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Why B2B Can Effectively Utilize UGC

Now-a-days user generated content (UGC) is something that advertisers value because it's living proof that an audience is engaging with the content of a site, but shy away from because it always ultimately ends up as an off topic, vulgar argument and can be a risk for clients that value brand safety '?¦ which is all of them.

Whether it's a finance site with a 'high class'? audience with an average Household Income (HHI) of $200 million+, or something like the Huffington Post (a personal favorite), where college kids browse articles and fire off opinions 24/7 (especially during O-Chem 102); UGC always inevitably ends up as a battle between some guy named Vector901 and some guy named Sparticus463 which could not be more off topic and is riddled with name calling and intelligence ' (let's just call it, questioning).

But a recent whitepaper shed some light on the type of brands that should not only attempt to surround UGC, but also actively participate in UGC ' business to business brands (B2B).

In the B2B world, UGC is not riddled with expletives and put downs, because B2B UGC (a little alphabet soup) is primarily used as an information sharing tool, where professionals share business experiences, advice, and best practices. Research shows that on average, B2B professionals in the IT space spend 5.86 hours per week consuming or participating in UGC and Social Media as it relates to work. Almost more than they utilize Editorial Media (think CNN.com, WSJ.com and other publishers) 3.81 and vendor content (think brands) 3.41 combined.

B2B UGC is growing in popularity because more and more B2B professionals are relying on fellow experts within the same industry, perhaps with more experience, for product evaluation, advice, and recommendations. 64.4% of IT professionals surveyed claimed that UGC helped them solve problems in the workspace through experience based advice, whereas only 14.6% claimed that Social Media and UGC do not help them do their job better at all. Think of it as an extension of the office, if you have a question that Jim the cubicle over can't answer, rather than offer up your best guess or take the risk of learning from experience, check out a reliable collaborative site and see what other professionals stuck in a similar situation have done, and find out what the outcome was.

So what does this mean?

It means as a B2B brand, do not be misled to think that the demand for your input in social and collaborative sites is not there. Instead see this as an opportunity to take an industry leading role as an active participant on collaborative sites and social networks where UGC lives. You don't need to be an industry innovator constantly publishing new content and insight to have a presence on a site where relevant professionals (aka future customers) turn to seek advice. 58.1%of professionals surveyed look to Social Media and UGC sites to build skills and expertise in their field.

When you do utilize UGC however, also know that of the members surveyed, on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the most important in regards to Social Media & UGC participation from brands, that the two highest ranking categories, both scoring at 4.2, were transparency and openness about the brand involvement, and responsiveness to member questions, tips and troubleshooting.

So take a passive role but engage with your audience, answer questions when asked, provide insight when available, and don't think that social media and UGC is just for brands like Old Spice and high schoolers.

Source: Top 5 Trends in B2B Social Media Usage: What Every Marketer Should Know ' White Paper ' Toolbox.com 2010

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In the world of social media, trends, features, and even platforms can seemingly become a phenomenon overnight. One night, you go to bed after scrolling your Instagram feed, and the next morning you wake up to a brand new, intriguing yet unfamiliar app called TikTok. It doesn't take long for this app to surpass all others as the most downloaded app of all time with over 1 billion active users across the world.  Flash forward to the present day where Instagram - and almost every other popular social platform, for that matter - are scrambling to keep up with this new app. So, what makes TikTok so attractive, and can Instagram compete with their look-a-like competitive feature, IG Reels? Well, let’s dive in!    Why is short-form video so popular all of the sudden?  Before we talk about Reels and TikTok, let’s first address why the short-form video nature of both platforms caught on so quickly. 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The full screen and vertical swipe feed create a frictionless user experience that makes it as easy as possible to enjoy the app.  TikTok’s unique user experience puts short-form video content curated just for you at the center stage, creating a seamless and simple way to enjoy content. On the other hand, Reels is only a feature of Instagram among many others.  Music & Video Editing Tools Due to copyright concerns, Instagram business accounts only have access to Reels’ library of royalty-free tracks, while content creators have access to a larger library full of popular copyrighted music. While Reels does offer video editing tools, they can be tricky to navigate and their filters and effects are not very extensive.  Music and sound are the cornerstones of a TikTok video, and the app has nailed this feature with its extensive library of music and user-generated sounds available to content creators and brands alike. On top of that, TikTok’s video editing features are user-friendly, and they offer a wide variety of filters and video effects.  TikTok is the clear winner when it comes to music and video editing tools given their extensive music and sound library and editing capabilities.  Platform Purpose   Instagram, home of Reels, is a network-oriented app, where users are used to seeing content from people they are familiar with and have chosen to follow. 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Instagram has also shared that content that is visibly recycled from other apps (e.g. contains a TikTok watermark) will also be deprioritized by the algorithm.  Beyond all of the features listed above, TikTok’s arguably largest advantage is its algorithm. The platform’s parent company, ByteDance, has been very transparent about the large investment they made to design the app’s algorithm that picks up on users' personalized interests in record time, contributing to the effortless and enjoyable nature of consuming content on the app.  Overall, TikTok’s algorithm is the first of its kind and unlike anything we’ve ever seen in the social space, which ultimately contributes to its success. We don’t know as much about Instagram’s Reels algorithm, but we can assume it attempts to mimic the TikTok experience while staying true to the app and attempting to keep Reels content unique.     How Brands Can Be Successful on Reels and TikTok To be successful on Reels and TikTok, brand content shouldn’t feel like brand content. Brands need to get scrappy and creative to grab user’s attention and not stand out like a sore thumb among the style of content shared by individual creators. With that in mind, both Reels and TikTok require a unique content strategy within the brand’s larger social strategy. However, that inevitably requires extra time and effort. To decide which of these platforms to begin focusing your efforts on, ask yourself these two questions:  Which platform is your audience on currently?  Which one can you commit to doing consistently?  While there are many benefits of TikTok as discussed above in our comparison of the two platforms, many brands have already established themselves and have grown a following on Instagram, and therefore beginning to utilize Reels has a low barrier to entry. While cross-posting between the two platforms is an option we’ve seen numerous brands take, a carefully thought out strategy for each channel your brand has a presence on is more important than simply having content out there. 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