User-Generated Content and How to Incorporate It Into Your Marketing Strategy

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What is user-generated content?

User-generated content (UGC) is any type of content created by users of an online platform, such as comments, reviews, photos, videos, or other forms of media. It is often seen as more genuine and relatable than content created by brands. UGC has become increasingly popular for businesses looking to engage with their customers and build relationships. UGC can be used to increase brand visibility, encourage user interaction, and provide valuable feedback.

Where does UGC come from?

Think about all of the videos you come across on TikTok where someone is opening a package, testing something out, or sharing their praise. This is all content that a business could reshare on their social media channels. Your customers would be one group that you could gather UGC from, whether you have decided to ask for it or if they are organically sharing it out.

Fans or advocates of your brand would be an ideal group to reach out to if you are looking for user-generated content. This loyal group would be the frontline for advocating for your brand and for any products.

Content created by your employees can give an inside look into your brand and help to share a deeper story. A behind-the-scenes look into packing orders, creating materials, or just a look at how you operate is a great way to establish brand identity. It allows your customers to feel closer to the brand.

Why is user-generated content important?

User-generated content is used across the board during a buyer’s journey to help influence engagement and encourage conversions. It takes authenticity to the next level. Buyers are selective and authenticity is an important element of successful content. 93% of marketers agree that consumers are more likely to trust content that has been created by customers as opposed to content created by the brands themselves.

UGC is an incredibly important part of any successful online presence. This content gives users a chance to engage with your brand and add their own unique perspective. It can also help to build trust with your audience, as it shows that you value their input and feedback. Additionally, UGC can help to increase search engine rankings, as it provides fresh, relevant, and engaging content for both search engine crawlers and users. Finally, it increases your visibility among potential customers, which can ultimately lead to more sales.

What not to do with user-generated content

Many times, brands will take content from consumers and not give them proper credit or form a mutual understanding or agreement with content creators. It should be common practice in your company to reach out and ask if you can share their content, ensure you are tagging them, and crediting them for all of their hard work. This builds trust and creates more mutually beneficial relationships with creators, which may then encourage them to create more content for your brand.

Get the most out of user-generated content

  1. Make it easy for users to share by geotagging your location and including the hashtags that you’d like them to use.
  2. Encourage users to share out content by offering incentives such as a discount or recognition.
  3. Engage with users by thanking them for sharing their content and their experience and responding to questions and comments.
  4. Leverage UGC in your advertising efforts and campaigns by using photos, videos, or quotes.

Set specific content goals

Similar to your other marketing strategy goals, your UGC plan should have clear and defined set goals in order to be successful. Sure, UGC should be a more randomized and fun strategy, but you can really capitalize on this content and build it out to be a major part of your strategy.

What are the major content goals set by marketers?

  • Higher brand engagement — While everyone wants more likes, setting engagement as a goal is a great initiative for user-generated campaigns. Influencers tend to trigger conversation with their content because they’re trusted and seen as more “real.” They also expose your brand to a larger pool of viewers, which tends to generate more questions and comments.
  • Building brand awareness and trust — There’s no better way to build awareness than getting people on the street (or, in this case, social media!) to talk about your company. Consumers love to talk up a great new product or business they’ve “found,” and their followers tend to trust what they say if it’s done in an organic, natural way. In fact, 84% of respondents in one study say they’re more likely to trust a brand that uses UGC.
  • Increased conversion rates — Consumers will be more likely to convert when they experience genuine UGC because we trust our friends and others in our social circles. When real people are commenting favorably on a brand, it spurs greater conversions. In one study, 77% of respondents say that UGC makes them more inclined to purchase.
  • Save time on content creation — Planning, creating, and scheduling social media content takes a lot of time. By encouraging UGC and incorporating it into your posting, you can spend more time interacting with your valued customers. Even better? This content will likely see more conversions and engagement, so it’s a win-win!

Tell your audience what content you want

Don’t make your audience guess! They’ll never know that you’re interested in UGC if you don’t tell them. Asking for this content is an important step in your UGC strategy. But don’t be vague. Tell them (in a friendly, low-pressure way, of course) what you’re looking for and why. Maybe you’re asking them for photos interacting with your product in a certain way. Maybe it’s a video demonstrating how they use your product in their daily life. Maybe you’re running a like and share contest. Whatever it is you need from your audience, make it easy by providing all the details. Be thorough but clear and brief. Don’t forget to list out any hashtags you want them to use and any businesses you’d like them to tag (including your own!).

Connect with Stellaractive

Stellaractive is a strategy-driven creative agency in Portland, Oregon. We help companies elevate their brand through websites, print, branding, and digital marketing solutions that connect, engage, inform, and inspire. We’ve been helping clients across the U.S. build their online presence for more than 15 years, and we can help you, too. Request a quote or call us at 503-384-2413 today!