How to Make the Most of User-Generated Content

June 14, 2023

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With the rise of digital technology, more and more brands are collaborating with their customer to co-create user-generated content that consumers trust and feel deeply connected to.

Read time: 7 mins.

Thanks to a Wi-Fi connection and social media, user-generated content (UGC) is on the rise, and brands are here to benefit.

Leveraging content created by fans and followers saves you time and breeds organic brand loyalty.

The reality is: the power of influence starts with only a few personal connections… Brittany tells Sarah about a new product she loves, and Sarah becomes a new cult fan of the brand.

Why is user-generated so effective?

Personal recommendations and widespread word-of-mouth are social proof. Social sharing and testimonials are how UGC adds credibility and clout to your brand.

Here’s how to use UGC to save thousands in marketing dollars, showcase your customer or client as the hero, and everything else you need to know when leveraging UGC for your next marketing campaign.

What does user-generated content mean?

User-generated content means it was created by people or “users” of the product or service, rather than the brand.

What are the advantages of consumer-generated content? By effect, UGC directly or indirectly promotes your brand.

What are some examples of user-generated content? UGC is any type of media or content (video, text, media, reviews, testimonials).

As a non-exhaustive list:

  1. Social media posts
  2. Blog posts
  3. Product reviews
  4. Videos
  5. Photos
  6. Emails
  7. Testimonials

How do I get user-generated content?

Users organically showcase brands to their audience for a number of reasons including attribution bias, social displaying, and more. This makes any type of social media platform the Shangri-La for user-generated content. Why?

Naturally, social media platforms are fuelled by personal social media posts and interactions.

Except on occasion, it also facilitates organic interactions with brands.

For a few quick ideas, you can get user-generated content by starting a branded community hashtag, building relationships with influencers, kick-off a contest, and so much more.

Are there any guidelines for using user-generated content?

Any time you’re repurposing content in any format, permissions, and obtaining consent for the use of that content should be top-of-mind.

How do you manage user-generated content?

Do some research on proper copyright usage, rights, and licenses and consult a legal professional for their expertise. There can be various layers and specifics to properly obtaining consent based on your area and intended usage purposes.

Why is user-generated content so important?

Quite simply, UGC offers a number of benefits as part of your overall marketing strategy and plan. When brands are able to highlight and leverage UGC in the right way, it can help to build trust and credibility with your audience.

To sweeten the deal, it’s also less expensive for your business! Content takes time to make as we mentioned… Letting your audience create content for you, showcases your client or customer, and allows you to reap the recurring revenue rewards of word of mouth and social networking.

What are the benefits of user-generated content?

Benefits to user-generated content can include brand credibility, deepening brand loyalty, increased personalization, higher organic search rankings, social media boosts, audience insights, discovering unique marketing ideas, reaching new audiences, and more. Basically, it’s good for business.

Why is content moderation important for user-generated campaigns?

Moderating social media content helps to prevent harmful content, scams, or images from reaching your audience. To protect and preserve your audience’s best interests, content moderation should be a part of any digital, social media, or user-generated marketing campaign.

Why is user-generated content so powerful?

To keep it short and sweet, consumers have an increasing demand for authenticity.

Today… Digital advertising has become increasingly important. With the rise of ad blockers, most people “mute” traditional advertisements or have gained ninja-like skills at swiping and avoiding promotional messages at all costs.

Instead, a large majority of consumers source trustworthy information from users similar to them online.

They want to watch and read reviews, and testimonials and find information on first-hand experiences from social media before determining where and how they’ll utilize their purchasing power.

Is user-generated content credible?

In a lot of ways, UGC is perceived to be more credible than advertising content as it’s organically made by users already using the product and isn’t always under the influence of a brand or advertising partnership.

However, a content creator’s credibility is increasingly being put under the microscope by today’s modern consumers.

Especially since more and more consumers are becoming wary of working with those who seem heavily ad influenced.

How can I encourage UGC?

1. Repost, repost, repost

Giving UGC a large platform showcases your audience who’s living in your products or benefiting from your services day-to-day. Review, repost, and align UGC with your overall social media strategy (or a specific campaign) to collect content and capture measurable results.

2. Highlight your shared interests and values

In this millennium, consumers want to purchase from brands that support meaningful causes and movements. It’s about purpose and passion over profit and products. Leveraging UGC gives you a chance to connect mutual interests and values with your customers, encouraging participation, and highlighting their meaningful moments through your marketing campaign.

3. Make changes based on their feedback

Smart brands of the future will be constantly keeping a pulse on their customer feedback. If you listen closely enough, they’ll tell you exactly what they want to see from you — and sometimes, it can surprise you. Your customers are constantly giving you opportunities to improve your product and services, and you’d be wise to listen.

With all that said… what is the real value of user-generated content?

Developing a user-generated content strategy takes time and doesn’t happen overnight. It requires community building and open-mindedness to your audience’s inventiveness.

You might be surprised by how they showcase and use your product or service.

More than anything, you’ll have a chance to glean valuable insights into opportunities for improving your product or service offering.

Keeping a constant ear to the ground for social feedback from your customers is key and UGC opens the floodgates to a constant stream of comments, concerns, and communication — direct from your customers. With a creative marketing eye, UGC transforms and showcases your customer’s experience of your brand; cultivating loyalty and lasting recognition.

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