Fueled by the Fenty Effect, diversity content has become a must for marketers. However, a claim to the cause may no longer be enough. Diverse populations don’t just want to be shown; they want to be seen.
With consumers asking for matching authenticity to back brands’ values, marketers are being challenged to consider user complexities — from appearance to location and lifestyles. Doing so creates the most valuable diversity content, and user-generated content (UGC) is the perfect method.
Results including superior ad performance, more web conversions and increased brand engagement make UGC one of the most powerful tools for creating meaningful initiatives. Additionally, the extremely low barrier to entry means consumers aren’t just able to see people like them; they can be that person by sharing their content.
Successfully converging on this diversity-authenticity intersection takes a few best practices. With UGC as the avenue, marketers can not only show diverse faces but also highlight how brand efforts are fueled by a larger value of identity. Here’s where to start:
Show The Audiences That Get Lost In The Crowd
It all starts by asking, “Who am I (not) representing in my feed?” It’s easy to grab content from the overwhelming majority. However, once you’ve identified who is missing from your content, go beyond identity to consider their point of view. Where identity is a pin in the map, point of view gives the whole picture — including how and why consumers use your products. UGC shows the nuances of diverse consumer life, from their motives to their surroundings, to substantiate your brand’s claim that “This is our community, and we’re proud.” Showcasing the point of view of those who are often lost in the crowd can build trust across audiences, as well as brand loyalty.
Invite More People In
After analyzing your feed, you might find that there’s a group of consumers you’d like to welcome more into your community. One way to open this door is by using influencer partnerships. Start by connecting with influencers of various identities and lifestyles to create your own network. Then, ask influencers within your community to show fellow users how their following can use the brand to suit their lifestyles. By showcasing influencer interactions with your brand, you’re inviting secondary audiences to engage with your products and strengthen their presence in your community.
Tear Down The Misconceptions
Another well-known benefit of UGC is its ability to provide reliable, unbiased accounts of user experience. As a result, brands can use these posts to validate product claims with greater authenticity and sincerity. You can also use this benefit of UGC to counter claims that may isolate an audience. For example, if your product lacks a reputation as being “textured hair-friendly,” use UGC and firsthand accounts to prove these assumptions wrong. Your brand might even benefit from organizing a targeted campaign that shifts these perspectives. UGC curated from your community can serve as a great resource when doing a soft rebrand like this.
Enable Two-Way Communication
Finally, UGC opens a doorway for consumers to communicate directly with your brand. It all starts with the sharing permissions: Once your brand reaches out to gather UGC, consumers are invited to continue their engagement. From likes to comments and direct messages with feedback, this interaction goes beyond a possibly impersonal brand image and encourages users to reach out — as well as continue posting UGC. Make it apparent that you value user opinions and would love if your community continued sharing. This relationship has the potential to grow into a micro-influencer network and, thus, a lasting relationship that benefits the entire community.
Sustaining The Change
UGC is a powerful tool for showcasing a brand’s diversity commitment. By sharing the many faces that make up a community, your company can illustrate a lasting dedication to representing and appreciating your consumers.
Brands can further invest in these initiatives by making changes behind the scenes. Facilitate a culturally competent team to develop relationships with consumers of various identities, as well as avoid cultural missteps. By pairing an awareness of your audience with an explicit showcase of their value, you can take UGC from easy, clickable content to a value statement that invites in your entire community.