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Why brands should welcome bad reviews for growth and authenticity

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User-generated content (UGC) has recently emerged as a powerful digital marketing tool, akin to the oldest and highly effective form of marketing, word-of-mouth.

Tapping into personal experience and genuine emotion, UGC has become more influential and trusted than standard advertising, with many brands already incorporating this within their marketing strategies. With nearly all (95%) of shoppers, today, relying on ratings and reviews to inform their purchasing decisions, user-generated content is an essential part of any digital marketing strategy. It’s so significant even a single review can boost orders by 10%, with 50 reviews capable of driving a 30% increase in sales.  

Integrating user-generated content into a marketing strategy is a foolproof way for businesses to build brand authenticity, drive sales, and seamlessly integrate into the ever-growing creator economy – all necessitates to succeed in today’s turbulent market. However, with the increased availability of UGC and an over saturation of influencers and content creators, new challenges have emerged regarding authenticity and how brands can ensure what they share with their customers is in fact accurate. Here are the trends and considerations businesses should be aware when looking towards the evolution of UGC and review authenticity: 

Crack Down on Fake Reviews – As UGC continues to become more prevalent and widely used within business and marketing strategies, the need to crack down on fake reviews will be a top priority for brands. With 78% of Australians wary of fake reviews, we can expect this sentiment to only continue as new technologies arise, putting future pressure on businesses to ensure the UGC on their channel is legitimate. If not, they run the risk of negatively impacting their audience’s trust, perception and even future purchases being made.  

Brands will need to be more vigilant with what is shared on their platforms. One solution will be partnering with a reliable UGC service provider that has strict processes in place to reduce the likelihood of fake reviews making it to the customer level.  

Additionally, as Aussies become more aware of misleading digital content, we can expect this to be a topic of interest for both brands and the government, as they will get more involved with combating this issue. Legislation will be something to keep in mind as it will likely change to keep up with the increase in fraudulent content.  

Embrace Negative Feedback – Although your first instinct may be to hide bad reviews, brands are encouraged to use negative feedback and reviews to acknowledge any concerns the consumer might have around a product or service. From our research on fake news 84% of Australian respondents think negative reviews are either just as or more important than positive reviews. With a majority claiming negative reviews contain more detailed information on pros and cons, and 54% believing they’re less likely to be fake.   

Shoppers look to reviews for help making educated decisions on their purchases, specifically interested in what will suit their lifestyle and reason for purchasing. One example could be a young family with three children might have a different opinion of a negative review for a ‘loud’ washing machine because their priorities could be reliability and a fast clean cycle.  

Furthermore, negative reviews are also an opportunity for engaging with consumers and identifying potential product improvements. The more UGC and reviews being shared, the more data available to a business about their product or service. This is a great opportunity for brands to use this feedback as a key learning to adapt to the consumer’s needs.  

Utilise the Power of AI – Artificial Intelligence (AI) has taken the world by storm and is no doubt here to stay. Today, we see it regularly used as an everyday tool to assist with creating content, processing data, and helping retail brands increase review volume, recency and quality.   

However, while the machine learning tool has gained wide-spread attention, there are more capabilities yet to be explored. Along with assisting with the quantity and quality of review content, AI will be able to be used to identify the most effective influencers based on audience demographics, engagement rates and past performance. 

There will also be a focus on high-quality, professionally produced content due to a more wide-spread use of AI, which means a brand’s messaging will need to be more visually and narratively compelling. 

Ensure Influencer Authenticity – The creator economy is booming, with brands jumping on the opportunity to tap into the widespread influence of different types of content creators on social media. In the future, influencers will continue to be a key part of marketing strategies due to their ability to authentically impact their followers’ purchasing decisions. However, with many Australians (43%) saying they have some distrust or no trust in influencers, the future challenge lies with finding the right influencer to collaborate with and ensuring transparency is conveyed. 

To help alleviate some of this distrust, authentic content and transparent relationships will be crucial. Influencers will need to clearly disclose sponsored content, and brands will be seeking genuine endorsements. We can also expect to see brands engaging in long-term partnerships instead of one-off campaigns, to build a strong relationship with the influencer and their audience, to establish more consistent and credible messaging.  

Additionally, live streaming and real-time engagement will become popular as it will feel more authentic, allowing influencers to engage with their audience and provide real-time interactive experiences.  

Partner with a Credible Service Provider – Your brand’s reputation is invaluable – it’s the sum of a consumers’ perceptions, experiences, and interactions with your business. Working with a provider who can ensure authentic UGC plays a pivotal role in shaping this reputation, serving as a testament to your product quality, customer service, and overall brand experience. With an authentic UGC service provider, businesses can curate a rich tapestry of genuine customer testimonials, empowering them to showcase their strengths and differentiate themselves from competitors.  

With authenticity at the core of how trust and credibility are built, partnering with a reliable and credible UGC service provider is essential. This ensures the online presence of your business is bolstered by genuine, unfiltered feedback from real customers. This transparency not only instils confidence in prospective buyers but also fosters long-term loyalty by demonstrating a commitment to honesty and integrity. With 78% of Australians wary of being misled with fake content, working with a provider who will ensure UGC is legitimate on your channel is a must.  

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