Remember when OREO launched the #stayhomestayplayful campaign during the pandemic? People were provided with ideas for entertaining activities to make the lockdown more bearable. Videos and photos with that hashtag were posted and reposted by thousands of people, allowing Oreo to share content quickly and increase customer engagement. This is a great example of UGC (user-generated content)!
This quick guide will give you an overview of UGC, including benefits, facts, best practices and a few tips to convert customers into brand advocates.
1. What is UGC?
UGC (User-Generated Content) is a form of content related to a brand that is created by a person that is not representative of the brand, usually a customer.
It can be any form such as photos, videos, reviews, blog posts, podcasts, and every other content that promotes the brand. Since UGC content is all customer-created is much more authentic compared to branded content and help brands build community, raise awareness, and gain customer trust.
2. Reasons Why Brands Need User-Generated Content
It's not a surprise that many brands already implemented user-generated content in their digital marketing strategies. Here below are some of the main benefits provided by UGC:
- Promotes authenticity and credibility (consumers are not passive anymore, they have a voice and they promote the brands they love)
- It's cost-effective as user-generated content is much cheaper than other forms of advertising, and it can be used for various marketing purposes.
- Builds trust within a brand's audience because consumers trust more recommendations coming from real people
- Increases engagement as people feel like they're part of something when they contribute their own ideas or opinions about a brand they care about and are more likely to become brand advocates
- Presents social proof and can improve SEO efforts through re-sharing, customer reviews, etc.
- Extends reach, enhances brand visibility and strengthens customer relationships
3. User-Generated Content Statistics
The benefits mentioned above are supported by facts. Here are 5 main statistics about UGC:
- 86% of consumers say authenticity is a key factor when deciding which brands to support, and 60% of consumers say UGC is the most authentic form of content.
- 93% of consumers find UGC to be helpful when making a purchasing decision.
- Websites with UGC saw a 20% increase in return visitors and a 90% increase in time on site.
- 56% of consumers are more likely to buy a product after seeing a positive review from another consumer.
- 90% of shoppers say that UGC has more influence over their purchasing decisions than traditional advertising.
4. Types of User-Generated Content
Now let’s dive into the most popular UGC use cases.
Visual are the most common type of UGC, and the most engaging, too. Visuals include photos, videos and graphics and are the easiest type of UGC to create (customers just need a phone to shoot a photo or a video). It is a very common practice for customers to share a photo or video on their social media accounts, showing how they use and interact with a certain brand.
They are a great inspiration for potential customers to identify themselves and get inspiration. Brands can use customer reviews in their website, in blogs or on social media.
Recommendations in tweets and social media groups are also a common practice. People ask similar-minded people to share recommendations when it comes to purchasing a product.
Customer Reviews, Testimonials and Ratings
These are one of the best UGC types and are usually left on product pages or business listings. Brands have to create a clear process to manage online reputation which includes managing, responding, and showcasing customer reviews.
5. User-Generated Content Goals
When setting up a UGC campaign it's important to clearly define the main goals. Here are some of the goals that user-generated content can help brands achieve.
UGC can boost conversion rates by providing authentic content made by users and customer reviews which make potential customers more comfortable purchasing a product.
When consumers create content on their own, they are more likely to share it with friends which will result in increased traffic for the brand's website! This means that if someone likes something about your business then they'll probably tell their friends about it too.
Most consumers need to be educated about a brand before they make a purchase. Brands can track popular questions and concerns about their products on social media and provide a direct response.
UGC is the best way to build credibility and trust with an audience. That's why brands need to track keywords, comments and reviews connected with their products.
6. Best Practices for User-Generated Content Marketing Strategy
Before stat using UGC, brands need to come up with a serious strategy for growth.
Make The Product Sharable
First of all, before brands expect users to start promoting and sharing content about their products they should think about what makes their product distinctive and how to facilitate the user experience.
Identify The Target Audience
Brands should understand audience's demographics, interests, and behavior to create content that resonates with them.
Choose The Right Platform
Select the platform(s) where the identified audience is most active and where potential advocates could have the most significant influence. Focus on the platform that is most effective for your user-generated content campaign.
Request Permission & Give Credit
Even if a brand has been tagged in a post, it's always a good idea to ask for permission. Resharing content without the author's permission can irritate even the most ardent supporters. It's also highly recommended to tag the original creator directly in the post to make it easier for followers to verify authenticity. Tip: brands can also use social media contests and giveaways to generate a UGC content quickly.
UGC campaign's performance are a great source of customer research and can help brands understand how consumers are using their products. Data should be used to optimize the marketing strategy and improve future campaigns.
User-generated content (UGC) is a powerful tool for brands looking to engage with their audience and build a loyal community. By encouraging users to create and share content, brands can tap into the creativity and authenticity of their audience, resulting in more meaningful connections and increased brand awareness.