User-Generated Content: An Intuitive Guide
Be it through micro-influencers, customer advocacy, or celebrity endorsements- the world has witnessed the rise of user-generated content on social media. Well, that isn’t surprising!
93% of the users claimed to have been influenced by user-generated content in their buying decisions over emails and search engine results. But, with the competition only reaching new heights, it is getting difficult and over-the-top expensive for brands to target the right audience.
So, how do they hit home with their marketing efforts?
Simply by leveraging user-generated content in their campaigns.
If you are keen to explore making the users’ content lucrative by putting it to optimal use, make your way through this intuitive UGC Guide.
What Is User-Generated Content ?
User-Generated Content or UGC is any content-text, videos, images, blogs, testimonials, etc., created by the people for the people.
Venture Capitalist John Doerr said, “The next wave of the web is going to be User-Generated Content,” and it is, undeniably, turning out to be a mammoth life force in the digital world.
User-generated content has overshadowed the marketing trends that prevailed for years simply because it is willingly published by users on various online platforms, making it the most authentic, creative, reliable, and trustworthy content that you see online.
Brands are no longer promoting their brand; it is the users doing it for them. Anything you see online, including testimonials, reviews, feedback, social media content, blogs, videos, or images, is a part of users’ build-up content.
Still, only 16% of the brands have an established system to effectively initiate and command UGC. If this fact took you by surprise, don’t worry, we got you! Keep reading.
How Is UGC Marketing More Effective Than Traditional Marketing?
There used to be a time when consumers would easily get influenced by unrealistic advertisements showing fake scenarios, with paid models posing in front of studio lights. But as we move ahead in time, consumer behaviour has shifted towards seeking more authentic and raw content.
Now, consumers more actively interact with brands on social media and ask for transparency over made-up scenarios. With the traditional ads, you just become a part of the crowded ads that your prospects generally skip.
If you want your audience to react and get inspired by your campaigns, the user-generated content can help you to stand out. Besides, UGC also instils social proof in your audience, encouraging more UGC and offering you more content for your marketing.
Why Should Brands Consider Incorporating UGC?
It Is Authentic
User-generated content offers brand credibility a much sought-after boost, as users are 2.4 times more likely to consider UGC trustworthy than brand-generated content.
Generating authenticity in the users’ minds has become vitally important as it is the only thing that is helping brands stay ahead of the curve.
Moreover, it also has a role to play in the purchase decisions of the buyers as 86% of them, especially Millennials and GenZers, take account of it in their future purchases.
Customers Become Brand Advocates
When brands incorporate user-generated content into their marketing campaigns, their customers become their faces. When these customers come across the UGC campaigns and see their faces, they are impressed and turn into the brand’s loyal customers.
If you incorporate UGC in your campaigns, your customers would always choose you among the competitors and recommend you to their friends and family members.
Not only that, they would never feel hesitant to create more user-generated content for you.
Users trust faces more than a faceless brand; be it a product, service, or experience; modern consumers want to have a brief knowledge of what they seek out.
More than 90% of your consumers trust brands that include UGC in their marketing campaigns. Consumer-generated content is unsponsored content that creates an image of the brand in the viewers’ minds, who look forward to knowing more about the brand, exploring its products and the users’ experience with it.
Gathering more and more users’ trust is the marketing holy grail that brands are constantly digging for. Here, leveraging consumer-generated content can be the best bet.
Influences Purchase Decisions
Users’ content being credible and reliable influences the purchase decisions of the buyers making online purchases.
A striking 70% of the users take into consideration reviews and ratings before closing their purchases. At the same time, at least 41% of them read 4 to 7 reviews to know the product better.
UGC attracts, dominates, and converts audiences simply by turning their point of interest into inspiration and sales.
Cost-effective Way Of Marketing
Imagine that you don’t have to spend huge sums of money building a creative team, producing branded content, and taking up marketing activities that cost a fortune; how cost-effective will that be?
User-generated content is abundant, and brands don’t have to run wild extensively looking out for it. Users produce content using brand-exclusive hashtags, mentions, handles, etc.; this can be collected and repurposed for marketing without incurring a penny.
Brands, irrespective of the industry they cater to, have been cutting an edge concerning the marketing costs by resourcing consumer-generated content.
Users look up to brands that showcase their human side and have a narrative. They can connect better and become loyal to them.
