Today we are dealing with a digital version of word of mouth, a version that we know as user-generated content (UGC) and that is as important to take into account as any of your other online strategies.
Why is it essential to take UGC into account?
If just over a decade ago word of mouth was the most important source of information during a consumer’s buying decision process, it has now been transformed thanks to digitalization and following the trends of the social era.
“It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.” – Benjamin Franklin
The ease with which consumers share information today poses both a great opportunity and a great threat. Any message (positive or negative) can go viral in a moment’s notice. And in this case, many marketing and public relations specialists strive for this message to be only the positive one, in order to build a stronger reputation, increase brand recognition and users’ appreciation of it.
On the other hand, we all understand the nightmare of the damage that a negative message can cause: we have heard these stories and even experienced them firsthand with our company, seeing its image and reputation damaged.
>According to a recent study by Salesforce on user-generated content (UGC),
For the travel industry, especially for hotels, managing online reputation and user-generated content is of utmost importance due to the specific characteristics of the industry. Service, being one of the most important parts of the tourism product, is intangible and depends on the human factor. Therefore, people do not rely so much on general advertising statements of “providing the best and personalized services”, as on the opinions of consumers who have already tried the service.
Why is user-generated content so powerful?
1. We like to share.
It’s no secret that, in general, people like to share their lives on social networks, even on other online channels. There is now a sense of togetherness and appreciation for those people who share snippets of who they are. People like to contribute personal content because in return it satisfies that need to connect and belong. In addition, knowledge is provided (as a service), especially if we take into account opinions and reviews.
2. We seek advice online.
It is not surprising that for any question we ask ourselves nowadays we make a consultation on the Internet. Online reviews and comments are the first source of information that consumers rely on when making a purchase, as we said earlier.
3. We trust personal opinions.
We trust other users more than advertising, media or information that may be available about the brand in different online channels. This is what is known as ‘social proof’, and only the opinions of people on the consumer side can get it.
Where should you manage user-generated content?
It’s as “easy” as asking the question: where do those consumers who may be our potential customers share and seek advice?