, and then OWN how consumers want to connect with the brand. Content that is emotional, funny, interesting and useful will get traction on social, and by tapping into the mindset of target consumers, brands will be able to quickly identify and build content around what will appeal most to their fans.