How Viome leverages UGC in the marketing mix
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Most of your customers will trust your brand’s “About Us” page as far as they can throw the writer. We all know marketing and slick copy when we see it.
But people still trust each other. That’s why DTC brands that leverage user-generated content are thriving.
Take Viome, for instance. They’re a health and wellness company on a mission to digitize the human microbiome and solve chronic illnesses. They do this by sending a self-testing kit to your home, analyzing your blood and stool samples, and sending back personalized data, health recommendations, and a custom list of supplements designed uniquely for your biology.
In clinical trials, they’ve shown that their data and supplements can help alleviate:
- IBS by 38%
- Severe depression by 36%
- Anxiety by 40%
- Type 2 Diabetes by 30%
Not bad, huh?
But this article isn’t about what they’re doing—it’s about how they’re doing it. Aspiring DTC brands can learn a lot about marketing from them. In this article we’ll cover:
- The power of partnering with a celebrity
- Diversifying the UGC mix
- The influential power of user-generated content
Let’s get started.
The power of celebrity user-generated content
Ah, celebrities—the original influencers. Just like creators, they come with loyal followings and fans willing to listen to their recommendations. That’s why brands like Viome are putting them to work in the marketing mix.
Case-and-point: Paris Hilton has a reputation for being ahead of the latest trends. Before the Kardashians, she started the reality TV trend with The Simple Life. She’s been backing crypto since 2016. And now she’s a big fan of Viome, and she’s spreading the word across her podcast, social media, and more.
“Viome allows me to feel confident that my body is getting what it needs.”
Viome leveraged this celebrity endorsement by creating a link on their website to give people who discover the brand through her a special discount.
And she’s not the only celebrity the brand is putting to work with user-generated content.
Viome also leveraged the influencer of actor Tom Hopper. He’s opened up about eating disorders and the struggles of bulking and cutting for Hollywood roles, which led him to grow concerned about his health. With Tom, Viome spotlights a clip from a self-shot Youtube video where he’s talking candidly about his experiences with Viome.
What works so well about this approach is its authenticity. We all know when someone is trying to sell us something. If this was a high-production, polished video with a script shot in a studio, people would naturally have their guard up. But a video of Tom in his garden, talking to his fans in a video shot on his phone about something he seems to genuinely like? That’s the type of content that people trust. That’s authentic UGC.
Micro and medium-tier influencers
Influencer marketing is set to be worth $16.4 billion in 2022, and with the world teetering in and out of lockdown over the last couple of years, it’s no wonder everyone has become even more glued to their phones. With screens taking so much of our attention, it wasn’t long before brands turned to creators of varying levels of influence for help.
Someone trying to hire Kim Kardashian might be expected to pay up to $889,000 per post—but medium-tier influencers are more affordable and have a better conversion rate due to closeness with their audience.
“Small to mid-sized brands are more likely to stick with micro to mid-sized influencers who have less than 50,000 followers but can see engagement rates of 7% or more.”
— Hashtagpaid’s 2021 State of Influencer Marketing report
The influential power of user-generated content
In the case of Viome, they’re very active on social media and are leveraging every type of influencer (from micro to mid-level to macro.) Across all of these engagements, however, there’s a common theme: authentic user-generated content.
The reason: UGC humanizes your brand. There’s a certain level of authenticity it creates that’s hard to replicate in any other format. And this is critical, as there’s a real disconnect between brands and consumers right now. 91% of marketers think they’re creating authentic content on their websites, but only 51% of consumers agree.
Another benefit: UGC videos have almost zero production costs. Most of the time it’s just a customer filming themselves on their phone. But that’s what makes it more believable—if it was a highly polished video produced in a studio with perfect lighting, the content feels different.
User-generated content is essentially modern-day word of mouth. If someone likes your product enough to get on the virtual soapbox, that’s something you need to lean into. You can leverage this material in many places, such as:
- Your social media pages
- Your website
- Educational content
Viome does this by making a dedicated testimonial page on its website with both video reviews and written testimonials about the product. This shows potential customers that the product is used by people like them. It shows that there’s more than just slick marketing and advertising dollars behind the company.
All of this builds social proof.
Dr. Cialdini’s seminal book Influence: The Psychology Of Persuasion—the resource on conversion marketing—listed social proof as one of the six principles of persuasion. It explains how and why people innately follow (and are influenced by) what other people are doing.
Translation: Companies that leverage UGC are using one of the most important levers of persuasion, as data shows consumers trust user-generated content over most other forms of marketing.
User-generated content and marketing: final thoughts
I don’t mean to sound overly blunt, but here’s something you need to hear:
Most people aren’t going to read your “About Us” page and trust everything you say. They know slick copywriting when they see it. They want a product that will solve their problem, and they want to hear that it works from real people.
It doesn’t matter whether UGC comes from a customer named Jenn, a micro-influencer in Illinois with 1,000 followers, or from a celeb like Tom Hooper filming himself in his garden.
People trust people. And companies who lean into that are set to enjoy a profitable future.