In a society where people are increasingly skeptical of traditional adverts, user-generated content is proven to help establish and grow your brand and increase conversions.
User-generated content (UGC) has become one of the hottest topics in the digital marketing world today, especially due to its popularity and reach on social media.
This marketing technique uses the popular word of mouth strategy and spreads it across the entire social media. It's the equivalent of a personal referral that educates and influences consumers far and wide than in a brick-and-mortar or an online store.
This post will look at why user-generated content is so important and how this powerful marketing tool can be leveraged to increase your brand's visibility, engender trust, and increase sales. Let's get started!
- What Is User-Generated Content?
- Stats About User-Generated Content
- Essential Benefits Of User-Generated Content
- 5 Ways To Ask And Share User-Generated Content On Social Media
- 8 Steps To Successful User-Generated Content Social Media Marketing
You can directly jump to a section of your choice or keep scrolling.
What Is User-Generated Content?
People don’t trust advertisements today as much as they used to before. Not to mention, 27% of American internet users are taking action to block ads completely.
While content creation and advertising still represent the cornerstones of a successful marketing strategy, smart brands have found a way to use their customer's created content on social media to support their marketing foundation.
User-generated content is any kind of content that is generated by your consumer and is surrounding your brand.
Recently, leveraging content created by customers has become a new avenue for brands to achieve the same goal as with ads without a heavy investment. It also comes free of charge in the form of testimonials, reviews, photos, videos, tweets, Facebook posts, etc.
Furthermore, user-generated content does so in a way that is both relatable and authentic, which is why it has become so effective.
Essentially it is social proof that brands can curate from the existing content on the web and social media platforms or that they can solicit from those who have purchased their products or used their services.
Stats About User-Generated Content
- 86% of millennials say that UGC is a good indicator of the quality of a brand.
- 93% of consumers find user-generated content to be helpful when making a purchasing decision.
- 70% of consumers trust online reviews and recommendations more than professional content and copy.
- 86% of businesses are utilizing user-generated content as part of their marketing strategy.
- 48% of marketing professionals believe that customer-created content can help humanize their brand.
- 75% of shoppers want to share their positive experiences with brands via user-generated content.
- Conversions have the potential to improve by up to 64% by displaying UGC prominently on the product page.
Essential Benefits Of User-Generated Content
There are several benefits of creating UGC beyond the obvious bottom line of sales numbers. Let's take a look:
#1: Provides Authenticity To Your Brand
In the eyes of your audience, user-generated content is information from an unbiased and unsolicited source. It comes from customers just like them, who have tried and tested products from a brand and found it worthy. In a pool of several competitors offering similar products and services like yours, UGC solves the problem of authenticity many brands face today.
Still great!!! Make sure to get the Signature Burger at Albion Malleable Brewing Co. in downtown Albion, Michigan. Michigan’s Best! Oh, and great hand-cut fries, too. #mibest #BestBurger #bestfries pic.twitter.com/JMhw5nunvi— John Gonzalez (@MichiganGonzo) October 14, 2020
#2: Builds Trust With Consumers
While brands that have been in business for decades have naturally developed consumer trust over time, newer brands need to develop and ramp up on that initial trust using UGC—establishing credibility through the words of your consumers singing your praises and having value beyond anything claimed by the brand itself.
The truth lies in the authenticity of the images, the excitement, and the smiles that user-generated content brings to the world. And you can't manufacture that on your own.
#3: Reassures Purchase Decisions
If a customer is on the fence about the decision to purchase a product, they are going to do some research to ensure it's the right decision. From checking online product reviews to an influencer's passionate ramblings about the newest gadget, user-generated content affects purchasing decisions, more so than any product description or ad ever could.
#4: Encourages More Engagement
User-generated content entices action from those consuming it. Whether looking at your social profile page or checking out your website, UGC stimulates its readers to find out more about you and your brand.
#5: Saves Time
Another big pro of user-generated content is that passionate consumers create content for you. You can use this customer-created content to showcase your potential customers while promoting your brand's product and service. This not only saves your time but also encourages repeat UGC creation from your loyal customers.
#6: Increases Your Follower Count
A review or mention of a brand or its product and service from one person encourages others to like it, thereby increasing the number of people that are exposed to your social media accounts. Many of them will choose to follow you, following the authenticity and trust that your customers have instilled using user-generated content. That's the way social media works.
