User-generated content is one of the most essential tools a brand can leverage to promote trust, authenticity, and reliability to consumers.
Consumers' trust in traditional marketing efforts is on the decline, and marketers are looking for a way to showcase their brand to appeal to a broad audience and convey their message in a way that resonates with potential buyers.
Many marketers have found that they can do that by incorporating UGC into their marketing mix.
Consumers love UGC. It helps establish trust and positively influences the buying decision, so much so that 79% of people say UGC highly impacts their purchasing decisions.
Let's dive in and discuss user-generated content. In this article, we will show you how your brand harness the power of UGC to see a massive ROI and build a community around your brand.
What Is User-Generated Content?
User-generated content, also known as UGC, is any unsolicited, unpaid, or unprompted content that a customer or a brand creates and distributes on social media.
Typically, UGC will show the customer using a product, talking about their experiencing, and championing the brand.
You have likely seen UGC all over social media. If one of your friends makes a makeup tutorial with their new favorite eyeshadow palette, they're creating UGC.
If an influencer you see talks about how much a certain facewash has cleared up their acne, they're making UGC.
UGC gives brands a distinct advantage over the competition as they can highlight everyday people using their products. As a result, potential customers can see themselves in the products and relate to the user, influencing buying decisions.
UGC always comes off as more genuine and authentic to the end consumer.
What Are the Different Types of UGC
Your community can create many different types of UGC, each type bringing its own rich benefits!
Here are a few of the most common types of UGC:
- Social media content - Instagram TikTok, Twitter, and Facebook
- Reviews and testimonials - On your website, on social media, on Google My Business
- Blog posts - Utilizing your products in blog content
- Video content - YouTube being the most significant source for this
- Branded hashtags - Your customers can create content with your products and use a specific branded hashtag in the caption, improving searchability
The Benefits of User-Generated Content
User-generated content is the key to a brand achieving authenticity. Unfortunately, this type of authenticity is hard to achieve with traditional content marketing efforts alone.
Why? Because user-generated content is a marketing channel that focuses solely on the end-user and their experience with the products.
Moreover, 55% of consumers trust UGC over other forms of marketing. That's over half of your potential customer pool!
User-generated content helps build a community around your brand, which is highly beneficial in unlocking new levels of growth and buzz.
Some of the most significant benefits of UGC include:
A brand can rave about the benefits of their product all day long, but in the end, most consumers will trust the word of a friend over the marketing efforts of a brand! That's why UGC helps your brand show up authentically.
Influence Purchasing Decision
Here's a great example of how UGC can influence the buying decision of a potential customer on the fence.
If a person finds a cute pair of pants jeans online, all of the models on the website have a different body type than the potential customer.
Now, if this person was able to find UGC of a happy customer of the brand who has the same body type as them, they will be able to incision themself in the jeans.
Thus, deciding to purchase is easy since they can assess if the purchase will be worth it or not.
Generate More Brand Buzz
You want more people talking about your brand on social channels, and UGC helps provide that. With UGC, your most loyal customers will be talking about you on social media and helping generate more buzz.
More buzz will lead to more followers, site visits, and people interacting with your content and sales.
Builds Trust and Credibility
Today's modern consumers will scour the internet looking for reviews and indicators that a brand or service provider is trustworthy and the best bang for their buck.
I'm sure you have done it too! But, have you ever sat and read review after review of restaurants in your area until you found the best place to go?
UGC can work as reviews for your brand. It will help build trust and credibility.
Who wouldn't trust a brand that had generated hundreds and thousands of pieces of UGC? That's thousands of raving reviews! All building credibility and trust that you are a legitimate brand worth whose products are worth purchasing.
Rankability and Searchability
UGC is great for boosting social optimization. Having a steady stream of new content is excellent for ranking higher and increasing your searchability.
The more tagged content you have on social channels, the more opportunities you will be given to show up in the feeds of potential customers.
Plus, it is excellent for increased engagement. With the help of UGC, your brand will see more comments, likes, shares, and saves, which will aid in gaining more exposure with social media algorithms.
Best Types of UGC
There are many different types of UGC you can ask your community to create. However, a few kinds of UGC are sticky with consumers, and that your brand should focus on generating.
