User-generated content

A Marketers Guide To User-Generated Content

21 minute read

The internet revolution not only brought people from across the globe together but also created a sense of trust among fellow internet users, reflecting on how they interact with brands. Today, we see the rise of user-generated content on social media, where over 93% of consumers claimed to have been influenced by UGC in their buying decisions.

But, with the competition only reaching new heights, it is getting challenging 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 means any content-text, videos, images, blogs, testimonials, etc., created by the people for the people. 

Venture Capitalist John Doerr defines user-generated content as the next wave of the web, undeniably, turning out to be a mammoth life force in the digital world. 

user-generated content

User-generated content (UGC) has taken over every marketing trend because it is willingly published by users on various online platforms, making it the most authentic, creative, reliable, and trustworthy content you see online.

Brands are no longer promoting their brand; it is the users doing it for them. So anything you see online, including testimonials, reviews, feedback, social media content, blogs, videos, or images, is a part of users’ build-up content.

Types Of User-Generated Content

User-generated content is an umbrella term under which different types of content fall. Below are a few essential ones.

  • User-Generated Image Content

Social media platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook are aesthetically pleasing photography platforms. The compelling photographs posted on these sites motivate users to scroll, explore more, and consume a wide variety of content. This also opens up an opportunity for brands to collect user-generated photos from these platforms.

  • User-Generated Video Content

User-generated video content like unboxing, in-depth reviews of products, etc., fetches better viewer attention. Also, videos are better perceived by the audience and give them a better insight into your brand, further stimulating them to know more.

user generated content marketing

93% of the marketers claimed to have landed upon a new customer because of video content posted on social media. Also, videos are better perceived by the audience and give them a better insight into your brand, which further stimulates them to know more.

  • User-Generated Reviews/Testimonials

Another popular type of user-generated content is customer reviews. They act as a brand’s advocate and create hype through word-of-mouth marketing.

user-generated content
Customer Reviews On Website

According to statistics, 92% of online shoppers’ run-through reviews are given by existing brand users before making their purchase decisions. Reviews help brands improve and sell more of those products that the users like the most. 

Also Read – Best Types of User-Generated Content For Marketing

Why Should Brands Consider UGC In Their Omnichannel Marketing?

As the world of marketing goes under a paradigm shift, here is your answer to why user-generated content is so important that it stands out.

User-Generated Content Marketing Is More Effective

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 now, consumer behaviour has shifted towards seeking more authentic and raw content. 

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, 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.

User-Generated Content Is Authentic

User-generated content boosts brand credibility. However, users are 2.4 times more likely to consider UGC trustworthy than brand-generated content. So, be it a product, service, or experience, modern consumers want to have true knowledge of what they seek out.

More than 90% of your consumer’s 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. 

UGC Promotes Brand Advocacy

When brands incorporate user-generated content into their marketing campaigns, their customers become the face of their brand. When these customers come across these UGC campaigns, they identify more with the brand and become loyalists.

importance of ugc

Incorporating user-generated content in your campaigns will create social proof among your customers, who will 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.

User-Generated Content Influences Purchase Decisions

Users’ credible and reliable content influences the purchase decisions of the buyers making online purchases. 

A striking 70% of users consider 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.

UGC Is A Cost-effective Way Of Marketing

Imagine that you don’t have to spend vast 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?

Doritos #Burnselfie UGC Campaign

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. As a result, brands, irrespective of their industry, have been cutting an edge concerning marketing costs by resourcing consumer-generated content. 

User-Generated Content Evokes Emotions

Users look up to brands that showcase their human side and have a narrative. As a result, they can connect better and become loyal to them. Those days when pushy sales could do the trick are history now! Instead, being unique, creative, and emotive is what inclines users now. User-generated content gives a very accurate representation of the brand to its customers. This representation has a 70% better chance of impacting the viewers than any other form of a traditional ad. Now, this impact is what persuades your audience or buyer to take action.

Nike hashtag campaign

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. 

importance of user generated content

How To Create Successful UGC Campaigns

UGC campaigns are diverse and unique for each brand. Here are some easy steps to create a memorable and robust UGC campaign. 

Step 1: Choose social networks most impactful to your campaign 

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 on 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 ideal platform for your brand and start your result-driven UGC campaign.