Know more about How To Get More Followers On Instagram In 2021: 15 Tips
5 Ways To Ask And Share User-Generated Content On Social Media
If you want something, you have got to ask for it. The same goes for UGC as well. Don't be shy to ask your social media followers and subscribers to share their UGC with you. Here are the four creative ways you can ask and share user-generated content with your community.
#1: Give Follower Shoutouts
Most of your followers think that as a brand, you don't see any of their posts. To create user-generated content, surprise them with a like, comment, message, or even share their photo on your profile by giving them a shoutout.
Nothing says, "I value you," like calling attention to your genuine followers' content on social media. This will provide trust in those whose posts you share on your social page. Plus, it will encourage the post viewers and your followers who view the shoutout to create similar content in the hope that you will also be sharing their content and giving shoutouts to them.
#2: Ask Your Followers For Advice
Do you need inputs on a product name, packaging idea, or product launch? Don't do all the hard work by yourself. Instead, outsource it to your social media audience through user-generated content. Your current audience base has all kinds of great ideas, and you will be amazed by the responses you will receive.
Image Source: Shuttlerock
In fact, if ever you are confused between two or more ideas, you can always conduct a poll on Instagram stories and get to know the opinion of most of your audience.
#3: Host A Giveaway
Everyone likes a reward, and so do your customers, especially when it comes from their favorite brands. In fact, 32% of people create and share UGC because they want to win a prize.
Consider running a photo contest to boost user-generated content for your brand. Prepare a list of rules to be followed in the giveaway and ask all your audience who wish to participate to follow those rules.
Rules can include common points such as its necessary to tag your brand or follow your brand's hashtag while posting user-generated content on social media. With a branded hashtag or your direct mentions, you will easily be able to search and find content that you would like to share on your social page.
Stastubrew's Hashtag Performance Report monitors the total post count, clicks, comments & engagement for a specific hashtag on a particular post in a profile. You can even set up alerts from your brand mentions so that you get notified as soon as someone tags you in their social post.
#4: Create Post Around Product Reviews
This one might seem as a simple strategy for creating user-generated content. But if you are not regularly sharing genuine user reviews and feedback on your products, you are missing out on sharing valuable content with your audience.
Studies have found that 41% of consumers are tempted to purchase products with as few as 1 to 4 reviews. Hence, if you can successfully target your audience with a product review as part of a social media post, it may help viewers make a purchasing decision faster!
#5: Work With Influencers
Influencer marketing is one of the top marketing strategies of this decade. And when you combine it with the forces of user-generated content, you have a strong recipe for success!
Finding influencers and brand ambassadors to work with and create content around your brand on social media is a great way to have a continual stream of high-quality UGC.
When you can find an influencer to be a regular ambassador for your brand, you are guaranteed to have user-generated content that both fits your aesthetic and serves your audience of like-minded followers.
Know more about Instagram Influencer Marketing: All You Need To Know
See how fitness brand MyProtein works with athletes all over the world to promote messages of good health.
8 Steps To Successful User-Generated Content Social Media Marketing
If you are thinking about creating your brand's own UGC strategy, here are the steps outlined to get you started on your journey.
1. Set Goals For The User-Generated Content You Will Collect
The first and one of the most important steps of any marketing campaign is goal setting. Decide what you wish to accomplish from your UGC marketing campaign.
Identifying your goals early on helps you determine the steps necessary to achieve them. Understand how you plan to use the user-generated content you will collect before you start searching for them. This will help you spot where you should look and how to solicit more UGC from your customers.
The goals you set for your brand's UGC marketing will play a key role in collecting content from your customers. Some common goals you can set for your user-generated content marketing campaign are:
- Increase brand awareness and engagement
- Build trust in your brand
- Increase your conversion rates
- Educating more people about your product and services
2. Select Channels For Collecting User-Generated Content
Identify the social platforms where you have a high response rate and have an established following. Even if you don't currently have large followings, it's important to choose platforms where your customers are actively engaged and responsive. Here are some probable places to ask for user-generated content from your loyal customers.
Your Website: Static buttons placed on your website can increase your user-generated content submissions dramatically. When you are already driving traffic to your website, why not make the most of that traffic and ask customers to share and tell you about their experience?
Image Source: Lays Joy Story
Check out this example of how Lays runs a Joy Story campaign on its website and encourages its happy customers to share their stories through form submissions.
Image Source: Lays Joy Story
Facebook: Facebook is a great platform for sourcing engaging, user-generated photos and videos. A chunk of marketers has found that Facebook ads that showcase user-generated content in the form of customer reviews and product images perform much better. Shoppers find it more relatable and more authentic.
