User-generated content, or UGC, makes your biggest fans the stars of your social media feed—creating community and sharing the burden of creativity.
User-generated content is a winning addition to your social media strategy because it has multiple benefits. You likely see other brands relying on top fans to create and share content that spotlights their brand. But you may not be familiar with the hard work and reasons behind it.
- Introduces another post format to your feed
- Comes across as real and authentic
- Adds another “creator” to your crew, maximizing your resources
- Inspires community and begets more user-generated content
However, user-generated content does not work without your brand creating an environment of trust. Read on to discover the power of user-generated content and the details that make it a smart addition to your marketing strategy.
Getting in touch with your audience can feel like an uphill battle. Pricy ads, a crowded market place, and short attention spans are no fun. Reaching the right people is complex, not to mention competitive and expensive. So, it makes sense to use all the tools in your toolbox. Enter user-generated content, which plays with the best parts of organic reach and content.
A well-thought-out campaign that hits all the right notes can’t be beat. But pitch-perfect content that’s been dreamed up by your biggest fans can come close. And it might even be better. That’s because your audience might actually prefer your customers—or, at least, their content—to you. According to the Nielsen Consumer Trust Index, 92 percent of consumers trust earned media more than they trust traditional advertising.
Earned media is organic, user-generated content, like reviews and recommendations. It makes people feel like they are getting a personal insight or special tip. Everybody wants to be an insider. User-generated content makes the most of customers and their networks of followers. When a client becomes a super fan and raves about your product, it gets shared across lanes you might not reach in regular advertising. This is like unlocking a whole other level of marketing that was previously inaccessible.
Turn Customers Into Advocates
User-generated content starts at the top—that is, your brand and product need to be good enough to inspire a following. Even though user-generated content puts your audience in the driver’s seat, they get there because they love your brand. So, are you dishing out what you want to receive?
A key aspect of user-generated content is building an inclusive and excited community. You have an audience that wants to take part. Turning your audience members into advocates requires setting standards and goals for yourself, as well as understanding the field. Where are your influencers spending their time? Where would their user-generated content perform well?
With user-generated content, you have the chance to encourage more engagement through likes and comments, sparking connection and good feelings. This could also lead to increased conversion rates—as people do their research, see unboxing videos and reviews and make a purchase. Overall, it all means you are building brand trust and community. And if you’ve earned it, don’t lose it.
Look For Your Fans
Congratulations, you’ve decided to add user-generated content to your lineup! This is a savvy move that will help maximize your resources while connecting with your audience on a deeper level. That said, this isn’t the time to sit back and relax.
Yes, user-generated content is not something your brand creates. But you do need to lay the groundwork that encourages people to create it. And you may even need to seek it out. What’s the strategy behind your user-generated content marketing? Think of it like going fishing. The fish are all there, swimming along. But you need to cast your line, hook the big fish, and then prepare it for dinner.
Hopefully, your fans are using your brand’s hashtags and tagging main accounts in their rave reviews. Careful social listening and monitoring will also help you scoop up all the good (and the bad). When you see a great post, have a plan of action. It may mean reaching out in the comments or sending a direct message to ask if you can repost and share their content on your brand’s main page. If they are true fans, they’ll be thrilled to participate. But don’t take it without asking.
From video to photos to reviews, there are numerous avenues to user-generated content. You can start small as you build your strategy. Focus on one platform to pull from or encourage submissions with a contest. Make sure it makes sense for your audience. Instagram can be great for photo contests—but only if your audience is ready to deliver high-quality images.