Modern consumers want to connect with their favorite brands through personalized, immersive experiences. As a result, marketers must develop strategies to foster authentic connections between the brand and the public. One extremely beneficial way to do so is to obtain marketing content directly from the consumer through user-generated content (UGC).
Incorporating UGC into your marketing campaigns can be highly beneficial if your brand wants to make lasting impressions on its audiences. Moreover, UGC can also provide your brand with valuable additional audience insights which can help hone your marketing strategy in the future. Take a closer look at some of the benefits of UGC for your brand.
User-Generated Content: The Basics
User-generated content sounds like a complicated term, but it's actually a simple concept. UGC encompasses a wide array of content created by consumers and used by brands for marketing purposes. UGC may include things like:
- Online reviews.
- Social media posts by consumers.
- Images, videos and other media submitted by consumers.
Importantly, this content includes consumers' opinions and reflects their genuine experiences using your brand's products. These opinions are valuable because they can significantly influence the purchasing decisions of other consumers. Moreover, with the help of consumers’ raw, unfiltered opinions of your brand, you can better make decisions about how you market your product in the future.
Leveraging User-Generated Content
Because user-generated content comes from the consumer, managing it may seem like a relatively low-effort job for the marketer. However, obtaining and implementing the right kind of UGC requires coordinated action. So, how do you do it?
1. Encourage and Incentivize Participation
Offer incentives such as discounts, exclusive access to benefits, and contest entries to motivate consumers to create and share UGC. Creating UGC takes time and effort on the consumer’s part. A reward is just a small way of showing your appreciation for their participation. For instance, if you want to receive more positive Google reviews for your restaurant, offer your users a coupon for 10% off their next meal after they submit a five-star review.
2. Curate and Showcase UGC
Displaying UGC throughout your marketing materials helps you validate your brand's authenticity. For example, many meal kit delivery services have begun running ads with user-submitted videos of actual consumers cooking with their products. By doing so, the brand can easily show how the everyday person uses their product and why they find it beneficial. These videos can nurture relatability in current and potential users, especially those who like to cook. In other words, if they see another person easily using the meal kit service and preparing a meal, a viewer may be tempted to subscribe to the service.
3. Engage and Interact with UGC Contributors
Whenever you receive UGC, you have a chance to respond to it. Respectfully and professionally acknowledging any UGC helps consumers feel like the brand is responding to them. Such responsiveness fosters a sense of personability for the brand and helps with community-building. For example, responding to an online review (whether positive or negative) shows users that you listen to what they are saying and are actively trying to include them in your brand conversations.
4. Measure and Analyze UGC Impact
UGC offers you a critical opportunity to gather data to inform your strategy moving forward. Utilize engagement metrics, conversion rates, and sentiment analysis to measure UGC's effectiveness. When you see a particular type of UGC performing well, this is likely a sign that similar content will lead to similar results. You can adjust your future marketing strategy to implement a long-term plan utilizing the best of your UGC.
Benefitting from User-Generated Content
With UGC, you can place a more human face on your brand and increase engagement from your public, all while making a relatively cost-friendly investment. Take a closer look at some of the benefits of implementing a UGC-focused strategy.
1. Bolster Brand Authenticity and Credibility
While consumers may trust branded content, they are even more likely to trust UGC. Indeed, as far back as 2012, a Nielsen study found that 92% of consumers trust recommendations from peers over traditional advertising.1 For instance, seeing an excellent online recommendation or reading a strong customer testimonial about your product may help a potential buyer decide to buy from you. Through material such as this, you are building a community of individuals who can vouch for your brand reputation.
2. Enhance Engagement and Interaction
UGC helps you better connect with your audience (and, of course, helps them better relate to your brand). For example, consider a holiday photo contest. Suppose you ask your customers to send in photos or videos of them receiving and using your product. In that case, you will likely see a lot of great submissions. By allowing users to submit content they are proud of, you can create a network of connections that can build better customer relationships. Moreover, these submissions can help you collect important information about the daily use of your audience, your target audience and other factors that may be important to your marketing strategy.
3. Make Cost-Effective Investments in Marketing
You could pay to create content or even pay influencers to endorse your products. Or, you could curate organic user-generated content from your users, who are your true brand loyalists. UGC is effective and budget-friendly, as it generally costs you much less (if anything) to ask a loyal customer for their support in your marketing efforts. Therefore, you can often obtain a vast amount of quality content with a relatively low-cost investment.
1 "Consumer Trust in Online, Social and Mobile Advertising Grows." Nielsen, 1 Apr. 2012, www.nielsen.com/insights/2012/consumer-trust-in-online-social-and-mobile-advertising-grows/. Accessed 16 Oct. 2023.
Make Deeper Connections with User-Generated Content
In today's fast-paced world of marketing, connecting with consumers on a personal level is exceptionally important. User-generated content (UGC), like customer reviews, social media posts and testimonial videos, stands as a powerful tool in building this connection, allowing brands to tap into the authentic voices of their customers. By implementing UGC throughout your marketing strategy, you can bolster your brand’s authenticity, encourage better engagement and make a more cost-effective investment in marketing. All it takes is appropriate incentives, careful curation and data analysis, and you’ll soon be on your way to leveraging UCG in the best possible way for your brand.
About The Old State
The Old State is a Dallas-based full-service digital solutions agency focusing on web design and optimization, paid media and inbound marketing. We believe in helping clients create digital strategies that lead to real success through listening, research, and adaptability. Our process ensures that we offer solutions that align with clients' visions and business goals. For more information, contact email@example.com.