Those days when pushy sales could do the trick are history now! Being unique, creative, and emotive is what inclines users now.
When brands show UGC on social ads and across other marketing touchpoints, they make their users play protagonists, making way for a colossal reach.
Users share their experiences with others, which sparks their attention and makes them want to be a part of the brand’s journey, improving its social standing.
What Are The Different Ways UGC Is Created?
Users’ content is an umbrella term under which different types of content fall. Below are a few important bifurcations.
Content Generated On Social Media
Social media is influential, as 58.11% of the world’s population uses it. Any content that is produced on social media has the power to influence the minds of many users.
There is a plethora of content created and shared on social media by people. Amongst these, any user’s content promoting your brand is UGC for you.
Furthermore, the users’ behaviour has undergone a massive shift. They are predominantly active in seeking inspiration for products to introduce online. Here, strategically placing consumer-generated content must be your first choice to attract them.
Social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube enable brands to generate the content generated by the customers. It helps brands to unfold layers of the market while boosting audience engagement.
Testimonials Or Reviews
Another popular type of user-generated content is customer reviews. They act as a brand’s advocates and create its hype through word-of-mouth marketing.
According to statistics, 92% of the online shoppers’ run-through reviews given by the existing users of the brand before making their purchase decisions. By showcasing testimonials and reviews, brands can create credibility in their minds and let them understand the brand’s deliverables without visiting the store physically.
Further, this system gives customers a space to share their appraisals and opinions about the brand, which helps brands improve and sell more of those products that the users like the most.
Social media platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook are aesthetically pleasing visual platforms. The compelling visual content created on these sites motivates users to scroll, explore more, and consume a wide variety of content.
93% of the marketers claimed to have landed upon a new customer because of video content posted on social media.
User-generated video content like unboxing, in-depth reviews of products, etc., fetches better viewer attention and favours brand awareness.
Also, videos are better perceived by the audience and give them a better insight into your brand, which further stimulates them to know more.
Hashtag campaigns have revolutionized social media marketing. They are instrumental in fetching user engagement, participation, building brand awareness, and exponentially increasing its reach.
The brand exclusively creates hashtags to inspire its audience into content creation, targeting greater leads and conversions.
Through these campaigns, users create content for the brand, which is utilized to enhance their marketing efforts across different touchpoints.
Interestingly, 86% of the companies today are leveraging UGC as a part of their marketing strategy, making it indispensable for marketers to brainstorm and come up with unique hashtag campaigns that further ignite users’ participation.
Also Read – User-Generated Content Facts And Stats
Influencers are playing a major role in redirecting consumers’ lifestyle decisions towards the brands they promote. With the power influencers hold, you can utilize this power to encourage your audience to create UGC for you.
It is exactly what Daniel Wellington did and successfully generated more than 800k photos and videos on Instagram. When you get many influencers to create high-quality content, you prompt other users to do the same.
DW gave specific instructions to the creators on what kind of content they would like to see. Being specific will help you in receiving better content.
How Can You Capitalize On User-Generated Content?
Producing UGC solely isn’t enough; brands need to do more in order to maximize their marketing efforts and realize their goals pertaining to UGC. Further, it is worth noting that social media boasts more than 3.96B active users; being a colossal figure, it is indicative of huge amounts of UGC that is created.
Aggregation, here, is the elementary challenge, the latter being relevancy. Therefore, formulating strategies that can, in a real sense, help brands in optimally capitalizing on UGC is non-negotiable. Below are a few ways in which brands can do it.
1. Showcase It On Your Website
UGC being authentic, unique, diverse, and vibrant can potentially alter the impact that your website generates. It speaks for the brand and enhances user engagement, brand awareness, credibility while also indirectly improving the website’s ranking in search engine results.
But, since social media platforms facilitate boundless content creation, it can get rather difficult to run through each post and select some specific ones to embed on the website.
Here, using an aggregator tool can tone down your labour. As it effortlessly collects and curates your feed, enabling your website to gather unparalleled attraction.
Furthermore, your website plays an instrumental role in creating the first impression in the minds of the visitors. Embedding social media feeds that can work as your brand’s advocate can be your front-runner.
2. Make It Shoppable
By making your user-created content shoppable, brands can enhance users’ experience by curtailing down their purchase journey into a few simple steps.
