When talking about content, you’ve likely heard the term user generated content (UGC). But, do you actually know what it is, why it’s important, and how to use it? Keep reading to learn more!
Table of contents
- What is user-generated content?
- Why is user-generated content important?
- Types of user-generated content
- Best user-generated content examples
- User-generated content tips
- Does User-Generated Content Work?
What is user-generated content?
Generated by customers/consumers, user-generated content (UGC) is a captivating type of original content created for and shared across particular brands on digital platforms. This consumer-driven material can take the form of images, videos, podcasts, reviews or testimonials – all designed to promote products/services in an authentic way.
Where does UGC content come from?
Have you ever watched an unboxing video on TikTok or noticed a post filled with praise on Instagram? Chances are your customers have either been asked to provide user-generated content (UGC) about your brand, or they’ve simply chosen to do so organically. Your customer base is often the most reliable source you can look to when it comes to gathering UGC.
Regardless of the name you choose for your most devoted customers- loyalists, advocates, or fans – this group is usually the most passionate about your business. As these ardent lovers are willing to show their appreciation and support for the brand through content creation, connecting with them can be incredibly beneficial in collecting User Generated Content (UGC).
Employee-generated content (EGC) highlights the unique value of your brand and its story. Photos of employees carefully crafting orders or a video featuring your team discussing why they enjoy working for you, this behind-the-scenes material assists in forming an identity while reinforcing authenticity across social media platforms and advertisements.
A UGC creator is a creative individual who produces sponsored content which appears to be natural, but ultimately serves the purpose of promoting and highlighting particular businesses or products. What makes their work stand out from normal organic UGC, is that it’s paid for by brands in order to emulate traditional user generated content.
Why is user-generated content important?
Utilizing User Generated Content (UGC) is an effective way to maximize engagement and conversion rates throughout the buyer’s journey. This client-focused content can be leveraged through social media, email marketing, landing pages or even checkout pages.
Takes authenticity to the next level
In the digital age, brands must compete to be noticed online; there is intense competition for viewers’ attention. Thus, buyers are more mindful of which companies they invest in and interact with—especially Gen-Z who is known to flip flop around.
Not only do customers crave content that is genuine and quality-driven, but 60% of marketers also agree on this sentiment. Without question, there isn’t a more honest form of content than User Generated Content (UGC) from your own customers!
Never be enticed to manufacture user-generated posts or campaigns as your audience will quickly detect any falsehoods, resulting in harm to your brand’s reputation. Therefore, make sure that all of the UGC comes from one of three categories: customers, loyal following or employees.
People place trust in other people’s opinions, and UGC is the modern-day equivalent of that. Encouraging users to generate content for your brand is key to increasing reliability and gaining customer loyalty.
Consumers are more likely to trust user-generated content than brand generated content, so it is essential now that businesses invest in a social marketing strategy built on authenticity. After all, studies have shown that consumers view these posts 2.4 times more authentically!
Helps establish brand loyalty and grows community
Through UGC, customers can engage with a brand and become part of its growth rather than just being an observer. This is extremely valuable for the consumer as it strengthens their loyalty to the company because people take pride in contributing towards something bigger than themselves – this creates a greater connection between them and the business itself.
User-Generated Content (UGC) creates engaging conversations between customers and brands, allowing both parties to foster a strong and vibrant community.
Leveraging user-generated content has tremendous potential to build and strengthen customer relationships, leading to a more devoted following for your brand.
Acts as a trust signal
The Fyre Festival disaster stands as a reminder of why people cannot trust marketers and advertisers. Despite the amazing marketing message that was delivered, attendees were instead greeted by unappetizing rain-soaked tents in a field with no electricity or food.
Astonishingly, only 9% of Americans have a great deal of trust in the mass media. Now more than ever, companies must strive to be seen as trustworthy. According to a survey of marketers, an overwhelming 93% concur that customers place greater faith in content generated by other users rather than creations from the brand itself. As such, embracing user-generated content is clearly the most desirable option for businesses looking to develop their credibility and trustworthiness.
Audiences rely on UGC as a trustworthy indicator just like they would ask their loved ones or professional associates for advice. More than half of millennials depend heavily on other people’s opinions when purchasing products, so this is where User Generated Content (UGC) truly stands out since it works like an individualized suggestion.
Increase conversions and influence purchasing decisions
User-generated content is instrumental in the final stages of your buyer’s journey, where you desire to persuade and influence them into making a purchase.
User-generated content (UGC) is a highly persuasive form of social proof that suggests your product deserves to be purchased. For instance, when people see others who are like them wearing or using the item in question, it motivates them to make a purchase decision.
Adaptable and flexible
With User Generated Content, businesses can develop an omnichannel approach by leveraging it in multiple marketing campaigns beyond just social media.
For instance, you could include user-generated content (UGC) images in an abandoned cart email to inspire the customer to make a purchase or introduce UGC into your main landing pages for improved conversion rates.
