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The Clientside Podcast

User Generated Content with Lorraine Ball

The Clientside Podcast

45 min Lorraine Ball

In this opening episode of the 3rd season of the Clientside podcast, Andrew chats to Lorraine Ball from Digitaltoolbox.club about user generated content, what it means, how to do it and what to do when it goes wrong.

Lorraine highlights the importance of customer satisfaction and how using reviews, as the most basic level of user generated content offers several opportunities.

We also discuss the challenges that data privacy brings and some of the fun user generated campaigns you may have come across online.

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Andrew:
Hello, hello and welcome back to the Clientside podcast. It feels like it's been a long time since our last episode and how the world has changed. If you've tuned in before then thank you for joining us today, or if you're new here then welcome. It's great to have you with us. My name is Andrew Armitage and I'm your host. I'm also the founder of a digital agency called A Digital who sponsor this podcast. For those who may not know, I've also just published my first book called Holistic Website Planning, which is out now in paperback and on Kindle. And I'll talk more on that later on. Anyway, I hope you're safe and well and looking forward to getting out and about again over the coming weeks and months now we're seeing the lifting of lockdown restrictions. It's great to see so many businesses reopening and people meeting up again, although I'm sure it won't be as simple as everything just returning to normal just yet. In fact, in many ways, we probably don't want to return to the status quo that had become the norm. And we're all now in a position where we can take stock and think about how and where we want to work and perhaps make a little more time for the things that are really important to us all.

Andrew:
So I'm thrilled to be back here hosting the Clientside podcast. This is our third series now, and I'm excited for the season ahead. We've got some great guests who'll be joining me to talk about their experiences in digital, how they've been impacted by the pandemic and their views on what's important as you plan your digital strategy to support your business. So onto today's show, and I'm joined all the way from Indianapolis by Lorraine Ball, who is a digital marketing strategist. And today we're talking about user generated content. After spending many years in corporate America, Lorraine said goodbye to the bureaucracy, glass ceilings and bad coffee and followed her passion to help small business owners succeed. Today as a successful entrepreneur, author, professional speaker and host of a weekly marketing podcast called More Than a Few Words Lorraine brings creative ideas, practical tips and decades of real world experience to help business owners use the Internet to grow. Now, user generated content done well gets other people talking about your brand, and Lorraine has worked on a number of specific campaigns that have been amplified and extended by getting audiences to do the heavy lifting of promoting and sharing content across review platforms and, of course, social media channels. So welcome to the show, Lorraine. It's great to have you with us on the Clientside podcast.

Lorraine:
Thank you. It is so nice to be here.

Andrew:
Great to see you. And you said it's a lovely day over there in the US this morning, a spring morning.

Lorraine:
It is. It's sunny and warm. I cannot attest to the entire U.S., but my little corner of it is lovely.

Andrew:
Looking good. Great stuff. Great. So, Lorraine, just tell our listeners a little bit about yourself and how you've ended up in digital marketing and talking about content.

Lorraine:
I wish that I could say it was all part of some grand plan. It wasn't, I was a corporate marketing geek. I was a traditional marketer. I left corporate to run a marketing agency for small businesses because that's really my passion. But we were a traditional agency 19 years ago. We did direct mail, we did postcards, and all of a sudden along came in internet marketing. And it's, it's crazy that in the 19 years that I've owned the business today, the vast majority of my revenue comes from products and services that did not exist when I started the business. And most recently, I have launched an online training program. It is the Digital Toolbox. It's digitaltoolbox.club. And it's a community for small business owners who have questions about digital marketing.

Andrew:
And I'm sure there are plenty of those questions that keep coming up. So we were talking off air about user generated content, and that's really the focus of today's conversation. Let's just explain to listeners, what do you understand? What is user generated content for you?

