How to use different types of user-generated content to enhance storytelling of employer branding event
In the article, we will raise three issues in the field of digital marketing. The first issue includes various types of user-generated content. The second, is storytelling, and the third is building content around an event. We show the dependencies between the mentioned phenomena, and we relate them to strengthening the effectiveness of employer branding events.
Storytelling is becoming increasingly popular in modern marketing. It very often uses the consumer-generated content. There are various types of user-generated content. In order for them to be effective, they should be incorporated into marketing activities as naturally as possible. And, of course, you must remember about the basic rules of storytelling. You can find numerous guides on storytelling itself on the internet. We want to focus on a particular aspect of this issue, i.e. using user-generated content in the broadly defined storytelling related to events that are subordinated to the idea of employer branding.
How does user-generated content enhance storytelling?
Storytelling, also called narrative marketing by experts in the field, is used to establish and strengthen relations between the consumer and the brand. In order to achieve this, instead of creating ads, the brand conveys engaging stories in a skillful manner. Thanks to this, the recipients will find it easier to remember the message. How do we know if this is the case?
Jerome Bruner, a cognitive psychologist, claims that
What’s more, an appropriately told story evokes strong and permanent emotions among the recipients. This is done exceptionally well by the MouthFoods brand. On their website, we can read stories that back up the products that they are selling. Those stories also appear on the brand’s Instagram page. For example, here is the story of the Grady’s Cold Brew:
Evoking strong emotions is important for several reasons. First of all, they are set to create a bond between the client and the brand. Secondly, they are set to inspire the recipient to make up their own story related to the specific brand. Thirdly, emotions are what makes us remember the message better. This is said by Seth Godin in his TED appearance, ‘How to get your ideas to spread’:
Storytelling can also serve a multidimensional purpose. It satisfies the desire to feel safe and understand the meaning of life, which are inscribed within the human mind. An adequate storytelling also gives harmony to the relation of the organization with its social surroundings. Storytelling understood in this way allows to consciously create a community as well as to satisfy the deeply hidden, psychological needs of consumers.
In all of this, where is there room for user-generated content?
Research clearly indicates that modern consumers (especially the generation often referred to as the ‘Millennials’) are blind to advertisements. Not so long ago, we have written about this in an article Marketing and advertising in the age of “banner blindness”. So, what do people who are fussy and insensitive to information expect?
It is in this field that user-generated content has no match. Content created by users is characterized by realness and a lack of business undertone. The recipients can feel this. Besides, it is much easier to feel the happiness of the next-door Michael than, let’s say, Jay Z and Beyoncé.
There is a reason for numerous studies showing that, before making purchases, users check for opinions of others who have purchased a given product or service. The case is similar when it comes to pictures.
The #AerieReal campaign on Instagram used unaltered pictures of female users, showing the real beauty of women and promoting the body positive trend. For every picture posted under an appropriate hashtag, the company made a donation to an association fighting with eating disorders. Not only did the campaign raise the assumed amount of money, but it also turned into a movement related to body positive trend.
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It is proven, that the impact of user-generated content is strong among the customers. ‘The 2018 User Generated Content Marketing Report‘ shows that more than 70% of consumers agree, that user generated content increases their purchasing confidence. More than 60% agrees, that this type of content encourages them to engage with the brand (see more).
Employer branding plus storytelling
We’ve partially touched upon the issue of the impact of storytelling on employer branding. An appropriately told story allows to permanently inscribe a specific image of a brand in the minds of the recipients. An example of this is the GE spot, “What If Millie Dresselhaus, Female Scientist, Was Treated Like A Celebrity”:
The brand not only shows the mentioned ‘What if…’ situation, but also shows their female engineers as celebrities. GE shows themselves as a brand promoting gender equality and fair play in business. What’s more, the spot induces genuine joy to all viewers.
Employer branding concerns, above all, the reception of the brand by current and potential employees. An appropriately constructed narration builds a common image of the brand as an employer.
Therefore, also in this case, user-generated content is of the utmost importance. Employees who are enthusiastic about sharing their experiences from different undertakings are an underestimated value from the point of view of an organization. Their activity supports employer branding on various levels. On the one hand, the organization itself benefits from this. Employees who see authentic happiness among their colleagues are definitely more motivated. What is more, in a successful team, a sense of unity increases, which has a direct effect on increasing team members’ effectiveness.
