User generated content, or UGC, is one of the greatest methods around when it comes to harnessing the power of your loyal fan base - but what is it?
To put it simply, user generated content is anything from reviews, text, images or videos created by real consumers as opposed to brands or businesses - it’s your clients and customers (ideally) vouching for your product or service. If it involves your brand, and none of your employees or affiliates created it, it’s user generated content. Consumers will usually share UGC on their own social media channels, websites and other marketing platforms - but it’s entirely up to you as to what you choose to do with it.
Is User Generated Content Here To Stay?
Long before the global pandemic forced us to move our lives online, the digital age already saw businesses embracing the magic of the internet to connect with new and existing audiences.
Before we buy a new car, we often troll through the internet to see what our predecessors have to say about the particular make and model that you’re looking at. According to a recent study by TurnTo Networks, over 90% of consumers say that user generated content holds more influence over their buying decisions than promotional emails, and even search engine results. Turns out, the people want to hear from the people.
If we combed through our own social media accounts, how many influencers do we willingly (or unwittingly) follow already? After all, these are the very people that have made a living from user generated content, and have very much changed the game on how social media works. Many businesses made the mistake of undervaluing influencers when they were a newer form of marketing, but that’s certainly no longer the case. At its core, user generated content is the “new school” form of word of mouth, and shouldn’t be disparaged or ignored.
Why You Should Take Advantage Of User Generated Content
Let’s be clear - it’s about far more than sharing a post that a customer tagged your brand via Instagram. When appropriately distributed, user generated content can greatly assist businesses to promote authenticity, foster audience relationships based on trust, and ultimately drive purchasing decisions.
Free Content - Many brands and businesses struggle with the constant battle of producing relevant and consistent content, but the good news is that there’s already a medley of brand mascots out there doing it for you - don’t waste it!
Fuel Desire - Humans are envious creatures by nature, and at our very core we tend to thrive off FOMO (fear of missing out) - we want what others have. Sharing user generated content creates both brand desire, along with reminding consumers that it’s all within their reach.
Showcase Your Fans - Sharing user generating content is also a fantastic way to acknowledge your existing fan or customer base, and goes a long way in building loyalty with consumers - especially considering that they’ve taken time out of their day to promote your product for free.
Best Practices On Working With User Generated Content
Before you get started with navigating UGC and trying to make it work to your advantage, make sure you pay attention to the “unwritten laws” of social media - the person who has just raved about your brand, product or service online is not someone that you want to get offside.
Ask Permission - Before you repurpose someone else’s content, it’s always a good idea to double check with the person directly first, even if someone has used a branded hashtag. It’s also basic good manners.
Credit The User - Failure to credit the original content creator is a surefire way to annoy them, and risks you trying to pass off someone else’s work as your own. Tag the original creator in both the caption and image if applicable, as this also verifies that their endorsement is legit.
Offer Value - If you’re trying to encourage social media users and your customer base to embrace your branded hashtag, then make sure you let them know that you’ll be sourcing user generated content from the pool - a regularly monthly content or discount doesn’t hurt either.
Will User Generated Content Replace Other Marketing Methods?
While UGC certainly isn’t going anyway anytime soon, brands and businesses still need their own solid content marketing strategy in place in order to thrive digitally in the long term - things like regular blogging, electronic email marketing and SEO can’t be replaced, particularly when it comes to maintaining the core pillars of your business website.
Producing your own quality, consistent and on brand content takes time, effort, experience and resources - and you’re not alone if you can’t quite commit to that. Avoiding content marketing all together may actually be doing your brand a disservice, but thankfully - investing in a solid content marketing strategy has never been easier.
Here at Content Hive, producing top quality digital content is exactly what we do best. We have itemised a list of digital content services, and allocated credits next to each of these. This means that each month, you can use your credits with us to produce digital content such as social media posts, blog articles, videos and even animated Instagram stories.
We believe that this model means we can produce high quality content in faster than normal delivery times. It also means that because you have a monthly credit, you are going to want to make sure you use these up - and so do we - meaning that your digital content is always consistent.
If you aren’t quite sure where to start on your content marketing journey and would like to speak to a professional, why not book in a free discovery call with us at Content Hive today to discuss how we can get your brand buzzing online.