Lorraine:
So these days, everywhere you turn, all you read is that content is king, content is king, content is king. And the idea that I as a business owner, have to create all this stuff can be absolutely overwhelming. But the truth is that people are out there creating content all the time. And as a business owner, you just have to find a way to encourage them to create content that talks about you. And that can be reviews. It can be photos of your product. It can be all sorts of things that fall under that big umbrella of user generated content.

Andrew:
Yeah, yeah. And what are the platforms for user generated content? I mean, the obvious ones, of course, are social media. Once upon a time, people would have left comments on blog posts. I think that happens much less these days. Is this all about social media? Is it all about getting people to talk about you on social?

Lorraine:
It is a lot about social because that's the easiest place to collect that information, but for example, I have a heating and air conditioning contractor, and he has, he serves a older community. Most of his customers are homeowners, but they tend to be in the 50 and up range. And he has a wall in his office that is plastered with letters from customers and photographs from customers, and that's user generated content too.

Andrew:
Old school user generated content isn't it?

Lorraine:
Yeah, and that's all great. And I love that. And actually, I go over there and I'll take pictures of the letters and I'll post them on social media because that's that is the easiest way for businesses to capitalise on USG. And I really want to just touch on that for a minute. When you start a business, one of the best ways to grow your business is with OPM, other people's money. Absolutely, because with their infusion of whether it's capital or loans allows you to, like, expand your message further and faster, when it comes to content marketing, OPC other people's content, works the same way. And I don't really refer to that as stealing content from other sites, but encouraging the investment in your business.

Andrew:
Yeah, and it's, I think at the end of the day, it all comes down to telling a story, doesn't it? And we've all got stories to tell. And increasingly we want to share those stories. We don't want to keep them to ourselves. We've got all the channels we need to share those stories. And I think from a from a marketing point of view, there's nothing better than an endorsement in terms of your testimonial or someone qualifying a product in terms of how it solved a particular problem. Of course, you've got to take the rough with the smooth as well, haven't you? You've got to think about some of the negative sides of user generated content. But if you can get other people talking about your brand, then then really, that's the Holy Grail, isn't it?

Lorraine:
Oh, I absolutely think so, you know, I go back to my mother sitting on the porch when one of our neighbours came up and said, "oh my God, I just went to this new hairstylist and look at this". It's horrible or it's amazing. And what online tools have allowed us to do is take that conversation and it is still that conversation and put it online as a marketer, if you're smart, those reviews, which is the most basic level of user generated content, give you several really great opportunities. The first is that is SEO gold, because people are talking about your product using exactly the words they would use if they were looking for you. Because it's their language. And so as you read those reviews, you've got insight into things that you should be adding to your website. And you said it, the good with the bad. A negative review is an amazing opportunity to present your best foot. Yeah, there was some research done, and this goes back to my corporate days. I'm not going to tell you what year the study was because it makes me sound really old. But the the study looked at customer satisfaction. And what they found is that if you always gave great service, you had a customer satisfaction rating of a seven with most of your customers. Yeah. If you messed up and something went wrong, but you recovered, you rectified the situation, your rating would go up to an eight or nine. Now, I'm not suggesting that you deliberately screw things up so you can fix them. But what the lesson of that study was, is that if there's a mistake and you address it and address it well, you actually come out better than before.

Andrew:
Exactly. I think I think in most cases, yeah, we all get our frustrations and we all sort of lose our rag sometimes with things that might be particularly annoying or just a big mismatch on expectations. But I think most people are reasonable. They expect, things don't always work out in the way they should. But it is absolutely that opportunity to say, well, look, you know, we acknowledge that didn't work, hands up. We've made a mistake, but this is what we're doing to fix it. And we want everybody to know that we've done this to fix it. And as you say, that really gives that opportunity to put your best foot forward and and show that you can empathise with how people are feeling.

Lorraine:
Absolutely. And people are funny, when we go and read reviews of other businesses, we read all the nice reviews. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. And we drop down and we look at the negative ones. And what we're looking for is when this company screws up, how bad is it? And if it happened to me, will they take care of me. And you know, you said, OK, going and saying here's how I fixed it. I often say, look, just invite the person to a conversation and then when you've rectified it, invite them to update their review. Because a lot of times in, this is the reality of the Internet, there are people who are just trolls.