Of course, an active storytelling, co-created by employees, also has an impact on employer branding in the external dimension. Recruitment process is the most affected by these actions. Experienced professionals looking for employment pay special attention to such factors as, for example, the culture of the organization and its reputation. Warm, authentic feedback from employees in social media means that it is easier for the company to recruit the most talented employees.
Building content around employer branding events
Building content is incredibly important in the case of an event devoted to employer branding. On the one hand, rich content published on websites in the blogosphere as well as in social media contributes to the better promotion of the event itself. On the other hand, it increases the authenticity of the organization.
For example, when organizing an event that aims at simplifying the process of recruiting specialists, you must give them a specific reason for choosing this event. And we’re not talking about cheap tricks like free coffee. Oh no! An ideal situation would be that when people come not because you are organizing an EVENT; they should be there because YOU are organizing the event.
In order for this to happen, your target group must see a real value in your message. An appropriately chosen story supported with the message of people who work at your company is able to work wonders.
So how do you get user-generated content to enhance the content around the employer branding event?
The first, fairly obvious solution is to encourage one’s employees to publish authentic content related to upcoming events themselves. In such a situation, all types of “call to create” strategies prove to be useful. A confirmation of participation in the event should be complemented with a space in which the employees will be able to share their individual stories and pictures related to a given experience. This is how a unique and authentic story created by employees is made.
It is worth showing backstage activities related to the preparation of the event, a preview of attractions and surprises, etc. The story should also include tweets with a suitable hashtag.
Of course, the described activity does not constitute all content building opportunities. During the event, it is worth arranging short breaks for guests. Such a break is an excellent opportunity to, for example, take a picture for Facebook or InstaStory, which will additionally promote the event.
Unique content can also be created after the event. After everything is over, it is worth to encourage the guests to create reviews of it on social media or other places. Use simple, reliable tools like Eventory polls to make the process as easy and efficient as possible.
An employer branding event is subjected to the same rules as any other event. In order to additionally increase the chance of creating appropriate content, spice up the conference with some original elements. These can include electrical installations or appropriately arranged choreographic flash mob performances. However, you must remember that the gimmick must comply with the profile of the industry in which the organization operates.
How to use different types of user-generated content to enhance storytelling of the Employer Branding event
User-generated content is a multidimensional phenomenon. Therefore, it is worth having a closer look at the most popular types of user-generated content.
The most popular and powerful types include:
- Live streams
- Case Studies
- Success Stories
Experts also name:
- Forum Posts
- Social Media Posts
- Blog Posts
- Q&A Forums
User generated content: Video
Video marketing can be used as a valuable component of storytelling. However, one must remember that videos shouldn’t be strictly subordinated to advertising, but instead, they should show how a given product or service hold ups in various life situations. In order for video recommendations to be effective, they should meet a number of requirements.
First of all, one must avoid dry dialogue at all costs. Preparing a script for a video recommendation doesn’t make sense because of the fact that the success of the video is determined by factors, which are simply impossible to be conveyed in a conventional, verbal manner.
For this reason, the most optimal form of video reporting is simply an interview. The person performing in an audition must appear natural as much as possible. One must take care of an aesthetic, but at the same time, minimalist theme for the report – so that it does not divert attention from the presented content. Questions asked by the host should be concentrated around the positive things introduced to the life of the protagonist by a given product.
Secondly, it is of the utmost importance to skillfully manage time in video recommendations. What does this mean in practice? The feature shouldn’t be longer than 3-4 minutes. The video should have a logical theme. It is worth presenting specific problems that the protagonist of the feature must face. In the case of a video implemented into employer branding, this can be, for example, a struggle to find a good employer, who will be able to ensure an optimal work-life balance. The content itself should be focused around how the given product or service helped to solve a sensitive issue.
User generated content: Live stream
Another video type are live streams created by users before and during an event. Tools such as Eventory event social stream (event wall), or live streaming in social media, allow for real-time sharing of experiences during an event.
A collection of memories gathered after the event can make a fantastic social proof when promoting a future event, but also an element binding the community attracted by the event.
