User-generated content is quickly becoming a popular marketing tactic that brands throughout all industries are implementing in their marketing strategies. Here’s what you need to know about it if you’re interested in learning more about what it means and how you can utilize UGC to improve your brand’s reach, conversions and sales.
Whether you’re ready to show off your brand’s new product, get the word out about your company’s ESG (environmental, social and governance) investing or increase visibility of your next-level services, user-generated content can be an effective strategy.
But what exactly is UGC? And how can you use it in your business to amplify your success? We’re covering everything you need to know in our UGC guide.
What is User-Generated Content?
User-generated content, sometimes referred to as customer-generated content, is unique product- or service-focused content created by someone other than the featured brand. These people can be consumers, brand advocates, followers or everyday users.
UGC comes in many forms, like photos, videos, testimonials and reviews, which is generally published on social media. However, UGC can also include consumer-written blogs, live streams, articles and even podcasts published on other channels, such as consumer-owned websites or media platforms.
What are the Benefits of UGC?
When utilized in a meaningful and strategic way, UGC is a smart marketing tool that delivers countless benefits and meaningful ROI.
More Authentic Than Brand-Created Content
Since UGC is often created by your everyday consumer, it comes off as more authentic than content created by your brand for a specific campaign. Effective UGC humanizes your brand by showing how people use your product or service in real life.
Increased Brand Awareness and Reach
Social media and UGC go together like chips and salsa, peanut butter and jelly or [insert your preferred food combination here!].
When you consistently share content created by consumers, employees, brand advocates, organizations or another creator, you not only capitalize on the original post’s visibility, awareness and reach, but also the positive growth that comes from sharing it on your own brand accounts.
UGC is Highly Influential
According to Adweek, 85 percent of people say UGC is more influential than content made by brands directly. Consumers trust other consumers.
The influential capabilities that UGC marketing provides could be considered akin to the power of word-of-mouth marketing, which is why many brands are choosing to implement it in their marketing strategies.
A great example of a big brand harnessing the power of UGC is Coca Cola’s #ShareACoke campaign. With over 620,000 Instagram posts and thousands of tweets using the hashtag, this campaign garnered a significant amount of reach, engagement and excitement.
Establishes Trust and Authenticity
Considering your brand isn’t creating the content, UGC is generally based on the experience consumers have had, or are having, with your products and services.
Using UGC in your marketing strategy can be a powerful way to build trust and authenticity, as the content and brand feedback is coming from genuine and honest users – demonstrating your brand’s commitment to transparency.
Unique and Exclusive Content
As a business owner, you know how hard it is to continuously and regularly create unique content. With UGC, you can effectively minimize the amount of content you have to create in-house, by sharing and amplifying content your users have already created.
Valuable Data and Feedback
UGC, especially in the case of reviews and testimonials, is a practical (and often overlooked!) way of gathering valuable data and feedback. When you start to implement UGC in the form of direct consumer feedback, you may begin to attract new users to your brand.
Showcasing your customer’s thoughts and feedback delivers increased brand visibility, and encourages the rest of your community to interact with your brand.
In turn, you have a process that can provide you with impactful data to inform your future business decisions, such as product development.
How to Maximize UGC in Your Marketing Strategy
With the impressive benefits mentioned above, you may be wondering how to implement UGC into your marketing strategy. Here are some ways to maximize user-generated content to amplify your reach, awareness, lead generation and sales.
Encourage People to Share
Implement strategies that encourage your customers, clients, brand advocates and employees to share their experience with your brand, such as a unique branded hashtag, trend, challenge or contest.
Some brand loyalists have even created communities (often online) where like minded people can come to ask questions, exchange tips or share their experiences with (or passion for!) products or services.
Publish UGC on Social Media
Whether it’s in the form of a review, testimonial, photo, video, social post, podcast, blog post, case study or something else, share it on your social media accounts to increase exposure for your brand.
For example, here’s a social media post from Schroeder & Mandel. It highlights a testimonial received from a worker's compensation client, further positioning the firm as a reputable, trusted and dependable brand who can help in this particularly challenging practice area.
Share UGC in Other Marketing Forms
In addition to social media, which is the most common place to publish user-generated content, you can also share positive UGC on your website and in email campaigns to bring further awareness to how your brand is impacting your customers and community.
One way to do so is by creating an engaging testimonials or reviews page on your website that shares all of your favorite customer or client feedback.
Or include UGC in an upcoming email marketing campaign by using part of a witty or funny customer testimonial as a subject line to increase your open rate and engagement, as LoveRaw did in a recent email blast.
Use User-Generated Content as Ad Material
Did you know that roughly 92% of customers trust the reviews and recommendations shared by people more than advertisements?
On its own, UGC that’s used organically can shift how prospective customers and clients view your brand, but when amplified with ad dollars, UGC used in advertising can be a seriously powerful way to maximize your impact, increase your conversion rates and improve the potential for sales.
Harness the Power of UGC with Giant Voices
At Giant Voices, we have the experience and knowledge to amplify your business with powerful user-generated content. Get in touch with our skilled team and let’s work together to take your marketing to the next level.