Andrew:
Of course.

Lorraine:
They're just there to stir the pot. And nothing you say or do is going to change that. So it's OK to say, you know what? We're sorry that we did not meet your expectations, not we're sorry that we screwed up. We're sorry we didn't meet your expectations. Let's have a chat and let's talk about it.

Andrew:
Yeah, and those are best taken offline as well, I think very often, isn't it? You know, you don't really want that to play out on social media, get that argument or that discussion offline, put the situation right, and then you've got the opportunity, as you say, which is probably quite significantly overlooked by a lot of businesses. If you ask them to go back and update the review and you allow that the good that came out of that conversation to be shown for everyone to see.

Lorraine:
Absolutely. And again, I don't want to make user generated content all about reviews because there's a lot more to it. But I think that if you embrace this part of your business, if you cultivate those reviews and it's easy. In the US, Google My Business is really strong. Is it a big factor in where you guys are as well?

Andrew:
It is, yeah. But I you know, I tell you, there's still a lot of unclaimed businesses and I think there's a lot of people who haven't quite appreciated that it's not necessarily just a mark on a map. You know, the opportunity to put offers and obviously collect reviews and sort of feature content in there, I think is is probably one of the easiest, most accessible channels to get to and manage, but the most overlooked in many cases.

Lorraine:
Yeah, and it is as you said it, you know, you can share content and reviews, the request a review, but they have made it over the years much easier to find. And you can copy that link and just it should be at the bottom of every invoice that you send. I know I'm jumping ahead a little in our conversation about collecting reviews, but if you're in a service industry, every time, every interaction you have with people, send them that link. It is amazing how powerful that can be because suddenly your business becomes something that Google goes, oh, people like these guys. And you said it, the unclaimed business. If five of your competitors have an unclaimed page and you have a page with 25 reviews, guess who's going to be featured first?

Andrew:
Exactly. You get the lion's share of the views, don't you? And you're going to get the the eyes on the page and traffic through your website and other channels and so on, which is ultimately what digital marketing is all about, isn't it? And I think there's also there's also an element of transparency as well. If you are, if you're saying, look, we want people to review us, we're open to that feedback, I think that's that's another aspect to generate the content and getting that input from from your customers.

Lorraine:
Absolutely, and I think that kind of leads me to sort of the next really big use for user generated content, which is gathering information and acknowledging that you don't have all the answers and asking your community what they think and. One of my favourite examples, Jimmy Fallon does late night television here, and he will occasionally get on Twitter and just say, tell me a story about this. What was your worst birthday? What was your this? What was your that? And then you know what? He'll read them on the show that night. And the beautiful thing is that people will do several things, No one, they'll tune in to see if their answer is included.

Andrew:
Yeah, right.

Lorraine:
So when you collect user generated content, you get information.

Andrew:
You're collecting an audience at the same time on your curating an audience.

Lorraine:
You get engagement and people will share and interact. And if you respond, it gets this whole conversation going on social media, that then translates into a totally different platform.

Andrew:
Yeah, you've basically started with a one to one conversation that has become a one to many conversation, haven't you?

Lorraine:
Yes, absolutely. And it gives his writers a little bit of time off.

Andrew:
Yes. I'm sure they'll thank him. But it's diversity as well, isn't it? Because if the content always comes from the same voice, there's a risk that it's going to follow a certain style. It might be restricted to a certain tone. So I love seeing content blow up, especially on Twitter, which I don't use as much as I did. But we have a company here in the UK called Marks and Spencers, which you might have heard of them. We've got a discount supermarket called Aldi and they basically create copycat brands. So you have a drink called Archers's, Aldi's own brand is called Oscar's, and Aldi really play it close to the bone as they create their own branded products. Now, Marks and Spencers have created a brand called Collin The Caterpillar, which became a well-known chocolate cake, and Aldi copied them with their own cake called Cuthbert the Caterpillar. Other supermarkets have done the same thing as well, but M&S basically took aim at Aldi, saying they infringed their brand. But the campaign massively backfired on M&S and Aldi's social media team have done a fantastic job with their own content, but they've completely turned the tables on this very public trademark battle. But it was the content on the hashtag that generated interest, engagement and fun that really added something special that couldn't ever have been imagined when the complaint was first registered.

