How User-Generated Content Can Be a Game-Changer for Your Business
User-generated content (UGC) is one of the most potent tools marketers can use to promote their brand.
But what really is user-generated content?
It can be any content, such as videos, reviews, images, text, etc. that people create rather than brands.
As compared to brand-pushed marketing content, UGC is regarded as the most trustworthy, authentic, and reliable form of content. If you see the latest statistics, 92% of customers trust the recommendations and reviews shared by individuals and not advertisements.
You can imagine UGC as a vote of confidence. If you observe the current scenario, any brand’s biggest fans can be seen writing reviews, snapping pictures, and publishing blog posts promoting its services and products, many a time without any prompting.
In all, user-generated content is a killer asset, and can completely change the game for your business. In this post, we unearth the benefits of this kind of content and how your business can leverage it for successful growth. Let’s begin:
What is User-Generated Content and Why Is it Important?
User-generated content is any content users create and share based on their opinions, feedback, ideas, or experiences. Different social media platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook are the hub of this kind of content. Also, with comments sections on blogs, the ability to publish content for free with a single click, and digital forums, UGC is at an all-time high.
Now that we are done with the definition, let’s look at why user-generated content is important:
UGC simply boosts your credibility by outsourcing content creation to users.
It is effective content that builds authenticity and trust in your brand, further saving your financial resources and organization time!
Owing to its many benefits, 86% of companies have added UGC to their marketing strategy.
Here’s more on why businesses are increasingly focusing on displaying user-generated content on different platforms:
1. A Win-Win Situation for Both You and Your Fans
User-generated content puts your customers front and center, while benefiting your brand as well.
When you use UGC in your marketing, this is what happens:
- You let your fans tell your story.
- You market “with” your audience and not “at” them.
- Your marketing messages come from your customers.
- You spotlight individuals who are helping shape your brand!
2. UGC Indicates That Your Brand Is Open to Conversation
In this day and age, people look for different ways to share their opinions about different brands. When you share UGC on branded social channels or simply use it in your marketing, it can make your audience feel seen and heard. It also shows that you are open to conversation.
3. You Get To Cut Through the Noise
UGC content marketing offers a way to cut through the various ads and promoted content your customers are bombarded with on a daily basis.
UGC is genuine and not salesy. It instantly grabs the attention of your audience and works to engage them because it is created by a member of your target audience only.
4. UGC Provides Social Proof
Another reason why user-generated content is important is because it provides social proof.
Social proof is the validation you get from your customers about the authenticity, trust, and reliability of your activities and products. In this digital age, a brand needs to have social proof. This is because social proof can influence the buying decisions of a brand’s customers.
5. Unlimited Flow of Content
As creating marketing campaigns is a constant process, there will always be a requirement for trendy, authentic content.
UGC helps you receive an unlimited flow of such content from your users.
It eliminates the need to spend money on constant idea generation and content creation!
Types of User-Generated Content
UGC comes in many formats and styles. Let’s take a look at the different types of user-generated content:
- Social media content (e.g., a Tweet about your brand)
- Blog posts
- Live streams
- Product reviews (learn how to get customer reviews)
- YouTube content
Top User-Generated Content Examples
Irrespective of their size, brands use UGC to boost social engagement, expand their reach, drive awareness, increase conversions, and cost effectively scale their business.
Here are some of the best user-generated content examples out there:
LuluLemon is a Canadian athleisure brand offering leggings and yoga clothing to its customers. To increase their reach on social media platforms, they asked their followers to share the photos in which they are wearing LuluLemon’s garments. They also had to use this hashtag:
This benefited the brand in two ways:
- It got tonnes of easily searchable UGC content for repurposing.
- Sharing content from brand ambassadors increased its reach across social media.
GoPro is a popular video equipment company that uses UGC for its YouTube channel.
If you check their top three videos, they are actually filmed by customers. These videos had 400 million views in total (as of December 2021).
The best thing is – this content didn’t cost the brand anything.
3. La Croix
La Croix is a sparkling water brand that also uses a hashtag (#LiveLaCroix), similar to the strategy that LuluLemon used. The hashtag helps the brand mine for UGC on their social media networks.
The best thing about the brand is that it shares content produced by anyone and not just brand loyalists with higher follower counts. This makes their UGC super relatable to their followers.
User-Generated Content Tips
It’s now time we discuss some important user-generated content tips. Let’s begin:
1. Requesting Permission Is Mandatory
Always ask for your customer’s consent before using or republishing their content. It keeps you out of hot waters regarding copyright concerns.
Asking for consent is also important because a lot of times individuals can use your branded hashtags without even knowing that you have tied them to a UGC campaign.
2. Give Credit Where Credit Is Due
Ensure you give proper credit to the original creator when you share UGC on your social media networks. What we mean is, directly tag them in the post and indicate if you are using their visuals and/or words.
Note: You may also want to share UGC across social media networks. For instance, you may want to share a picture from Instagram on your Facebook page. In this case, you can always ask the original creator how they want to be credited on the other platform.
Why is giving credit so important anyway?
Giving credit not only recognizes the work of content creators but also encourages them to use and post more about your brand.
3. Provide Clear Guidelines
If you observe the current scenario, only some businesses provide clear guidelines on the kind of UGC they want followers to create and share. UGC creators want to share their content, but they also want to know exactly what to do when it comes to UGC.
Don’t be afraid to share specific requirements and tell the creators what kind of content fits your needs.
Tip: To determine the kind of content you should feature, ensure you follow these two steps:
- Sit with your social media strategy document to look for ways user-generated content aligns with your current marketing goals.
- Use this information to create a statement that tells users what type of content you will most likely feature.
Share your UGC task at places you know individuals will interact with your brand, such as your website, your social channel bios, your product packaging, or in other UGC social media posts.
4. Make UGC Entertaining
UGC should be entertaining for your followers. Sometimes it doesn’t have to be product-related at all!
For instance, one of the best UGC trends you can see out there is:
Brands reposting their follower’s tweets on their Instagram feed.
How to Get More UGC for Your Brand?
Apart from creating a unique hashtag, here are some ideas on how to get more UGC for your brand:
- Ask for feedback from users.
- Launch a contest on Instagram.
- Create a compelling challenge that pushes users creatively or physically. For instance, a fitness content creator can design a multi-day fitness challenge in which users can participate and share their progress on social media.
The Bottom Line
From helping you increase your reach to providing social proof, it’s easy to see why user-generated content is important for brands in this digital age. It is a complete game-changer for businesses because it increases user engagement, which in turn boosts conversions and revenue.
All in all, UGC is a secret ingredient for successful marketing, and brands and marketers should definitely leverage it in their marketing activities. Just ensure you follow important user-generated content tips like always asking the customer’s consent before you republish or use their content.