It has become the need of the hour because buyers are looking out for faster and efficient processes. By providing them with a two-step check-out, brands stand a chance to amplify their sales.
Further, the emergence of social commerce has been motivating people to explore more products that they can incorporate into their lives, and with UGC made shoppable, brands can easily turn users’ points of attraction into sales.
Mum & Daughter, a clothing brand, increased their conversions by 186% and their average order value by 58% through shoppable UGC and shoppable Instagram galleries on their website.
3. Display It At Live/Virtual Events
There is nothing like user-created content when it comes to fetching your audience’s attention in live or virtual events. It encourages people to be participative by creating and posting content on social media mentioning the event to get featured on the digital screens.
This attracts the audience and keeps them hooked throughout the event while simultaneously working on your reach and brand awareness.
Further, it is not easy to hold onto the attendees’ curiosity throughout the event. But this becomes convincingly possible with social walls inclusive of UGC, customized in a way that it appeals.
So, can there be a better way to keep your audience entertained? We doubt!
4. Integrate It On Digital Signage Displays
The digital signage industry is growing at a rapid rate. More and more businesses, irrespective of their niche, are opening up to installing it at their premise so as to bridge the gap of communication, gain trust and enhance viewers attention, engagement and conversion.
Amidst the rise in competition, digital signage displays are becoming a potent strategy to attain a stand-out position in the market.
Incorporating UGC on digital signage displays can attract, influence and inspire the viewers like a charm.
Showcasing what your users are saying about your business can generate excitement and initiate interactions.
5. Repost It On Your Social Handle
Reposting is a great way to make your customers feel valued for their contributions while also enhancing credibility and curiosity.
User-generated content is a key part of social media marketing strategy that has been leveraged by brands like National Geographic, River Island, GoPro, IKEA, Samsung, etc.
But to be able to use this content, it is rather important to give the creator or the owner of the content credits and ask permission before you make use of it in any form.
Reposting has legalities involved, taking care of which is non-negotiable as it is considered a violation of IP if practised avoiding compliance from the creator of the content.
How To Turn Customers Into Brand Advocates?
Choose The Right Social Media Platform
If you want to turn your customers into your brand advocates, the foremost thing is to reach where they reside. With so many social media platforms, you must identify the one where you will find a maximum number of your customers, as only that would help you to maximize the outcome of your efforts.
While Facebook is a blend of text and visual content, Instagram users focus upon creating vibrant visuals. Besides, according to a Pew Research study of Americans, Instagram is the most popular app among 18 to 24-year-olds. With such complex user distribution, identify the platform that’s ideal for your brand and start your result-driven UGC campaigning.
Create A Sense Of Community
When shoppers experience a sense of loyalty for any particular brand-thanks to its image, associations, credibility in deliverables, or any other kind of fandom-they feel a part of something that overrides your average brand-user relationship. But the question that comes here is, how do you build a trustworthy relationship with your customers and foster community building among them? Simply by humanizing your brand.
When you give your customers a voice, you give them a bigger reason to love your brand, and by sharing this voice, you make them a part of you. UGC being emotive, showcases brand value and story in and out. It forges authenticity, enhances communication through channels like social media, makes the potential customers want to know you better, and come back to you.
Focus More On Customer Retention
UGC is created by customers who have an emotional connection with a brand. If you want your customers to create user-generated content for your brand, you must offer them constant customer engagement and interaction.
User-generated content will act as a magnet for your audience that will attract them, inspire them, and encourage them to keep coming back to engage with your content. User-generated content also helps in social listening. When your customers share their experience with your brand, you get to learn where you are lacking, improve and serve your customers better.
The User-Generated Content Challenges Faced By Brands
Maintain A Constant Flow Of Content
The major obstacle faced by brands who incorporate user-generated content into their marketing strategies has to be to gain a constant flow of content so that the brand has an ample amount of content they can market to satisfy the visual appetite of the audience.
There are many ways to overcome this. Firstly, with the power of social proof. When you leverage UGC across your marketing touchpoints, it creates a bandwagon effect among your audiences when they see people like them becoming the voice of your brand. It encourages them to create content for you.
Another way is by creating hashtag campaigns on social media. Hashtag campaigns or contests allow brands to give their audiences basic guidelines on the kind of content they want them to create. Not just that, it also allows brands to amplify their branded hashtag and create a constant flow of user-generated content for the brand.