Lorraine:
And especially something like that, where you are a consumer product and you are trying to build loyalty and you're trying to build engagement and a connection, they have driven their customers into the arms of Aldi. And, you know, it's funny because we do have Aldi stores here as well, we have some and they are not a brand that's going to have a big budget for marketing and advertising.

Andrew:
Absolutely, yeah.

Lorraine:
And so when they could have a little bit of fun that their community would amplify. All of a sudden, their message gets absolutely blown out. I mean, they could do something as silly as, OK, Marks and Spencers doesn't like us using this name. What should we call our chocolate cake and get submissions and that would then fuel a whole other round. Just as it starts to lose steam, you throw a little more on the fire.

Andrew:
Yeah. Yeah, but yeah. The hashtag Free Cuthbert, Save Cuthbert. All of those have just blown up over the last week. And, you know, you just get that fun aspect of people poking a bit of fun at different companies, different brands, and all of a sudden it goes off in different directions. And I think that's the beauty of user generated content. And, you know, something like that has blown up. It's essentially just gone viral. And I guess that, again, is one of the things that so many companies are looking for, but nudging something in such a way that turns it into a viral campaign or a viral piece of content perhaps has to be managed quite carefully.

Lorraine:
Absolutely, and I think one of the brands and we were talking about them off line. Dove, they are a big, they're a big company and they could be perceived as a little stodgy because they've been around forever. But I think they have really tapped into a very specific identity, this idea that every woman is beautiful and I know they have a new campaign now, but one of my favourites ran on, it was really a Facebook campaign and it leveraged some of the capabilities of Facebook, basically there was a graphic and they encouraged you to share the graphic and fill in the blank. And my daughter and then insert, or my friend, insert her name, so you were tagging her on the post, is beautiful because and it was lovely and it was just a nice way to say my daughter Michelle is beautiful because when she smiles the room lights up. It went on my timeline, but because I tagged her, it went on hers, with guess what? The dove graphic. And so now she had it and she was invited to do the same. And so women were sharing this because they were sharing this message of this is my friend, my mother, my sister, my daughter, and she's beautiful and here's why. And really talking about kind of that inner beauty. And it was dead on for their message. They were the engine that perpetuated this really nice online experience and, you know, that kind of messaging and that kind of program really requires a little bit of thought, not just on the mechanics of making it work, but creating something that people will feel good about sharing.

Andrew:
And I think the thing with a campaign like that is, it's incredibly simple when it's all distilled down to the practicalities and the mechanics of it. I'm not saying it would have just been thought up in a moment. Probably not. There have been a lot of planning and and what have you, that got into the campaign. But it's so simple for people to engage with. There's no effort required on their part, yet we all like the idea of putting a smile on someone's face, you know, particularly at the moment when it's been really challenging. So that idea of being able to put a smile on someone's face that, you know, they only have to make a few taps on the phone to be able to to spread that message further makes it so easy for people to engage with. And I guess that's the key with so many user generated content campaigns, you'll have your Aldi's and your M&S's that that make it easy for people to jump into. But actually, if you're trying to, and that was almost by accident. That was that was a happy accident on the side of a legal challenge. Whereas if you are wanting a user generated campaign to get some traction, simplicity is going to be absolutely key, isn't it?

Lorraine:
You want simplicity and you also want clarity about what you want, so that you get the appropriate information. And I don't even mean I think I think it was Nestles. I don't know, whoever makes the Skittles candy ran a promotion where you could actually type in what you thought of Skittles candy right on their website and it went live.

