Have you shared a photo of yourself with your name on a Coca-Cola bottle? Maybe you frequently post your outfit of the day and tag your favorite brands. Or you snap a selfie with your friends at a local restaurant. In each scenario, you created user-generated content (UGC) for a brand. Instead of a brand promoting their own products and services, you did it for them.
User-generated content is more than a buzzword in marketing. With the ever-growing popularity of social media, user-generated content is more important than ever before. Smart brands can capitalize on this type of content to build trust, improve sales, and grow customer loyalty. Keep reading to learn more about user-generated content and how you can harness the power of your fans.
What is UGC content?
UGC content is any content created by individuals or fans instead of a brand. This type of content can be in the form of photos, videos, reviews, social media posts, blog posts, and so much more. With UGC, your fans, customers, and audience members promote your brand for you.
UGC is based on the same principals as word of mouth marketing. Consumers are 90% more likely to trust a recommendation from a friend and make a purchase. All user-generated content is created for free. Consumers may share content at the prompting of a brand, but they are not paid. If you pay fans to create content, you are responsible for that content and it is different than typical UGC.
Why is UGC important?
Consumers are more active in their buying decisions than ever before, including which brands they choose to do business with. User-generated content is trusted. When compared to content directly from a brand, UGC is 2.4 times more likely to be viewed as authentic.
UGC takes the power of word-of-mouth marketing and elevates it with digital technology. Consumers have grown averse to sales tactics and forced content. Today, content that tells a story and brings about human interaction is preferred and gets better results.
By utilizing user-generated content, brands can build relationships with their customers that feel authentic because they are. Audiences will flock to brands where they feel represented. In a world filled with constant digital noise, consumers want nothing more than to be heard.
People are also looking for a community that they can bond with. Social media connects us with people from every walk of life, but it can also help us create niche groups that share the same interests. When a brand uses user-generated content in their marketing efforts, they create a sense of community around their brand and form an identity.
User-generated content by the numbers
Did you know that 86% of businesses incorporate user-generated content into their marketing strategy? Most consumers don’t believe brands create authentic content, and they place more value on those who do. In fact, 63% of consumers would rather buy from a brand they feel is authentic over its competitors.
The ROI for user-generated content is high, making it valuable to marketers. Users are not paid for their content, so brands do not have to invest into the creation. They just have to capitalize on the opportunity. A mix of user-generated content and brand content creates a 28% rise in engagement over brand content alone. Once you recognize the importance of UGC, it is time to put it into action.
Three key ways to use UGC
1. Build a Community
You want consumers to feel that they are a part of your brand because this will create loyal customers. It is important for businesses to both attract new customers and retain their current customers to maximize customer lifetime value. To foster a sense of brand loyalty, give your customers a voice.
When you share content from one of your users or fans, you are giving them a platform. Their opinion is validated, their efforts are rewarded with attention, and they feel special. This can be as simple as sharing a customer’s Instagram photo on your own feed and tagging them for photo credit.
The users who create content around your brand are the ones who will be most loyal to you and your products and services. You can capitalize on the stories they tell and the real-life insights they provide about your brand. Anyone who feels a kinship with that user will automatically be part of your brand community in some way, however big or small.
2. Build Trust
Reviews are one of the greatest sources of user-generated content. 70% of viewers on YouTube feel that they relate to their favorite YouTubers more than traditional celebrities like those on TV or in movies. When a popular YouTuber creates a monthly favorites video and includes a review of your product, they are vouching for your brand to their subscribers.
UGC is very powerful in video form. Videos about a brand created by fans or users are viewed an average of 10 times more than videos from the brand itself. You can use user-generated content in the form of reviews by sharing YouTube videos or social media clips to your own channels. Comment on videos to interact with the fan or link to their review and give them a shout out to further engage with their subscribers.
3. Build Your Content
There is no way for you to take authentic photos of your products or brand in countless settings. Professional photoshoots, graphic designers, and videographers are expensive. While these tools have their place in marketing, user-generated content can help you collect relevant content to share that is always new.
If you’re tired of posting the same stock photos to your Instagram feed or linking to your official company videos on Twitter, it’s time to explore UGC. Your fans and consumers are posting photos of your products intertwined with their everyday life. This type of content shows the potential of your products in a way that resonates with your audience. They can see your product in their own life thanks to the content of someone like them.
Make the most of user-generated content!
Your customers and fans are content-generating engines just waiting to be unleashed. Show appreciation for your customer’s content that they took the time and effort to create by requesting permission to use their photos, videos, tweets, and more on your own platforms.
By building a community through UGC, you can gain trust with potential customers and grow customer loyalty. When your customers feel their voice is heard and understood, they will be your biggest fan and most effective source of marketing material.