Tired of struggling to produce the constant stream of content needed to appease today’s media-hungry consumers? Then we’ve got good news for you!
There is an option that won’t burn out business owners or marketing budgets, and that way out is known as UGC.
Social media content creators are plenty familiar with the UGC acronym. However, for those who are just now coming up to speed, UGC stands for user-generated content.
This powerful influencer marketing tool, paired with the growth of popular social media platforms, allows enterprises to delegate some of their vital brand-building responsibilities to an unlikely, yet fairly obvious, voice: the consumer.
Not only is it a wonderful opportunity for marketers to connect with and cultivate brand ambassadors, but also builds trust and conveys the authenticity that modern audiences absolutely demand.
At the end of the day, when it comes time to make a purchasing decision, who are you more likely to trust: a brand, or a fellow consumer who uses the product?
Whether it’s through micro-influencers, customer advocates, or celebrity endorsers and influencers, UGC content on social media has become powerful.
Ultimately, no brand can afford to miss out on these opportunities. Regardless of your industry, your clients, customers or followers are creating and sharing content like never before!
This includes 1,000 photos uploaded to Instagram every SECOND and thousands of tweets every second. And let’s not forget the 30 billion content posts published on Facebook every, single month.
Now we know what you’re thinking, can it be integrated not only into your social media marketing strategies but your entire content game plan too?
What is user-generated content marketing or UGC?
In a nutshell, user-generated content (UGC) marketing is the process of using unpaid content created by customers and fans to promote your brand.
UGC can take many different forms. This could include tweets, blog posts, testimonials on your website, Snapchat and Instagram influencer stories or even YouTube videos and endorsements.
Instagram, in particular, has become renowned for being conducive for UGC campaigns, mainly due to the platform’s visual nature, popularity among millennials and the ability to tag brand accounts with ease.
And what are the results so far? Well, according to Business Insider, shoppers interacting with UGC are 97% more likely to convert with a retailer than customers who do not.
9 User-generated content benefits you're missing out on
UGC has become an important part of content marketing, and for good reason. When executed effectively, it can provide a number of benefits for businesses, including:
#1 - Cost reduction
By leveraging the content created by your customers and followers, you can reduce the amount of money you spend on creating original content. This is especially true if you work with influencers, as they often charge less than traditional celebrities or brand ambassadors.
#2 - Increased authenticity
When users create content themselves, it often feels more authentic and trustworthy than content created by brands. This is because it’s coming from a real person, rather than a corporate entity. In fact, a study by Nielsen found that 92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family more than any other form of advertising.
#3 - Increased creativity
UGC gives brands the opportunity to tap into the creativity of their customers. By encouraging users to participate in content creation, you’re opening up a whole new world of possibilities for creative expression. This can include everything from user-generated videos and photos to blog posts and social media updates.
#4 - Authentic feedback
UGC has the ability to generate a feedback process that is difficult to replicate with other forms of marketing. When users create content about your brand, they often provide feedback in the form of commentary. In the process, they are also motivating your target audience to do the same. It can then give you the public's general sentiment about your offerings. This can help you to improve your products and services, and understand what your customers want and need.
#5 - Search visibility
Kissmetrics did a study and found that 25% of search results from the world's top 20 largest brands are links to user-generated content. This is because Google and other search engines prefer websites with high-quality, original content. By including UGC on your online properties, like publishing blogs written by users or fan videos, you can increase your chances of ranking higher on search engine results pages.
#6 - Personalisation
It's easy to develop brand marketing messages that are highly personalised when you have brand advocates who constantly churn out content for you. For example, you can create an email marketing campaign that targets a specific market segment based on their interests. You can deliver UGC that only features these products. Because 71% of consumers are ready to send data and information just to get more personalised ads, you can connect on a more personal level using personalised third-party content that resonates with your ideal customer.
#7 - Credibility
When users post about your brand on various marketing channels, it can lend credibility to your business. This is because it’s coming from a third-party source, rather than directly from you. When people are willing to spend time and effort to generate unique content about your brand for free, it usually indicates that they are happy with what you offer and believe in your product or service.
