The term “user-generated content” may conjure up images of unboxing videos or influencers telling their thousands (or millions) of followers to buy the next best, all-natural mascara. While you wouldn’t be wrong, influencer marketing is only one part of UGC content. UGC is digital word-of-mouth marketing that will increase your brand awareness and build trust between you and your customers.
Types of UGC
The most straightforward, obvious form of user-generated content is found in images and videos. You’ll often notice customers reposting a brand’s announcement, tagging their friends in giveaway contests, and sharing tutorials for how they use their favorite products. These forms of UGC boost brand recognition. After all, the more you see your friends promoting a product, the more likely you will check out the brand’s website and maybe purchase your own.
Video content is one of the most popular forms of UGC. It capitalizes on visual and aural input to captivate customers and allows them to empathize and connect with users. Users can set up YouTube channels or post reels to their Instagram feeds to share their experiences with your product. In these videos, they may provide their testimonials, telling the story of how your product solved one of their needs. These videos act as evidence supporting your arguments in favor of your product.
Customers can also contribute user-generated content by posting their reviews online. You can boost your SEO and increase conversion rates by sharing these reviews on your website. The majority of customers will not purchase without consulting customer reviews.
They act as social proof. Stories of satisfied customers on your website or Yelp show customers what to expect from your brand. However, reviews can be time-consuming, and not all customers (even satisfied ones) are motivated enough to complete them. You can incentivize customers to share their experiences by offering special discounts.
You can also convert analytics from your surveys and case studies into UGC. Customer satisfaction statistics show potential customers quantitative data that backs your claims. You can also post snippets of customer reviews they include in the comments section of surveys.
How to Use UGC
When sourcing UGC, you want to clarify your marketing objectives and guidelines for content. You can provide customers with a framework for what you want to see in their content and offer prizes for those whose content you’ll use in your campaigns.
The reward can be small, like a feature on your social media, or more sizable, like a free product. Your UGC content should be timely, relevant, authentic, and unique enough to draw attention. You might establish professional partnerships with influencers or build your team of brand ambassadors amongst your current customers.
You can increase user engagement and generate more content output by gamifying the experience. For example, you can promote a giveaway on social media. Make customer posts easy to track by generating a branded hashtag for the giveaway. A hashtag will guide users to your profile and website and give you access to high-quality UGC. You might even go viral. You can also repost their content to build a social media presence that highlights your customer base.
You might consider structuring your UGC around themes and important events like holidays. Users are more apt to participate in promotions that roll around once a year or reflect current trends due to their notoriety.
Customers can suddenly get their hands on products and discounts only available for a limited time. For example, Starbucks’s Red Cup promotion during Christmas sees heaps of user-generated content. It’s a theme likely mirrored in their sales of holiday drinks and treats.
Whenever you source and share user-generated content, ask for permission. Not all users want their posts and opinions shared on your page. To respect user privacy and the right to own their original content, it’s essential to ask if you can repurpose their content and explain how you will use it. Remember to give credit to the source.
UGC is irreplaceable in humanizing a brand and providing social proof to your potential customers. It drives sales and conversions and is often more likely to gain views and promote interaction than official brand content. Customers want to learn from their peers. They want to know how your product has helped others solve problems they are currently facing. You can capitalize on all forms of UGC as long as the content stays true to your brand voice and supports further your marketing efforts.
What is user-generated content?
User-generated content (UGC) is any form created by someone other than your brand, such as videos, images, or written text.
How can I use user-generated content?
There are many ways you can use UGC. You can source it from platforms like social media, review sites, or surveys and post it on your website or social media accounts. You can also convert analytics from your surveys and case studies into UGC.
Why is user-generated content important?
UGC is important because it helps to humanize a brand and provides social proof to your potential customers. It drives sales and conversions and is often more likely to gain views and promote interaction than official brand content.
How can I get user-generated content?
There are a few ways you can get UGC. You can run giveaways or competitions, partner with influencers, or build your team of brand ambassadors amongst your current customers. You can also source it from social media, review sites, or surveys.
How do I ensure that the user-generated content I use is high quality?
When sourcing UGC, you want to clarify your marketing objectives and guidelines for content. You can provide customers with a framework for what you want to see in their content and offer prizes for those whose content you’ll be using. You can also use UGC platforms that vet content before it’s published. Finally, you can set up Google Alerts to track when new content is published about your brand so you can quickly curate and share the best of it.
What are some examples of user-generated content?
Some examples of UGC include social media posts, images, videos, blog posts, reviews, testimonials, and case studies.
How can I get started with user-generated content?
If you’re unsure where to start, consider running a contest or partnering with an influencer who aligns with your brand. Using hashtags, you can also start curating UGC from social media platforms like Instagram or Twitter. Finally, make sure you have systems in place to track, monitor, and measure the performance of your UGC campaigns.