More cost-effective than influencer marketing
When compared to the pricey cost of hiring an influencer, asking your customers to share posts while using your product can be a lot more cost effective! With next-to-nothing costs, this small investment can pay off big in terms of customer engagement and loyalty.
Maximize your investment by incorporating UGC into your business model and introduce a new marketing strategy that won’t break the bank. Additionally, you don’t necessarily need as much expensive creative content.
Make a meaningful connection with your target audience and give them something to be thrilled about – the chance of being featured on your channel!
For smaller brands or those just starting out, user-generated content (UGC) is a frugal and straightforward approach to gaining brand recognition compared to investing in costly large-scale campaigns.
Works in harmony with social commerce
Shopping directly on your favorite social channels, also known as social commerce, is the future of online shopping. The advantage of social commerce is that you can make purchases within a social media app.
Imagine that you are browsing through Instagram and you come across a juicer that catches your attention. You click on the product to find out more and then decide to buy it. You make the purchase directly on the app – this is an example of social commerce.
UGC and social commerce complement each other since UGC has a significant impact in motivating conversions. As per a recent survey, almost 80% of individuals indicated that UGC plays a crucial role in influencing their purchase decisions. This suggests that combining user-generated content with social commerce can prove to be extremely effective.
Types of user-generated content
Social media marketers should consider utilizing UGC as a key strategy. User-generated content comes in various styles and formats, which allows one to choose the most suitable option for their brand.
- Social media content (e.g., a Tweet about your brand)
- Product reviews
- Live streams
- Blog posts
- YouTube content
Best user-generated content examples
Brands of all sizes utilize user-generated content to elevate brand recognition, boost conversions and social interaction, broaden their audience and inexpensively develop their business.
One of the things we love most about aerie is how the use real people! They are all about body positivity and that authenticity really shows through in their use of UGC.
PinkLily is another brand that does a great job of representing all body types on both their social media and website. They also do a great job of curating UGC that fits seamlessly into their feed.
Let’s face it, if you put a dog on your feed, it’s a win. And we also just love Tito’s in general!
User-generated content tips
Credit the original creator
It is important to properly credit the original creator when sharing user-generated content on social media. To do this, tag the creator in the post and specify whether you are using their words, visuals, or both. Remember to acknowledge and give credit where it is necessary.
To ensure proper credit when sharing user-generated content on different social media platforms, confirm with the creator their preferred credit method across all channels. For instance, if you intend to post an Instagram photo on Facebook, inquire from the original creator if they have a Facebook page you should tag.
Recognizing the work of content creators through proper crediting is crucial to keep them motivated in using and promoting your brand.
An additional advantage is that it allows fans and followers to easily confirm that the content was indeed produced by someone not affiliated with your company.
Be clear about what kind of content you’re looking for
UGC creators want their content to be shared – that’s why they make it! So, it’s important to be clear about what type of content you are looking for.
More than half of consumers want brands to provide specific guidelines for user-generated content, but only 16% of brands actually offer such guidelines. Therefore, it’s important for brands to be clear about their expectations and make it simple for fans to share content that aligns with their needs.
Be strategic and set goals
If you are unsure of how user-generated content fits in with your campaign strategy, it can be difficult to determine what type of content to request. Although it is enjoyable when individuals tag you in attractive photos, it is important to understand how that content can aid in achieving your marketing objectives.
To include user-generated content (UGC) in your marketing strategy, first assess your social media tactics and consider how UGC can aid your existing goals. After that, create a precise statement outlining the kind of content you plan to highlight.
To ensure your audience sees your UGC request, post it on any platform where they typically engage with your brand.
- your social channels bios,
- in other user-generated content social media posts,
- on your website,
- in your physical location,
- email campaigns
- or even on your product packaging.
To have a successful UGC strategy, it’s not enough to only know what types of content you want from your customers. You must also ensure that your UGC campaign is in line with your overall social media objectives.
Does User-Generated Content Work?
The short answer? Yes. Using UGC can improve your brand’s credibility and show appreciation to your followers, leading to increased engagement and a larger following. But, if reading this article wasn’t enough to convince you, here are some stats:
- 90% of American consumers consider User-Generated Content the most influential part of their purchase decisions.
- 87% of all search engine results consider user-generated content the second most influential element that affects a purchase decision.
- 73% of shoppers agree that UGC increases their overall purchasing confidence.
- 61% of shoppers said that UGC encourages them to engage with brands.
In the marketing industry, it has been a significant change for the better. The emphasis has shifted towards the customers and their opinions about the brand. The use of testimonials can establish trust in your brand. The approach differs greatly from conventional marketing strategies. Instead of aggressive marketing, the focus is on subtle promotion that appears more authentic.
User-Generated Content can also help in creating a community of supporters, which can give your followers a sense of belonging to a community with shared interests.
Using user-generated content (UGC) not only saves money but also adds authenticity to your marketing strategy which can help generate more content without any extra cost. So, to sum it up, UGC means better marketing and more content for less money.