#8 - Brand recall
When people see your brand in their social media feeds all the time, you can increase brand recall. Through user-generated content, you can make it easier for people to remember who you are and what you offer. This is especially true if the content is high-quality or has the potential to go viral.
#9 - Increased sales
Everything from #1 to #8 boils down to this. According to a study by BrightLocal, 84% of consumers say that user-generated reviews have some impact on their decision to purchase a product or service. This is likely because reviews are by real people who have actually used the product or service. When you get free content from users about your brand, it can lead to increased sales.
Disadvantages of consumer-generated content in marketing campaigns
While consumer-generated marketing content has a ton of benefits, it's not without its disadvantages. Here are a few to be aware of:
- Negative sentiment: Sometimes users will post negative comments about your brand. This can be difficult to deal with, but it's important to remember that you can't please everyone all the time. It's important to have a plan in place to deal with negative sentiment so that it doesn't affect your business.
- Lack of quality control: You can't always control the quality of user-generated content. This means that you may end up with low-quality or inaccurate information being published about your brand. It's important to verify the accuracy of user-generated content before it's published.
- Legal or copyright issues: If users post copyrighted material without permission, they (and you) can get into trouble with copyright infringement. Also, if user-generated content is libellous or slanderous, you can get into legal trouble. It's important to have guidelines in place for ensuring that user-generated content does not violate any copyright laws.
- Spam: Sometimes people will post spammy content about your brand, which can be difficult to deal with. You'll need a process in place for dealing with spam or misleading content and removing it from your social wall.
- Negative impact on brand image: When the UGC is mostly negative content, it can have a negative impact on your brand image. It's important to reply to any negative posts or comments with the intent of making the situation better so that it doesn't damage your reputation.
Awesome examples of brands who have used UGC effectively in their marketing strategy
So now that we know all the benefits and pitfalls of UGC, it's time to take a look at some awesome examples of brands who have used it effectively in their marketing strategy.
#1 - LaCroix
LaCroix has a marketing team that has embraced user-generated content wholeheartedly. They have built a well-curated Instagram feed featuring photos and videos of everyday users who obviously love their product.
They also run a holiday hashtag campaign, which features content from users on niche occasions such #NationalCaregiversDay or #NationalWomenPhysiciansDay. User-submitted photos that are authentic, fun, and on-brand can be a great way to connect with customers and show off your product. For LaCroix, it's become a full-on campaign that has driven their entire strategy on Instagram.
#2 - Crocs
If there's one brand that dominates the fastest-growing social media network in the world, then it must be Crocs. They've taken a slightly different approach with user-generated content, using it to fuel their TikTok account instead of the usual suspects Instagram and Facebook.
They use the branded hashtag #Croctok where users can submit videos of their Crocs in unique and funny situations. They then take the best submissions and feature them on their account. They also work with influencers and brand employees to dish out fresh content that keeps followers engaged.
#3 - Dove
Dove continues its ongoing advocacy for body positivity in its #NoDigitalDistortion initiative. In this campaign, they use user-generated content to show the effects of airbrushing and photoshopping on young women's self-esteem. They feature photos and videos of women of all shapes and sizes, in an effort to show that beauty comes in all different forms and that there's no need for heavy filters.
This campaign is a great example of using user-generated content to spread a message that is important to the brand. It also helps to build a community of women who feel supported by Dove and are proud to share images of themselves, unedited.
User-generated content is a powerful marketing tool that can be used to drive traffic and increase brand awareness. While there are many benefits to this form of marketing, there are also some potential pitfalls that you need to be aware of. By understanding the benefits and the things to watch out for when dealing with user-generated content, you can use it to your advantage in your marketing strategy.
When tapping into the power of UGC, take your cue from the brands that have successfully used it in their marketing campaigns. By following their lead, you can create exclusive content that is both authentic and on-brand, which will help you connect with your target audience effectively.