Step 2: Setup Your UGC Campaign Goals

Once you have chosen your user-generated content campaign source, it’s time to finalise your marketing goals. Whether running a hashtag campaign or an influencer campaign, the idea is to increase your UGC campaign’s visibility, which can be done by publishing it on the marketing touchpoint where you interact with your audience the most or where you want your audience to interact with you. 

You can publish your user-generated content campaign gallery on your website, email campaigns, digital signages, social ads, print media, etc. Your goal can be to bring more traffic to your website or improve the performance of your email campaigns. It all becomes possible with UGC. 

Step 3: Collaborate and focus on community building

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 part of something that overrides your average brand-user relationship. But the question 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 more significant 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 potential customers want to know you better, and comes back to you.

Step 4: Analyze & Measure Your UGC Campaign Efforts

Now that you have followed all the steps to create a successful user-generated content (UGC) campaign, it’s time to track the performance and measure the success of your UGC campaign. There are many key performance indicators or KPIs to measure the success of your UGC campaign, and it varies from brand to brand and the marketing touchpoint where you have incorporated your rich user-generated content.

For websites, the KPIs can be the traffic, dwell time and bounce rate. For emails, it can be the click-through rate. For eCommerce brands, it can be the cart abandonment rate, the conversion rate and so on.

7 User-Generated Content Campaign Best Practices

To achieve the best with user-generated content, aligning with these key aspects is essential. 

1. Gaining User-Generated Content Rights

When leveraging user-generated content, many brands ignore the part where they must 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. 

User-generated content rights

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 seamlessly fetch content rights from multiple content owners and incorporate UGC more confidently.

2. Give Credits To The Creator

When you share content generated by your users, ensure you give clear credits. It is essential to ensure that your users are excited to use and talk about your brand. Added benefits? Give potential users a reliable face that verifies your brand. 

ugc user generated content

Moreover, giving credit is essential as a practice because it generates satisfaction in the creators’ minds 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.

3. Encourage Content Creation

According to statistics, social media posts incorporating user-generated content meaning significantly drive more engagement than the content of other types. Hence, by encouraging more people to participate in content creation, brands stand a chance to attract potential customers, as any visual UGC content is way more impactful than brand-generated content. 

Further, content creation fosters authenticity, which eases the brand’s marketing efforts. But, 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. 

4. Streamline Your Search For UGC

With billions of people using social media platforms and creating an unimaginable amount of content, it is difficult to streamline your search for relevant UGC. In addition, users across the globe use brand-generated hashtags to share content and tag and mention the social media handles of brands. Therefore, keeping track of this UGC is in itself a wearing-out task. 

Further to this, 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. 

5. 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 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 significant part of your marketing, you need an intelligent assistant to make things easier. So what could be better than AI?

6. Maintain A Constant Flow Of Content

The major obstacle faced by brands who incorporate user-generated content into their marketing strategies must be to gain a constant flow of content so that the brand has ample 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 your brand’s voice. 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. It also allows brands to amplify their branded hashtag and create a constant flow of user-generated content for the brand.

7. 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. Therefore, 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 with a content moderation tool that will bring all the relevant user-generated content to one place and filter out the irrelevant or repeated content to maintain the quality of the collection of your UGC.

How Do Brands Incorporate UGC In Marketing (Brand Examples)

Solely producing UGC isn’t enough; brands must maximize their marketing efforts and realize their UGC goals. Further, it is worth noting that social media boasts more than 3.96B active users, which is a colossal figure. Therefore, it indicates vast amounts of UGC created. 

Aggregation, here, is the elementary challenge, the latter being relevancy. Therefore, formulating strategies that can, in a real sense, help brands optimally capitalise on UGC is non-negotiable. Below are a few ways in which brands can do it.

1. Showcase It On Your Website

UGC’s authentic, unique, diverse, and vibrant can alter your website’s impact. It speaks for the brand and enhances user engagement, awareness, and credibility while 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. 

benefits of user generated content
Perch & Parrow Showcasing Authentic UGC Posts On Homepage

Here, using an aggregator tool can tone down your labour. As it effortlessly collects and curates your feed, your website can gather unparalleled attraction. Furthermore, your website plays an instrumental role in creating the first impression. Embed feeds that work as your brand’s advocate can be your front-runner. 

For example, Skull Candy’s 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, leading to more reviews. Leveraging UGC-like customer reviews can take your users’ experience to another level regardless of how compelling your brand’s visuals are.

2. Make It Shoppable

By making your user-created content shoppable, brands can enhance users’ experience by curtailing their purchase journey into a few simple steps. 