Gaining User-Generated Content Rights
When it comes to leveraging user-generated content, many brands tend to ignore the part where they have to take content rights from the content owner. It may seem minimal, but using user-generated content without the users’ permission can get the brand under a lawsuit.
But when one leverages UGC across marketing touchpoints, gaining user rights from each content owner can be a little challenging. That’s when you need user-generated content rights software that helps you to seamlessly fetch content rights from multiple content owners and incorporate UGC more confidently.
Quality & Relevancy Of The Content
When it comes to user-generated content, you know it is created by different people who have their way of expressing themselves, and one cannot expect high quality and relevant content from each user. So, maintaining the quality of the content to streamline successful marketing campaigns become challenging.
So, how does one overcome that challenge? The best way to do so is by choosing a social media aggregator tool that comes with a content moderation tool that will bring all the relevant user-generated content in one place and filter out the irrelevant or repeated content to maintain the quality of the collection of your UGC.
UGC Best Practices
To achieve the best with UGC, being in line with these five key aspects is essential.
Always Ask For Permission
Repurposing UGC has legalities involved. If you haven’t ever considered it, possibilities of inviting unnecessary legal trouble is for real.
Undeniably, hashtag campaigns are a great way to inspire people’s participation, and they might also do so without knowing of it being tied to your brand’s UGC campaign.
To let users play advocates for you, gain rights of using the content created by them to your advantage.
Hence, before resharing their produced posts, make sure that you have an explicit permission to do so. Otherwise, you certainly would end up killing goodwill and putting out some of your best advocates.
Give Credits To The Creator
When you share content generated by your users, make sure that you give them clear credits. This is important to ensure that your users are excited to use and talk about your brand through their generated content. Added benefits? Giving potential users a reliable face that verifies your brand.
Moreover, giving credits is essential as a practice because it generates satisfaction in the minds of the creators about their work being appreciated and will be further inspired to create more content that speaks of you.
Hence, tag your users and give them credits wherever due.
Encourage Content Creation
According to statistics, social media posts that incorporate UGC significantly drive more engagement than content of other types.
Hence, by encouraging more people to participate in content creation, brands stand a chance to better attract potential customers, as any visual UGC content is way more impactful than brand-generated content.
Further, content creation fosters authenticity, which eases the marketing efforts of the brand. But, in order to achieve this, brands can reach out to people on social media, give away their products for free, ask users’ to introduce them for a couple of days and share their honest feedback.
Simultaneously, asking for visual reviews and testimonials apart from the organic creation of UGC can be a great way to push more people to participate.
Streamline Your Search Of UGC
With billions of people using social media platforms and an unimaginable amount of Content created, it is indeed difficult to streamline your search for relevant UGC.
Users’ across the globe not only use brand-generated hashtags to share content but also tag and mention social media handles of brands. Keeping track of this UGC is in itself a wearing out task.
Further to which a manual process of moderation can probably make anybody feel fatigued. Here, the role of social media aggregator tools is pressing.
They are not only effortless and cost-efficient but also greatly assist brands in maximizing their UGC.
Improved UGC Curation With Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning are gradually taking over the world, making things more fluid for the masses. But, how does AI & ML work? While AI imitates human roles enabling software to perform human tasks, ML is an AI application that grows and improves over time by acquiring knowledge and learning algorithms through data.
Get on board with AI and machine learning to save your time and gain access to maximum user-generated content. AI helps brands to have a quick scan across the collected UGC, reads audience behavior, and makes recommendations on what will work best for your prospects.
When you incorporate user-generated content as a major part of your marketing, you need an intelligent assistant that will make things easier for you, and what could be better than AI?
User-Generated Content & Influencer Marketing
Some may perceive that influencer marketing and user-generated content marketing are two different entities. But if you strategically put them together, they can leverage optimum results for your brand.
Many brands connect with micro-influencers who have followers around 1500, but they have created strong relationships with their audiences as per their high engagement rate. These organic influencers can encourage their followers to try your products with the power of their content.
Not just that, these influencers can create social proof among their audience and encourage them to create user-generated content for your brand.
Find Your Inspiration From Other Brands
A guide without examples is like pita bread without falafel. Well, yes, that’s disappointing! Head up to the last part of the blog to learn from some stand-out examples of brands that made UGC lucrative and how you can do it too with Taggbox.
