How are "older" online Americans getting hooked onto UGC experiences online?
Social Media Strategies Travel 2008 Special"If you create a MySpace page with little value other than cartoon characters and funny video snippets, you'll attract high school and college kids. But there are other UGC experiences online that older demographics are starting to engage with more frequency."
Published: 07 Mar 2008
Social Media Strategies Travel 2008 Special
"If you create a MySpace page with little value other than cartoon characters and funny video snippets, you'll attract high school and college kids. But there are other UGC experiences online that older demographics are starting to engage with more frequency."
"UGC tools, travel widgets, dialogue platforms or data, which can help with research and customer care are the most attractive to older online Americans that are becoming increasingly hip to UGC experiences online."
This insight came from
Tom Russell, VP of Brand Marketing, Orbitz Worldwide, when he was asked by EyeforTravel.com to respond to a viewpoint pertaining to social networking being in its truest form for the 15 -25 age demographic and would positioning a site with social networking as a key component can alienate the more mainstream audience.
From consumers' perspective, when do consumers seek out UGC in the buying cycle and what do people actually look for in consumer generated content?
On this, Russell, a speaker during Social Media Strategies Travel 2008 Conference in San Francisco, said, "UGC communities are still at the front (planning) and end (postmortem) of the travel experience, primarily. That being said, with new services like Orbitz' Traveler Update or our integration of orbitz.triphub.com, UGC sites are becoming a part of the trip itself as travelers share information during their travels, be it photos, video blogs or trip diaries."
According to him, users get back a few things:
1) The good Samaritan feeling of knowing they helped other travelers brave the experience of travel itself...avoid the pitfalls of a bad hotel or a long security line.
2) They get to experience a better trip by relying on the reviews of other folks like them in the community. A mom will trust other moms. A guy from New Jersey might trust another user from the garden state vs someone from Illinois.
3) Then admittedly, there is a bit of the ego factor. The fulfillment of one's ego that their opinion counts...that they helped influence the dialogue or the future destiny of a location. And that is a very powerful feeling.
UGC sometimes gets some bad reputation, because it can be difficult to regulate it and companies are frightened that their brands will be positioned in a negative light, or next to content that is in their perspective - inappropriate.
"Your brand does run the risk of becoming a target. UGC - as unregulated as it is - is the Vox Populi. You can't ignore it, but you also need to consider it is more likely than not, still the active minority of customers engaged with your brand," he said. "A firestorm on Facebook or Flyertalk is an important warning flag that warrants rapid internal scrutiny. But with wider focus group testing, you sometimes may find their opinions diverge from the mass market or from what your most active customers want. You need to consider the blend of information collection that provides a more wholisitic view of your brand."
On difference between an acquisition and retention UGC strategy, he said, "You certainly can both acquire and retain customers with different uses of UGC - positive reviews and comments about your brand, by creating an ongoing dialogue with your existing customers, you can increase customer satisfaction and retention. It really depends on your goals and how you design the UGC strategy to achieve those goals."