Andrew:
Ok.

Lorraine:
Oh, no. Oh, oh.

Andrew:
I can see a few risks with that.

Lorraine:
Yeah. Yeah. Especially let's, let's go with and I don't want to stereotype but but let's go with adolescent boys, because it was, it was to say bathroom humour...

Andrew:
It's a gift isn't it? Let's be honest.

Lorraine:
You know, I would say, they had to take it down like, right away because they didn't think through who might play or how they might play or why they might need to maybe read some of the comments before they went online. So there is that. So, you know, as you're thinking about it, you need to think about who is your audience for this? What are they going to react to? And also, what are you going to do with the content? We had, we did one with an an eye doctor, you know, I mean, I love the big brands. They have big budgets. We ran a contest. The basically, we got a really cool prize. We have a local ice hockey team and everybody loves the Zamboni machine. If you won your kid got to ride on the Zamboni machine, as a parent who is not going to do that. Right. You had to share a photograph of your kid wearing glasses and you had to agree to let us use the photographs. We got something like. Hmmm, maybe 50 or 60 photos, and he was disappointed. No, I went we're not done, because in order to win, you had to get votes.

Andrew:
Right.

Lorraine:
And the only way you could vote was to give us your email and your zip code. Why? Because we knew we'd get a lot of votes from the local area, but we also knew we were going to get Grandma in New Jersey and Uncle Joe down in Florida who were never going to buy from this optometrist. So we collected thousands of thousands of votes, and then we could separate them into two categories, potential customer, not a customer.

Andrew:
Right.

Lorraine:
So we grew his email list, we blew up his Facebook page, and we got great photos we could use in his advertising for years.

Andrew:
Yeah. Yeah. So it's interesting, you touched on a couple of points there. And the first of the first point there that comes to mind is the fact that there's a business objective that sits at the heart of the planning and the logic, the rationale for that campaign and the fact that you're not just going out to create content for the sake of it, but you've got a targeted goal and you're saying, well, this is what we want to get back from this campaign. Yes, we've got all these pictures that we can use them in our advertising. And that comes on to my second point in a minute. But the first point is you're collecting information that allows you then to follow up and create a relationship or nurture a relationship with with other people who are potentially customers.

Lorraine:
Absolutely. I mean, and. Social media is not an end in itself, and I think a lot of businesses and a lot of marketing agencies focus on this was a great campaign, isn't this wonderful? And if I've got time, I learned right before I left corporate, we ran our first what I would call digital campaign. Now, today, I look at it and I laugh. But this was 20 years ago and it was a big deal. We created an online game and our customers could answer questions. It was a trivia question once a week, win a prize and move up to the next round. And we promoted it like crazy. We had a brand new website. We were trying to get people to look around because the answers were all on the website, right. We even put computer terminals at the field house, which is where our basketball team played. And and in Indiana, we are a basket, the way you guys are crazy about soccer. Indiana is a basketball city. I mean, they I swear they put their kids on a rack and they stretch them just so they'll be big enough to play basketball. Yeah, OK. We had 20 computer terminals. When you walked into the arena, you could play. The promotion was incredible. We collected names and addresses and all sorts of information. There was only one problem. We were selling a particular type of health and life insurance, and our target customer was primarily women over the age of 50. The target audience for online gaming at that time was young men aged 14 to twenty five. Kind of a disconnect.

Andrew:
Complete mismatch. Yeah, yeah.

Lorraine:
Yeah. And and so that lesson stayed with me like forever, is that if you're going to run a campaign and if you're going to run a promotion, that's awesome. But there has to be. Why am I doing this? And if I'm investing in time, money, effort, whatever, as a business, it's not only sales at the end goal, but there needs to be an end goal.

