Combating CGM

Do you have a new website you're trying to promote to get as fast as possible on the first page on Google? Or do you have a business that grows mostly in online? Besides the quality content and the attractive visual, you have to pay more attention to the content generated by users – CGM.

Consumer Generated Media (CGM) refers to any written content, video or photo created by a user, by using elementary or semi-professional instruments. CGM can include more applications used by a user to grow the audience, such as photo-sharing, posts on blogs, social networks of video blogging and the “like” button.

Why does your business depend on the CGM?

The media with the fastest growth rate is the one that the users generate and promote in their groups. These represent the most durable source of influence. So, if you pay attention and capitalize these kinds of media, they can become a competitive advantage for companies and brands.

Unlike paid mass-media, the CGM is created by consumers. They are mostly inspired by relevant experiences about the products or services and are frequently archived for lazy readers and other consumers with key-influence of the market. The CGM can be influenced, but not fully controlled by the marketers. More important, it leaves digital marks.  It's sensibly measurable, allowing the advertisers to gain brand equity, reputation, and real-time message effectiveness.

The most important step is to understand why the CGM can take various forms:

A. Blogs – most of the blogs today are rich in content, in stories written in the first person and multiple discussion themes. Although consumers rarely devote themselves to a brand blog, their experience abounds in narrative descriptions.

B. Posts on forums – these are areas of interest and industry focused on attracting consumers, based on a certain product, specialty or niche. Regularly, they designate the interest of the client for certain products or issues. Active participants tend to be friends with the ones that have tested the products or the discussed issue and buyers tend to be obedient.

C. Review and site rank – here there are fewer CGM opinions, but the reach and effects are huge, particularly in terms of consumer behavior. The reviews focus mostly on relevant experience, which significantly enhances the credibility and trust in the brand.

You have received negative reviews. How do you handle this problem?

Every person has his own opinion about a fact, a situation, a product or a service. But when you represent a company, reviews are transformed into a business card for the future clients. And as long as malcontents exist, here is how you can fastly fix or avoid these problems:

  1. Keep a close relationship with your public – they try to communicate with you via email, Facebook, Twitter or blog comments. And if they don't receive in time the answers they need, they will post their problems on review sites. So, it's very important to stay connected to avoid these situations.

  1. Be a professional all the way – even though you're right or not, don't forget to a be diplomatic. Make efforts to make yourself understood and willing to fastly solve the problem, if necessary.

  1. Encourage positive reviews.

  1. Respond, no matter what - it is very important to answer to negative feedback because otherwise the consumer’s trust in your company may be lost. Consider being open to dialogue.

D. Clubs and groups – these are extremely focused, especially the specialized websites, where enthusiasts gather around a single issue, product or item. They can be public or private.

E. Direct company feedback – is targeted directly towards companies; consumers express directly their feelings on these platforms.

Information promoted quickly through CGM 2

CGM quickly adapts to the improved format of online advertising.

Examples of CGM 2:

Mobile blogs, photo-sharing and tagging – mobile blogs are platforms which allow every user to post pictures in real time. Even more interesting is the fact that most photos today are accompanied by hashtags, which makes them easier to find, organize and index by Google. The smartphones’ cameras play a very important part in the development of moblogs – mobile blogs.

Vblogs and personal videos – Vblogs are like photo journals, very similar to online reality shows.

Podcasting – is also a form of CGM. Consumers create their own radio playlist and make it public to others.

This way, consumers are the ones that dictate the terms of media reach, frequency and impact.

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