Brief #98: The most powerful form of marketing

This content originally appeared on February 3, 2022 as part of the Future of Marketing weekly email series. Subscribe here.

Welcome to Future of Marketing.

Each week, we send you the most relevant trends, resources, and strategies in social and user-generated content (UGC) from leading marketers and brands around the globe. 

Today, we’re discussing…

  • User-generated content is underrated
  • Amplifying the voice of your biggest fans
  • #BrandCrush: FedEx 💘

User-generated content is underrated

Did you know 72% of consumers believe that reviews and testimonials submitted by customers are more credible than the brand talking about their products? 

Regardless of your industry, user-generated content (UGC) is not just about capturing testimonials; UGC also helps marketers scale content across multiple channels – while increasing engagement and return on investment. 

Here’s how it works: In an ideal scenario, customers will tag your company on social media because they enjoyed your experience (or products) so much – whether that’s a customer sharing a photo of a delicious meal at a restaurant, a video of their favorite skincare products, or a captivating image of their hotel stay. 

Instagram user (@Kacozi) shared a captivating image of them swimming in the Alila Hotels pool with a mountainous background

Instead of having marketers stage content, brands can ask fans for permission to re-share content about their experience (UGC) across brand channels. In fact, 91% of consumers agree that when brands re-share content by customers, they are more likely to share content about the brand or its products, too. Not to mention, 61% of marketers plan to incorporate more user-generated content into their strategies in 2022. 

But… “what if people aren’t creating content about my brand?” 

60% of consumers want brands to tell them what content to create (and how to share it). Ask for reviews, testimonials, and visual content – like photos or videos – from your customers. You can also amp up your UGC efforts by hosting contests and giveaways that encourage people to submit content. Just don’t forget to tell fans to tag your brand and hashtag (this will organize UGC under one place for easy access). 

Amplify the voice of your fans 

“Every time you post [brand-created] content in the feed, you’re competing with influencers for the same community,” shared Neal Schaffer, Digital Marketing Consultant, Author, and Speaker. “Why try to compete with people who are doing it better than you?”   


Neal’s right – why not amplify the voice of those who are already creating content about your brand? Why not focus on building relationships with your fans, customers, team, and potential customers? 

After all, your goal should be to have customers (and team) walk away thinking, “I love this brand, I had a great experience, and I want to tell everyone about it.” Because word-of-mouth really is the most powerful form of marketing. 

We recorded an incredible episode with Neal Schaffer, where we uncovered tons of val

🎙Listen to the full episode (or read the transcript) here 🎙

PS. If you know any interesting marketers you’d like us to interview on the Future of Marketing podcast, send us a DM on Twitter. We’d love to hear from you. 

What we’re learning

#BrandCrush: FedEx 💘

Let’s be real. When you think “FedEx,” you don’t necessarily associate the brand with a fun social media presence – but they successfully flipped that perception with their award-winning “FedEx in the Wild” UGC campaign.

“When we initially launched our Instagram presence, it failed,” the brand admitted. “We reused content found on our other social channels without a real strategy, which ultimately was not successful.” 

FedEx realized they needed to focus less on themselves and more on spotlighting their fans, and they did this by encouraging fans to share photos of FedEx transportation they spotted around the world.  

FedEx's instagram showcasing captivating images of their planes and vans all around the world

In the first nine months since launching the campaign, FedEx’s Instagram follower count increased by 404% – and now they not only have a visually captivating feed but a highly engaged and loyal audience.

So, take notes from FedEx and ask yourself… “how (and where) can my brand creatively use UGC to amplify the voice of our fans?”