Andrew:
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And that's it. And then just just circling back, the second point, which, which came to mind, as you're talking about that campaign, is the privacy issue. And the privacy's I think is it today or this week that IOS comes out. And obviously there's there's there's a much greater emphasis on privacy at the moment, and that's only going to continue to grow. You know, there was something I read about Google with an initiative called FLOC, which was something to try and circumvent some of the likely privacy restrictions that are almost inevitably going to be introduced coming up. So what are the privacy concerns when you're asking people to create content or share content when it's associated with your brand and how that data is then going to be collected, stored and used?

Lorraine:
I think the, I think the challenge that businesses are going to be running into is the submission forms are going to get a little more complicated. I think if you ask people to share photos on Facebook, I don't think, and you tell them, hey, if you share this photo, we might re-share it. And I think they can check a box. I think you're going to be okay there. But I think other contest submission forms, if you think the applications for contest submission forms are onerous now, just wait. Just wait. But what's interesting about the whole privacy conversation is particularly as you look at Gen Z, your digital natives, the kids that came out of the womb with a cell phone in their hand. They understand the Internet probably better than any of us, they have grown up with their entire lives because mom's been photographing them since they were born and putting those photos online. And they have sort of mixed feelings with privacy, and the research shows that on the one hand, they don't put their whole lives out there, but on the other hand, they will trade their privacy for value. So I will give you this information if it will improve my shopping experience with you. I will give you this information, if it will improve how quickly this issue gets resolved or how easy it is for me to do whatever it is I want to do online. And so I think the challenge for marketers going forward is going to be, if I want your information, I have to give you something of value.

Andrew:
Yeah, yeah. It's got to be a two way, two way exchange, hasn't it, basically? Yeah. I think, you know, with the likes of Google and Facebook for so long, we've known that they're collecting data and that's fundamentally what their businesses have been built on. But it would be interesting to see whether there's a growth in resistance to using those those products and services or do we need more free stuff to get back from them before we go to enable those services like Gmail and some of the advertising services to grow further?

Lorraine:
Well, you know, and the other and this is a whole different conversation, but one of the challenges for small businesses is, as the privacy restrictions go up and the amount of consumer data that I can access to create targeted messages goes down. What was wonderful about internet marketing, the ability to precision target people who fit a really nice niche. Now I'm going to have to go to a wider audience. So instead of running a campaign that reached a thousand people that looked just like this, I'm going to have to pay to run a campaign that will reach ten thousand people so that I still find that thousand I need. So I think small businesses need to be prepared that their advertising is going to be less precise. They're going to get lower results from the same campaigns that always work well and they need to be prepared to spend more. And I think when you are faced with that reality, the need for good content, user generated content that creates engagement actually increases.

Andrew:
Yeah, because I was going to say, even though you may go from an initial audience of a thousand to ten thousand, the onus then is moved onto the business to actually create better content, more engaging content, content that is more exciting, more interesting, more fun to consume. And therefore, if you think that you might have started out with a bigger pot, even if it does shrink down to ultimately a smaller audience, in theory, it should be a much more engaged audience if the right level of content and the right level of nurturing effectively has been deployed through the the timeline of that relationship.

Lorraine:
Absolutely. It is going to push us to be better. And that is a challenge for smaller organisations that are trying to get their trucks out the door to take care of plumbing issues on a Wednesday morning, but that is, that is the reality. And I think the other thing we're going to see is. You're going to see a decline in free apps because a lot of people do in app advertising because they can target who sees it, if they lose that ability, they don't advertise in that app and suddenly you have to pay for your weather app.

Andrew:
Yeah, yeah. All of these free things inevitably have a cost. And if it's not going to be allowed to, if the data collection is not going to allow for that that revenue generation, then clearly there's a gap that's going to be filled from somewhere.

Lorraine:
You know, the there's an expression. When the product is free, you are the product

Andrew:
100 percent completely agree with you. Yeah, that's it.

Lorraine:
And that's really not any different than when you used to get magazine subscriptions. Five dollars or 20 dollars a year does not cover the production cost of that magazine that I'm getting, but the fact that I am a subscriber convinces an advertiser who says, oh, you have that many subscribers. I will advertise and so and Facebook has done it for years, we got a million eyeballs, we have a billion eyeballs. Advertisers like, well, I want to get in front of those people and we are the product and with these privacy changes, that product is not going to be as valuable to advertisers.