Daniel Wellington strategically leveraged a blend of influencer marketing and user-generated content to build their brand’s identity and reach millions of consumers online who might not have otherwise known the brand.
As a part of their approach they:
- Laid focus on developing a brand story that would attract and inspire the audiences,
- gave away the product free of cost to the shortlisted influencers in efforts to promote their product, and
- curated an exclusive hashtag for the brand #danielwellington to prompt social media users to create and post content showcasing their products
- The best UGC content is then selected to repost Daniel Wellington’s Instagram account with the #DWpickoftheday
The hashtag campaign potentially generated more than 800K Instagram photos and videos, its account followers grew from 850K to 2.1M in a year, and its profits increased by 214%.
With these figures, it won’t be wrong to configure that UGC as a part of Daniel Wellington’s marketing strategy is its ticket to be extraordinary!
Dune London, a luxury brand, introduced UGC to its product pages to inspire customers while they browse the website. They claim that this practice helped them boost their sales significantly.
Dune used to feature a part of the UGC in customer product reviews. But in a span of two weeks post embedding user and influencer content into their product detail pages, their sales grew by 82% following the shopper’s interaction with UGC.
To quote what Mark Blenkinshop, digital marketing manager at Dune London, said,” Our customers respond very well to UGC – being able to see others wearing our products gives them extra confidence to purchase.” Furthermore, he added,” This is the latest step in a wider strategy to leverage these images as well as our own beautiful lifestyle content across the web and make the products contained within photos and videos fully shoppable. Rather than asking customers to search for what they’ve seen, we’re taking them directly to it.”
Additionally, with UGC incorporated in their email marketing featuring Dune London’s ‘Your Style’ gallery saw 55% more click-throughs when compared to previous emails not featuring UGC, this drove a six-hold hike in their revenue.
Overall, the brand witnessed a 28% higher conversion rate among shoppers who engage with UGC while shopping. Talking about their average order values, they grew by 17% over the last three months.
Being the brand behind photoshop, you sure expect some eye-popping pictures on Adobe’s feed. And they most definitely deliver in that department, as they repost customer photos to foster a sense of community.
Adobe treats its users more than just data points. The brand complemented its followers in one of its posts, referring to them as Adobe’s ‘creative community.’
Appreciating people for their efforts via a repost will further motivate them to create more content.
Chipotle leverages user and employee-generated content in its marketing strategies. Their careers page highlights EGC titled #PeopleofChipotle across diverse touchpoints. Content that is produced and shared on social media by their employees is embedded in their gallery.
In their efforts to attract quality talent, Chipotle uses EGC to build trust and boost conversions by simply reposting what their existing employees have to say.
This practice also effectively reduces the efforts and costs incurred by the brands in the hiring process.
Skull Candy has a creative content marketing strategy centred around creating a visual appeal by showcasing users’ experiences and ideas. Along with this, the brand also features customer reviews on its website, and this form of user-generated content is essential to boost conversions.
Reviews given by their customers have existed for a long time on their eCommerce websites, which has been playing a leading role in generating more reviews.
Irrespective of how compelling your brand’s visuals are, leveraging UGC-like customer reviews can take your users’ experience to another level.
How Can Taggbox Help You?
Taggbox is the best UGC platform leveraged by businesses across industries to turn their marketing efforts to a new leaf. By potentially driving better engagement, reach, leads and conversions.
It aggregates content generated via different sources across 15+ social media channels in seconds, facilitates brands to filter out the content to align it with the purpose of its creation by its robust moderation panel, which can also be automated.
But just collecting isn’t enough to captivate the ‘very-specific and majorly active’ audience of today. You need more.
Customization is the ‘more’ you need. By adding differential backgrounds, fonts, themes, layouts, etc., you can enhance the look of your feed and make it appealing to the masses.
This curated feed can now be used to:
- Embed on the website
- Display on social walls in events
- Digital signage screens across industries
- Or made shoppable to enhance eCommerce’s performance of the brands.
Wait, you just can’t settle without analytics!
Taggbox also provides insightful, in-built analysis that enables brands to know the performance of the campaigns and makes changes wherever required to magnify results.
But, to be able to achieve all of this and more, UGC rights’ management is primo.
Perhaps, now, you have a sound understanding of UGC and all that you can unlock with its use. Why wait still? Reach out to us ASAP!
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