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The Most Critical Ingredient to Meaningful Content is UGC, Says Social Native

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Ragovin spoke to #SMWNYC attendees on the importance of brands tapping into UGC as a vehicle to reimagine their content creation and distribution strategies.

Fashion, fitness, fishing —there is an account for everything on social media. Yet, brands are struggling with limited opportunities for content that could actually speak to the disposition of so many different audiences.

How can brands create meaningful content on demand?

Jeff Ragovin, Chief Growth Officer at Social Native, believes he has an easy answer: By tapping into the power of users, or user-generated content (UGC).

Being meaningful = being authentic

A true creator trumps an influencer when it comes to finding meaningful content, Ragovin said, because meaningful is also tied to being authentic.

“People on the subway are on their phones … addicted to what people are creating,” Ragovin said, noting that a lot of the time, if we look around, people are on their friends’ or families’ accounts and not necessarily spending much time on brand accounts.

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“Brand ads that are perfect are not seen because people are so used to seeing friends’ work,” he said.

He used the “Shot on iPhone” ads seen on billboards and bus stops as an example of what the Apple brand is doing to keep content meaningful, authentic, and within reach.

Avoid the one-size-fits-all approach

Along with the issue of too-perfect images, brands struggle when they run one-size-fits-all ad campaigns, forgetting that there are hundreds of thousands of kinds of audiences —remember fashion, fitness, fishing— out there.

Ragovin wonders why brands are not reaching out to those hundreds of thousands of people to not only ask them what they would prefer, but because they are often the “mini-creators” of those preferences and for a fraction of the cost.

With so much potential to personalize a product, so many brands are still using a white backdrop in their images, when Ragovin says it would be more meaningful if they showed how real people use the product.

In fact, Ragovin believes there are tremendous options for brands to tap into, highlighting the online real estate database company Zillow and their use of UGC videos for a recent ad campaign.

Zillow compiled two hundred videos that were shot across the country and on mobile phones, only, by people who were getting the keys to their new homes within their ad. That is, content created by real people.

“Think of what that would cost, to send a crew around the country. It would take a lot of time and be really expensive,” he said.

Ragovin’s easy solution, then, is to have users show the brand and the rest of the world how they engage with a given product. “Real stories, for television,” Ragovin concluded.

Want to learn more from Jeff? Listen to our podcast episode with him below!

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