Andrew:
Yeah, yeah. Well, look, we're coming up on time, but what are the things that businesses really need to think carefully about before kicking off a user generated campaign? I mean, it struck me as you were talking about one of your earlier examples, should there be a nuclear button just in case things go wrong? I think it was. I think here in the U.K., we had Walkers Crisps who did something very similar to what you were suggesting with Skittles. And clearly that can have a negative impact on the brand. It can be a PR disaster. It becomes a memorable event for all the wrong reasons. Does there need to be a backup plan in case these things go wrong or do just need to think about the whole approach in a better way?

Lorraine:
Well, I would hope that you, both I mean, I would hope that you would think about it in a holistic view on the front end, why are we doing this, what do we want as an outcome? I would ask the question on any kind of user generated content, is there a potential for this to go wrong?

Andrew:
That seems an obvious one, doesn't it? But so often overlooked.

Lorraine:
Ok, so I, just kind of a fun sort of side story on that. There were a group of us that were invited to the Indy 500 to to do social media, take photos. They gave us a tour of the track, all this stuff. And there was a sign that says, that said, take your photo here. It was specifically designed for a selfies. Right. The sign had fallen and it's on the ground. And a friend of mine and I looked at it and went down with that and we moved it. So it was like on the road. And we're laying down like we've been run over by the car. And a friend of ours took the photo. That was not the picture that they were looking for yet. But, you know, it was, it was lighthearted and it was fun. And so it was OK. But, yeah, I think people are going to push the limits. And I think where Skittles went wrong and I think, you know, even like this thing with Marks and Spencer. If you can go very quickly, if it goes south, pull the plug and go, we blew it, guys. We had no idea how good your sense of humour was. Right. But it was a little bit beyond what we wanted, if they can, you know, I'm trying to find an expression that's not going to be offensive to somebody, but if they can just suck it up and go, OK, we screwed up. The internet is very forgiving. Yeah, when you when you try to fake it and pretend, oh, no, no, that was what we want. No, it was it.

Andrew:
Yeah, yeah. The, it's got to be transparent, hasn't it, because people will see through it if you try and wriggle out of it. And I guess it's a bit like if you get caught in a riptide, you've got to swim with it to a certain degree, but you swim out a diagonal angle rather than letting it carry you away. So you at least are in a position that you can try and exert some influence on the direction. But you don't look as stiff, and as sort of, trying to, trying to hide behind the truth of just saying, you know, we messed up. You know, I think that's the important point, isn't it, that you can actually say, OK, look, we made a mistake. We didn't think it through. But we acknowledge that, and we go with it to a certain extent, but try and influence that conversation so it can come to a perhaps a slightly happier ending than it might ordinarily have done.

Lorraine:
Absolutely. Absolutely. You know, I think the, I think when companies can get to a place where they take what they do seriously, but not themselves, right, that, you know, we are, we every company is run by human beings and the more human a company can be. The less they try to start sound like a robot or some sort of perfect Superman, yeah, the more endearing they are.

Andrew:
Yeah, vulnerabilities and all. It's again, if we think back to storytelling, you're in the movies and books were often drawn to the person who has those vulnerabilities, displays those vulnerabilities and and actually fights through them, not against them, but worked with them to achieve that happy outcome, isn't it?

Lorraine:
Absolutely. It's you know, it is the imperfections that are endearing. Yeah. Yes, I gave a presentation early in my career and the the projector blew up, I mean, and there I am in front of this great big audience with no slides. And, you know, I had people cheering for me. They're like, man, she's just going, you know, and they were paying more attention. I don't know whether they were waiting to see if I missed a cue because I didn't have the slide in front of me or if they were really supportive. But at the end of it, that was the presentation people remembered. And throughout my career at that company, people would be like, wow, that happened. And you just muscled through, yeah, let's not do that again.

