Using fans to sell your product

User generated content when married with social media and harnessed in the right way gives brands a very powerful selling tool – with their customers playing the unwitting part of the salesman.

Marketers are keenly aware that user content carries more weight and authenticity than anything they can produce, both in quality and quantity. An increasing number of online marketing campaigns are being created to capitalise on this shift.

Authenticity is a key pillar of social media and the beauty of content generated by fans of your brand is that it is not burdened by BS. They are stories (for the most part) grounded in a truth.

So why spend time and money trying to replicate this? Particularly for those brands with finite resources it pays to harness compelling user content and showcase stories featuring your brand or product.

To quote Cory Doctorow a well know Canadian blogger / journalist, “Content isn’t king. If I sent you to a desert island and gave you the choice of taking your friends or your movies, you’d choose your friends — if you chose the movies, we’d call you a sociopath. Conversation is king. Content is just something to talk about.”

‘People’ not ‘brands’ drive the best conversations and provide the glue for online communities.

Immediacy is currency in the social space. The ability for a brand to harness and showcase content generated in real time is incredibly powerful particularly at live events.

With the advent of aggregation tools such as Stackla, user’s social media posts can be displayed in real time on a grand scale offline (e.g. stadium screens) and online. In turn fans are rewarded with their 15mins of fame. A great example of this is the recent Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

User generated content curated and showcased within your owned media (via an application like Stackla) adds colour, personality and relevance about what you are trying to sell.

Products will never go away and need to be sold, but will never be as interesting or compelling as the user’s interpretation of why they exist. Creating your perfect salesman in the process.