- Product reviews
- Influencer and ambassador posts
How to Earn More UGC
Create Measurable Goals for each UGC Campaign
You will want to set SMART goals and metrics for each UGC campaign you start with any marketing strategy.
Establishing vital KPIs will help you measure the success of your campaign and find out what resonates best with your audience.
A few KPI examples include:
- Increase in followers
- More sales
- More affiliate code usage
- Higher conversions
- Increased website traffic
- More UGC
Start an Ambassador Program
An ambassador program is a highly surefire way to generate more user-generated content. With ambassadors, you can bring your most active customers into one place, give them challenges and activities for creating UGC, and reward them with points or commission.
Brands that start an ambassador program have the unique opportunity to work directly with their customers and incentive them to produce more content.
Brands can generate upwards of 500+ pieces of content per month with the help of brand ambassadors!
Starting an ambassador program is a great way to enlist the help of your biggest advocates and grow alongside them in the process!
Focus on Your Most Robust Social Channels
Many brands start UGC campaigns. These campaigns will have a specific goal and purpose, and they will ask their customers to help them generate more content and buzz on socials.
If you're going to embark on a UGC campaign, it's crucial to find where your audience is most active and capitalize on that opportunity.
Different types of content will be better on different types of platforms as well. You will need to decide which platform is best for your campaign.
Twitter will offer different benefits than Instagram.
The content that your audience will create will look different on each platform. For example, TikTok and IG content will have a different effect than YouTube content.
Incorporate UGC Into Your Marketing
Many brands have found wild success incorporating the UGC their customers make into their marketing efforts. Whether on your social channels or directly on your website, incorporating UGC will influence the buying decision.
Below, you can see a promising review from an Aerie customer. The review is favorable, and they even incorporated images of them in the product.
Potential purchasers can see the customer's height and weight and assess if the leggings would be a good match for them!
Plus, your customers will love that their favorite brand saw their efforts and made a point to feature them in their marketing!
Build a Community Around Your Brand
UGC and community go hand in hand. If you build a community around your brand, you will be able to unlock the potential of a group of passionate and link-minded people that willing and eager to make content for your brand.
One of the best ways to build a community around your brand is to think about what ethos is at your brand's core.
Maybe it's sustainability, climate action, clean ingredients, or mental health. Whatever it is, build a community around your ethos, with your product at the center.
Some of the most successful brands that collect the most UGC from their consumers sell a community over a product.
Strive to Obtain Authentic Content
Consumers want to purchase from authentic brands. 90% of consumers say authenticity is important when deciding which brands they will purchase.
One way to showcase your brand's authenticity is to utilize UGC. So strive to collect UGC that is authentic.
Many consumers are skeptical if a brand will live up to its promise. However, you can bridge the cap and put their minds at ease by showcasing content that feels genuine and approachable.
Start Contents, Trends, and Incentivize Them to Participate
Creating contests and trends is a great strategy to incentivize your community to participate in your next UGC campaign.
Creating content should be fun, so think of ways to spark excitement and increase engagement.
Rewarding your community for their efforts is a great way to show that you appreciate them. Think of unique ways to incentivize your community to participate.
Think of discounts, free products, or unique experiences to get them excited about participating.
Communicate with Your Audience about What Type of Content They Should Generate
Your customers can't read your mind. They have no idea what you would like to see from them.
Without being prompted, they will make the content they enjoy making.
If you don't communicate with your audience, how will they know what to create?
More than 50% of consumers wish brands would tell them the types of content to create and share.
So be intentional with your UGC campaigns. Be specific on what deliverables you want your customers to produce.
Ask your community and customers to make the content you want to highlight! Going off of the point above, you can do this by incorporating a challenge, trend, or activity.
After a customer makes a purchase, send a follow-up email and detail the kind of UGC you would like them to make!
Ready to turn your customers into your thriving crew of brand ambassadors? If so, watch the epic CrewFire demo video or get in touch with us to learn how you can drive more referrals, word-of-mouth, and user-generated content for your Shopify store.
Get in touch w/ Rony (CEO - CrewFire)