Andrew:
Yeah, yeah. But it could happen to all of us, couldn't it. We're all, we're all human at the end of the day. And I think on that note, that's a great point to to round up on. And you accept the humanised that we need to be more human, not be faceless corporates. And even as a small business, we can still have a face. We still have people that run their businesses and it's people buy from people at the end of the day. So I think that's a really important message. And you go with the flow, enjoy it, have fun, but just be cautious and be mindful of of what some of those trip hazards might be.

Lorraine:
Absolutely.

Andrew:
Ok, Lorraine. Well, I've really enjoyed that conversation. Just share with our listeners a little bit where people might be able to find out more about you and a bit more about your digital tool box, if you like.

Lorraine:
So it is Digitaltoolbox.club and we have a resource library of worksheets and videos. There's always a new training class that you can sign up for. So check it out. There's also a Facebook group and it all starts with Digitaltoolbox.club. And then I have a marketing podcast, little different format, much shorter than this at morethanafewwords.com, it is, they're ten minute episodes and it's designed to just be a quick hit, one idea type of thing. And those are probably the two best places to see what I'm up to. You can find me on Facebook or Twitter @Lorraineball, LinkedIn, wherever, wherever you're hanging out online,

Andrew:
All the usual places. That's great. Well, we will, we'll put those links in the show notes as well. Lorraine, so really great talking today. Thank you for getting up early and joining us from Indianapolis. And I hope you enjoy the rest of your day.

Lorraine:
You too. Bye now.

Andrew:
So thank you to Lorraine for the early start over in Indianapolis, user generated content is massively valuable, but it can also be unpredictable. It can make a huge positive impact when it goes in your favour. If you're planning a user generated campaign, then please, please do give that some critical thought to what could go wrong and be careful for what you wish for. We talked about M&S's trademark claim against Aldi's Cuthbert the Caterpillar cake, which obviously never started out as a social media campaign, but it quickly turned into one with the hashtag FreeCuthbert trending on Twitter and generates a huge engagement with hundreds of thousands of views and coverage in mainstream media. And Aldi very cleverly turning it in their favour. And that became the memorable headline story, the court of public opinion. And I remember Walker's crips here in the UK a few years ago, they also gave the opportunity for customers to win tickets to the Champions League final simply by uploading a selfie, which was then automatically displayed on their social channels. I mean, what could possibly go wrong there? Needless to say, it quickly had to be shut down. But despite the campaign fail, you could argue it generated awareness. And in many ways, consumers quite like seeing brands make mistakes like this. So it's not always a given that the huge lasting damage gets inflicted. So before we wrap up saving the best till last, I mentioned my new book, which is out now on Amazon and Kindle Holistic Website Planning has been written over the last two years. Yes, it took slightly longer than expected, but it covers the eight steps that I believe need to be considered if you're to build a successful website.

Andrew:
I talk about the method I created called Go The Distance, which takes each letter of the word distance and breaks it down into data, internal process, strategy, technology, audience and actions, normalising digital culture, content and execution. And of course, you want a new site to have longevity and be more sustainable, so distance is a reminder that you're building a long term digital asset that can benefit the business in lots of areas, not simply as a website in isolation. So do check out that link on Amazon and I'll drop the link into the show notes that you'll find at adigital.agency/podcast along with the transcript from today's show and of course, all of our previous episodes. And also, if you get the chance and do, please leave us a review on Apple podcasts. We'd love to hear your feedback. So that's me done for this episode. Thank you for joining me. It's great to be back with podcasts and hopefully you'll subscribe to the show and I'll see you in a couple of weeks time.

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So these days, everywhere you turn, all you read is that content is king, content is king, content is king. And the idea that I as a business owner, have to create all this stuff can be absolutely overwhelming. But the truth is that people are out there creating content all the time. And as a business owner, you just have to find a way to encourage them to create content that talks about you. And that can be reviews.

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