Instagram: Instagram is more of an aesthetic platform and is more about photos and videos. If your customers are keen on taking artsy shots of your products or using them in exciting ways that make for great photos, Instagram is one of the best platforms to share such content. It's also an excellent place to start a branded hashtag campaign.
Twitter: Some of the best user-generated content can come in the form of tweets. With a 280 character limit, your customers tend to post very clear and concise feedback for your brand. In fact, shorter is sometimes better, as it helps to get the point across before you lose your audience's attention. Well-captured product images can also go along with tweets. Twitter is another great place to create for a custom hashtags campaign.
YouTube: YouTube is a great place to source video formatted user-generated content. Encourage your customers to share video reviews and feature them on your youtube page.
Know more about YouTube Video Marketing
LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a platform for professional content, making it an excellent space for B2B brands to source quality UGC.
3. Decide Where To Use User-Generated Content For The Most Benefit
After you have decided where you will gather your UGC from, you will need to determine where you will use it to derive the highest benefit. Once again, it's essential to focus on relevant platforms where your audience is actively engaged.
For instance, it's best not to share user-generated content on LinkedIn if your content isn't relevant to your audience's professional needs.
Test various forms of creating social media posts with UGC to see how they affect your most important metrics and engagement rate.
The point here is to determine where and in what format your UGC should be used to deliver the most impact. Like all marketing tactics, effective user-generated content marketing is also about optimizing your return on investment. That means getting the greatest results from minimal efforts and investment. Driving those results simply means focusing your efforts on the appropriate channels.
4. Clearly Communicate Your Intent To Your Audience
Help your customers understand what exactly you are looking for in the form of UGC. Work to guide them toward creating the kind of content you need to achieve your goals. In this way, you can spend less time editing the kind of content you need.
It's very easy to make the ask on your social platforms. However, it's far more effective if you can isolate those segments of people who have already purchased from you. If you are just getting started with user-generated content marketing, it's better to land into your customer's DMs to make a kind ask.
Know more about How To Use Instagram DMs For Business
The goal is to set clear guidelines for what you want to receive. If you are only looking for video testimonials, communicate that to your customers. Make that clear if you are only looking for videos of your products being used in unique and unusual ways.
5. Be Sure To Get Permission
The consumer who has taken the photo, written the prose, or produced the video, owns the piece of content. Asking for permission is a polite thing to do, plus it is a best practice to follow on social media to maintain your brand's reputation. If you are manually collecting and repurposing content, make sure you ask for permission.
6. Recognize People For Their User-Generated Content
By helping contributors (your customers) feel recognized for their submissions, you will motivate them to continue participating and also get more people inspired to follow the suit.
When you use someone's content on social media, be sure to give credit where it's due. Make it an engaging and fun experience for your customers to share UGC such that it inspires others to share similar content as well.
Image Source: Away Instagram
7. Use Search Streams To Find Missing User-Generated Content
If you focus on collecting UGC only when users tag your brand's profile or use your branded hashtag, you are missing out on tons of potential content. It's a good idea to listen for all mentions of your brand on social media, even if your handle has not been tagged by the content owner. You might just get a fantastic user review that you might have missed otherwise. Social listening will help you out here to figure out the untagged brand mentions to create user-generated content.
Statusbrew's social listening feature helps you discover new audiences, listen to social conversations about your product and brand and look beyond your feed to engage with new audiences.
You can even build highly custom queries, create your complex search queries and preview their results to target more focussed conversations.
8. Analyze And Measure Your User-Generated Content Efforts
Just like all of your marketing efforts, it's essential to identify what type of user-generated content is helping you reach your goals. Pay close attention to the patterns and trends you see in your social analytics and create your UGC posts.
Metrics such as likes, comments, shares, saves, and engagement rates are significant to monitor so you can continue to reassess your user-generated content strategy for the future. That way, you can better serve your audience, manage your time, and continue to deliver killer user-generated content for your marketing strategy!
If you use Statusbrew to plan and schedule your social media posts, you can easily check even the minute data using Statusbrew's Reports Lab feature.
It measures and tracks your engagement rates and other vital metrics on several social platforms all in one place. So it's super simple to compare and contrast performance and stay on top of your campaign reporting!
You can easily track the performance of each piece of user-generated content you put on social to determine what appeals the most to your audiences and what types of content you should be working to generate.
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