What is UGC?
User Generated Content or UGC as commonly known refers to content created by unpaid contributors. It can be in the form of pictures, videos, reviews, testimonials, posts, tweets, pins etc. With social media platforms focusing more and more on customer engagement, brands are leveraging UGC for their social media marketing by incorporating it directly into their websites, campaigns, digital advertising etc.
Why UGC is important?
With digital age settling in, customers today trust online reviews and testimonials over brand messaging before making any purchase decision. With latest technology, high speed internet, smart phones usage, the consumers have the ability to easily create, share and give their opinion on any brand. Smart marketers are using this trustworthy, authentic content across their social channels to improve engagement with their customer base and drive higher levels of revenue.
Role of UGC in promoting brands:
Brand Marketers/Social media Marketing professionals understand the time, money and energy it takes to attract customers. User generated content, be it in the form of reviews or visual praise of the product, can serve as superior marketing collateral.
Following are reasons of why brands marketers should leverage UGC:
- It initiates and establishes a dialogue between the brand and its customer base: Traditional social media marketing is often brand intensive. By encouraging your customer base to share their ideas, suggestions and feedback, brands not only facilitate a line of communication with their customer base but can effectively address some of the main feedback (positive/negative) points and take advantage to improve the overall experience of their products and services.
- It increases engagement, traffic and conversions: When customers promote your product/services in the form of a review/photo/video, you effectively turn them into your brand ambassadors. Having customers as brand ambassadors no doubt increases engagement and drive further traffic to your social media pages.
- It gives your brand a ‘social validation’: Social media that is powered, liked and appreciated by customers increases brand credibility.
- Adds personality to your brand: There is no denying the fact that user generated content humanizes your brand and makes it feel a lot less like marketing. If used and designed for an ad, UGC can be the most effective form of promotion for a brand.
Tips/Strategies for generating UGC:
User generated content not only creates a powerful online presence but also makes your customers happy and more invested in your business.
Following are some of the tips to generate user content and use it for your social media marketing strategies:
- Launch a photo contest featuring one of your brand’s products. Showcase these photos and opt for contests related to total number of likes/favorites
- Be a part of popular social media platforms like Snapchat and Pinterest. Request for video submissions and collaborate with your fans on Pinterest boards.
- Invite your fans to be guest bloggers
- Offer incentives to a customer on writing a case-study, a blog about your product, service or experience
- Run fun company competitions, videos of behind the scenes of a product launch and share it on social platforms
- Encourage and establish discussion forums.
Once a brand decides to use UGC in their marketing initiatives, they need to collate content from various social platforms and present it through a single customizable channel. The brand should know how to share certain pieces of UGC over others to tell a story about their brand through their consumer’s experiences.
The kind of engagement and promotion UGC generates is incredible for brands as well as consumers. It surely brings a candid approach to the brand’s marketing efforts. With rules set right, both short-term and long-term impact of UGC can be rewarding to a brand’s exposure as well as actual ROI.