User generated content: Personal stories of lecturers
Another option, which is worth analyzing in the context of storytelling, are the personal stories of lecturers. Above all, they are an incredible opportunity to show the human side of the brand as well as authentic individuals that create it. This measure forces recipients to increase their emotional and intellectual engagement. This fact alone strengthens the relations of the consumer with the brand, and in case of employer branding – a potential employee for the organization.
Here, authenticity is also important. In place of cold argumentation concerning the strategy of personnel management, it is worth creating a colorful story about how the lecturer performing during the event had to deal with toxic professionalism. Such stories not only evoke sympathy and build relations, but they also make the organizer use primordial behavioral mechanisms of the guests. As a result, it is easier for the organizer to convince guests that he or she is right.
User generated content: Reviews
Storytelling ideas are not only limited to short stories. A very helpful tool when it comes to generated content are reviews. Studies conducted by specialists show that recipients are willing to trust user reviews.
Why is that so? Reviews are considered as a type of publication, which is inherently objective. Most recipients think that reviews – no matter if positive – are created by independent individuals.
This can be used in storytelling effectively. This ability also concerns an event in the field of employer branding. The company’s image in such services like glassdoor.com, reputation.com, greatplacetowork.com or indeed.com may affect others’ minds. A comprehensive review, which will then be placed on the company blog as well as in social media can bolster the content around the event. Elements that are able to additionally increase the credibility of a review include the use of pictures as well as comments under posts.
But that’s not all. The opinions of employees about the company are equally as important in view of potential candidates. If the employees are eager to inform about a pleasant atmosphere at the company and want to share the company’s mission, it’s a sign that they feel good at the company.
User generated content: Success stories
Another, exceptionally important alternative, which can diversify event content, are success stories. In the case of employer building, it is mostly related to maintaining positive relations with employees who are the most active in social media.
In such a case, a simple acquisition of information on feedback, which a given employee is able to provide, is definitely not enough. It is work treating their personal story as an impulse for creating an engaging fictional story. Such a story will ultimately have a much stronger effect than a simple compilation of recommendations.
An unquestionable asset of this solution is the fact that it is the recipient (and in the case of employer branding – a satisfied employee) who creates valuable user-generated content. Such content is incredibly valuable from the perspective of an organization.
In this case, a natural question arises: where is it best place to publish a success story? There are varying approaches to this problem. Some companies publish this type of storytelling on a dedicated company blog, whereas other companies publish it on landing pages designed specifically for this purpose.
What is the strength of success stories?
The strength of this type of content lies, above all, in the fact that it provokes powerful emotions among the recipients and provides them with something that they can identify with. In order for such a goal to be met, the created content must be personal, authentic and it must present a high level of empathy.
What does this mean in practice? The personal character of the stories should be reflected, above all, in the fact that it is the embodiment of the author’s personality, and not only a hermetic element of a corporate marketing medium. Unfortunately, authenticity is a more problematic issue, because each target group defines authenticity in their own way.
In the case of the Millennials, it is good practice to incorporate a motif, related to a wider social issue, while simultaneously swinging by issues in the field of CRS, into the history of the brand.
The empathy of narrative marketing should be reflected by stories that are essential from the point of view of the recipient of the issue. If a success story is meant to serve employer branding, it is worth mentioning, for example, about support programs for the families of employees.
Does event content only work during an event?
In order for event content to be an effective storytelling tool, it should also meet one more important criterion. This additional element is comprised of a timeless character of the presented content. Thanks to this, it can generate traffic even for up to several years.
Of course, the natural question of what contents are the most resistant to the passage of time arises. In the case of storytelling used in employer branding, a good solution are columns presenting the general directions of the development of the industry in which the company operates. A good idea is also to present the history of the brand from a couple of decades back, that incorporates employee-generated stories that were created over the years.
The presented article contains many storytelling ideas. In practice, using some of the above at once can result in a substantial boost of the general image of the brand. This will have a positive effect on the buzz surrounding the event that you’ll be organizing as the potential employer.
Storytelling is a valuable alternative, which can provide unexpected additional value to marketing operations. In the article, various types of user generated content were analyzed. A common denominator of those tools is their authentic character as well as the necessity to conduct a closer cooperation with employees, who often work in sectors other than marketing and public relations on a daily basis.
In practice, effective storytelling is time-consuming. It is a complex process, which should include the use of specialist tools, such as, for example, Eventory, which are able to significantly simplify the execution of projects in the field of employer branding.