It has become the need of the hour because buyers are looking out for faster and more efficient processes. By providing them with a two-step check-out, brands stand a chance to amplify their sales. 

ugc content

Further, the emergence of social commerce has motivated people to explore more products they can incorporate into their lives. With UGC-made shoppable, brands can easily turn users’ points of attraction into sales.

For example, Mum & Daughter, a clothing brand, increased its conversions by 186% and its average order value by 58% through shoppable UGC and shoppable Instagram galleries on its website. 

3. Display It At Live/Virtual Events

Nothing like user-created content when 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 digital screens. 

This attracts the audience and keeps them hooked throughout the event while simultaneously working on your reach and brand awareness. Further, holding onto the attendees’ curiosity throughout the event is difficult. But this becomes convincingly possible with social walls, including UGC, customized in a way that appeals to them.

So, can there be a better way to keep your audience entertained? We doubt! 

4. Integrate It On Digital Signage

The digital signage industry is growing at a rapid rate. As a result, more and more businesses, irrespective of their niche, are opening up to installing it on their premise to bridge the communication gap, gain trust and enhance viewers’ attention, engagement and conversion. 

ugc content

Amidst the rise in competition, digital signage displays are becoming a powerful 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 say about your business can generate excitement and initiate interactions.

Must Read: How Can UGC Be The Best Events Marketing Strategy?

5. Repost It On Social Handles

Reposting is a great way to make customers feel valued for their contributions while enhancing credibility and curiosity. 

User-generated content is a key part of social media marketing strategy leveraged by brands like National Geographic, River Island, GoPro, IKEA, Samsung, etc.

benefits of user generated content

But to use this content, it is essential to give the creator or the owner of the content credits and ask permission before you use it in any form. 

Reposting involves legalities, which is non-negotiable as it is considered a violation of IP if practised avoiding compliance from the content creator. 

For example, Adobe is the brand behind photoshop. So, 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. For example, 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 motivate them to create more content.

6. Create Robust Email Campaigns

Email campaigning is the traditional form of marketing that has been a part of digital marketing ever since we can remember. 9 out of 10 marketers use email marketing to distribute content organically. But all marketers would agree on the challenges they face to move the receivers’ attention and keep them engaged with the brand.

They can now overcome this fear by leveraging user-generated content in their email campaigning. UGC is not branded; it is created by different individuals adding their dash of individuality to each content, helping brands serve some unique visuals to the email receivers in each email.

UGC in email marketing helps brands leverage content beyond social media, fulfil the visual appetite of the users, activate abandoned carts, and improve the email engagement rate. Most importantly, create a two-way interactive flow between the brand and its audience.

Dune London UGC

Like how, Dune London incorporated UGC in their email marketing featuring their ‘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.

7. Promote Employee-Generated Content

Chipotle leverages employee-generated content in its marketing strategies. For example, their careers page highlights EGC titled #PeopleofChipotle across diverse touchpoints. Additionally, their employees’ content that is produced and shared on social media 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.

Also Read – Inspiring User-Generated Content Examples In Marketing Campaigns

How User-Generated Content (UGC) Transforms 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 with around 1500 followers, 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.

For example, 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. 

Its 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%

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 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

Taggbox Is The Ultimate UGC Marketing Tool: Here’s Why

Taggbox is the best UGC platform leveraged by businesses across industries to turn their marketing efforts into a new leaf. By potentially driving better engagement, reach, leads and conversions. 

It aggregates content generated via different sources across 19+ social media channels in seconds. In addition, it 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. 

ugc user generated content

But just collecting isn’t enough to captivate today’s ‘very-specific and majorly active’ audience. You need more. 

Customization is the ‘more’ you need. By adding different backgrounds, fonts, themes, layouts, etc., you can enhance the look of your feed and make it appealing to the masses. 

Users can now use this curated feed to: 

  • Embed on the website
  • Create Social Ads
  • Display on social walls in events
  • Digital signage screens across industries
  • Or make UGC shoppable to enhance eCommerce performance

Wait, you just can’t settle without analytics! 

Taggbox also provides insightful, in-built analytics that enables brands to know the performance of the campaigns and makes changes wherever required to magnify results. It also helps brands to identify their most influential contributors, opening up better collaboration possibilities with users and influencers.

Perhaps you now have a sound understanding of UGC and all that you can unlock with its use. Why wait still? Reach out to us ASAP!

Taggbox – The Best UGC Platform

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