What is User Generated Content?
User generated content (UGC) is best described as any form of authentic content that is created and shared by consumers. This type of content comes in many forms (videos, photos, reviews, social media posts, etc) and is so powerful because it provides social proof that your business is worth checking out.
Benefits of User Generated Content
Embracing user generated content will allow your business to amplify its content strategy without having to actually produce the content or self-promote. However, there are several additional benefits for leveraging UGC, which are outlined below:
1. Puts Your Customers Front and Center
With the growing prominence of social media over the past decade, the marketing landscape has changed dramatically. Consumers have now taken control of marketing, and savvy businesses understand that the best marketing messages are coming from their consumers rather than the brands themselves. User generated content puts your customers front and center and lets their voices tell your brand's story for you.
2. Offers Credibility
You can create content that tells your brand's story in a very compelling way; however, it typically won't resonate with consumers as well as user generated content. There's something about hearing unbiased and genuine opinions about your brand from actual consumers that helps to establish trust. According to a recent study, 47 percent of millennials and 36 percent of baby boomers trust user generated content while only 25 percent from both demographics trust branded content.
3. Saves Your Company Money
If you find that your marketing budget is often stretched thin, you will be pleased to know that user generated content doesn't have to cost your business a dime. One way to leverage user generated content is to source images directly from your fans on social media. Today's consumers love to check-in to business locations on social media and share their artfully enhanced images of themselves experiencing your brand. You need to be using these visuals to your advantage to help promote your business, show appreciation to your customers, foster loyalty, and drive engagement.
4. Helps Your Business to Cut Through the Noise
Between ads and promoted content, consumers are constantly being bombarded by marketing messages. However, user generated content offers your business a solution to cut through all of this noise. Because user generated content doesn't offer a traditional sales vibe, your audience will find that this type of content is more genuine and worth looking at. Research shows that using user generated images in ads helps businesses to earn three times the click-through rate.
How to Leverage User Generated Content In Your Next Campaign
Now that you have a better understanding of the advantages of user generated content, how can you put this type of content to work in your next campaign?
If you want to create a campaign that encourages fans to share user generated content, here are some best practices:
1. Offer Awards for Participation in Your User Generated Social Media Campaign.
If you want to encourage participation in your campaign, you need to offer incentive for people to share their user generated content with you. Ideally, you want to use this campaign to motivate people that aren't already brand evangelists to promote your business. Award people for their participation by offering public recognition, company swag, or other relevant and appealing prizes.
2. Set a Content Submission Date to Build Anticipation
Give your social media fans a deadline to submit their user generated content. Having parameters around the timeframe of your campaign will help to build anticipation and encourage fans to get their submissions in.
In summary, while user generated content is often overlooked by businesses, it's one of your most powerful marketing resources. Not only is a UGC campaign cost effective, but it's authentic nature also makes your business more trustworthy and helps you to cut through all of the noise.
How New York Ave Can Help
Our team at New York Ave can help you to leverage user generated content by putting together UGC-based campaigns that produce results. If you're interested in learning more about how to unleash the power of user generated content, we'd love to help.
Contact us today to hear how UGC can give your overall content marketing strategy a boost.