User-generated content, or UGC, is one of the most powerful tools in a marketer's arsenal. When done right, it can help your brand to go viral and achieve massive success online. But what is user-generated content, and how can you make it work for your brand?
In this article, we'll identify what user-generated content is, discuss its benefits, and provide an ultimate user-generated content strategy to elevate your brand awareness online.
What Is User Generated Content?
User-generated content (UGC) is any type of content created by users or fans of a brand on social media platforms, websites, and other digital outlets. This content can include user-created videos, audio, images, reviews, stories, and more. It's an effective way to create social proof for your brand. So, when fans or customers post about their experience with your product or service, it encourages other consumers to try it out.
As the champions at Hootsuite say in this article:
"It's proof that you have dedicated fans, products worth talking about, and a social network that will appreciate great content."
Why Should User-Generated Content Be A Part Of Our Marketing Strategy?
There are numerous benefits to user-generated content, and it's an effective way to engage with your audience. Here are some of the top reasons why UGC needs to be part of your marketing strategy:
UGC is a great way to increase your reach on social media. When users post about your brand on their platforms, it has the potential to expose your product or service to a whole new audience, creating more opportunities for conversion.
Tap Into The Power Of Your Audience
UGC allows you to tap into the power of your audience. This form of content is often more engaging and shareable than traditional marketing, as it's authentically created by real people rather than a faceless brand. Ultimately, people are more likely to trust their peers over marketing campaigns from brands or paid influencers.
Provide Social Proof For Your Brand
When potential consumers see that real people are using and loving your product or service, they're more likely to become customers themselves. UGC is typically an authentic, non-salesy way to build trust with your audience and demonstrate the effectiveness of your offerings.
Marketing That Cuts Through The Noise
In today's crowded market, user-generated content can help your brand to cut through the noise of various ads and sponsored posts and stand out from the competition. It's an effective way to connect with customers and demonstrate how loyal fans are already engaging with your product or service.
User-generated content can also positively impact your SEO, as it helps generate more backlinks to your website. As a result, UGC can significantly increase your rankings in search engine results and make you more visible online. According to Kissmetrics, "25% of search results for the world's top 20 largest brands are links to user-generated content."
Creating visual content can be time-consuming, costly, and quickly become irrelevant to your brand. Instead, you can save time and money by leveraging user-generated content while still getting the exposure you need to grow your brand.
User-generated content is also a great way to take the pressure off your marketing department by having people genuinely interested in your brand creating content for you.
So, with all of that in mind, let's discuss:
The Ultimate User-Generated Content Strategy
Now that you understand the benefits of user-generated content, your mind is racing with ways to incorporate it into your marketing strategy. Here are a few tips to get you started:
Create Brand-Specific Hashtags
Creating a unique hashtag for your brand allows users to find user-generated content easily. It also encourages users to post about your brand, allowing them to connect with others who are talking about the same thing.
One of our favourite examples of a business that has created a brand-specific hashtag and, in our humble opinion are, UGC masterminds is the brand Crocs. The Croc marketing team has developed a marketing strategy that heavily involves UGC across their TikTok, and they've used the branded hashtag, wait for it... #Croctok. Genius! And obviously, their followers also love it, with almost 800,000 followers and over 5 million likes across that platform!
Another example of a brand that has successfully implemented user-generated content is Calvin Klein. Now, we KNOW you've seen the Justin Bieber posts circulating social media over the years with the branded hashtag #mycalvins. Since then, this hashtag has earnt close to a million posts on Instagram and still plagues Twitter and Facebook, making it one of the most successful user-generated content campaigns to date.
So, our point is to create brand-relevant hashtags and make them catchy!
Identify Consumer Trends
What are the people in your target market talking about? What kind of user-generated content is trending? Keeping track of consumer trends helps you to identify what type of user-generated content resonates with your audience and keeps them engaged.
Incentives and rewards are always a great way to encourage user-generated content. For example, you can offer discounts, free products or services, and exclusive access to new products in exchange for user-generated content. This enables users to engage with your brand and post-user-generated content.
Monitor UGC Conversations
PSA: User-generated content is all about the conversation!
So, monitoring user conversations and staying active in the discussion is essential. Creating an online community for your brand is a great way to encourage user-generated content and foster user engagement. Consider creating a dedicated page on social media, a forum, or a discussion board on your website. This allows users to engage with each other and talk about their experiences with your brand, giving you valuable insights into what your customers are saying and being able to engage with them directly.
By responding to user conversations and engaging with user-generated content, you can show that your brand is listening to its customers and building trust.
Leverage Customer Reviews
By leveraging customer reviews in your marketing strategy and featuring user-generated content on your website, social media platforms, and within your email campaigns, you are providing potential customers with authentic evidence that people are enjoying your product or service.
On that same note:
Respond To Customer Reviews
Responding to user reviews is important, as it shows customers that you value their opinion and take action when needed. This also helps build trust with your customers, as they know you are listening to their feedback.
Repost user-generated content on your page or profile to give a shout out to the user who created it. This helps build relationships with customers and encourages them and others to make more user-generated content in the future.
User-generated content can be an incredibly powerful tool for any brand. By taking the time to create a user-generated content strategy, your brand can benefit from increased user engagement and build trust with your customers.
The Challenges of UGC
Despite the benefits of user-generated content, a few challenges come with it.
UGC used in marketing must comply with regulations and laws related to user privacy and data protection.
Another challenge of user-generated content is copyright issues. It's essential to make sure that UGC isn't infringing on any existing copyrights or intellectual property rights before using it in your marketing campaigns.
UGC is more complex than simply reposting content from a customer on your feed. First, since the content is user generated, you'll need to ensure you have permission to repost it and use it in your marketing. In some cases, written permission from the user is required.
One of the biggest challenges of user-generated content is that it's difficult to control the quality since it's not you making it. User-generated content can be inappropriate, or incompatible with your brand's values.
You also want your UGC captured in a high-quality format with good lighting, great angles, free of background noise, etc. Conversely, low-quality UGC won't do your brand any good, so you'll need to ensure that you're only reposting content that meets your brand's standards.
However, it is doubtful that users will willingly create high-quality content for your brand free of charge. That's where we come in...
UGC x The Right Fit
We get it; developing a marketing strategy while running a business is a tough gig. Finding the time to scout creators that align with your brand can be challenging and, more often than not, at the bottom of your to-do list. Enter, theright.fit
Theright.fit is a marketplace connecting brands, marketing & PR gencies, and creators. It allows brands to find the perfect creator for their needs. It provides brands the opportunity to specify their UGC requirements, attach branding guidelines, and review previous user-generated content from potential influencers, and then letting them pitch their creative ideas to your brand. You can create organic user engagement and foster long-term relationships with your customers by leveraging UGC from creators that match your brand's values and vision.
So, use user-generated content to its fullest potential and leverage theright.fit for your marketing content strategy. As we know, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail… With a well-thought-out plan, you can boost engagement, build trust with customers and ensure success for your business! You’re welcome.