User-generated content (UGC) can be defined as any sort of content, whether that be simple text, images, pictures, videos, reviews or even podcasts, that is produced by regular users as opposed to the brand itself. So an article written by a company itself is brand-generated, while an article written by a user with no affiliation to the brand would be considered user-generated.
This is not a new concept; brands and companies have been employing a UGC approach for some time, and of course modern forms of communication promote this kind of approach. In particular, social media channels, Instagram especially, have become the royalty of UGC, although in theory UGC can be disseminated by a marketing channel.
On Instagram, UGC usually manifests as pictures and even short videos which feature your product or brand. Brands then get on board by interacting with that content, and even sharing it via different avenues. In fact, these days it is common for businesses to actively ask their audience to create UGC for the very purpose of sharing it with their audience, or even as a central aspect to a new marketing strategy.
Here are seven reasons specifically why you should embark on a digital marketing approach which incorporates UGC.
1- It builds credibility
This is an obvious point, but content generated by other users is immediately more credible than content generated directly by your brand. Why?
“UGC is not immediately recognized as a marketing tactic. When a user sees content generated by another user, it is not immediately seen as a cynical attempt to sell something. That’s a fact,” states Kim Seoung, a marketer at Australia2write and NextCoursework.
2- It builds trust
And related to this previous point, if users see other users talking about a specific brand in a positive light, then it is much more likely to build trust in your brand as one that is of good quality and promotes a decent level of customer satisfaction. These are central aspects of why users will go with your brand over others.
3- It is relatable
Which kind of content is going to be more relatable to the average user: something generated directly by the brand (usually a faceless enterprise), or something generated by a user just like them who is looking for a solution just like them? Immediately UGC is more relatable because of its origins.
4- It builds a community
Inviting UGC and running campaigns connected to its generation is an incredibly successful way or growing an online community around your brand.
“If users are generating content related to your brand and others are engaging with it, or if they are sharing it among their established followers, then you are increasing exposure to your brand as well as bringing together likeminded individuals who wish to engage over your brand,” says Andrew Castle, a social media writer at BritStudent and WriteMyX.
5- It diversifies your content
As a marketing team, it can be incredibly difficult to continuously be fresh and original with the content you are generating. If you are no longer responsible for that content generation, but a large pool of users are, then automatically more creativity, individuality and uniqueness is added to the equation. In this way you can build up an incredible stock of usable content for the future.
6- It increases your social media status
As all of this UGC is being discussed and shared, primarily on social media, it is having the extremely positive effect of extending your reach and influence over these channels, which is great for any marketing purposes. Encourage users to share hashtags related to your brand and your product, and you may quickly find that your business is trending online, which is the holy grail in marketing terms.
7- It boosts conversions
And when we get to the bottom line, UGC simply increases the number of conversions, because of nearly all the reasons stated above. Traffic is increased, but the quality of that traffic will immediately be better because it is authentic. See the results in terms of sales.
You shouldn’t’ remain unconvinced by UGC. At the very least, it is earned content, meaning that it is authentically produced by your audience as part of some sort of engagement. As a result, the traffic and further engagements it creates are the most highly-prized for businesses. Quite simply, it builds authenticity and trust, quite often develops a common community of users, and builds fantastic traction for your brand and specific marketing strategies.
Content marketer Michael Dehoyos is usually found assisting organizations in their digital marketing approach. He is an editor at PHDKingdom and Academicbrits, and a regular contributor to Essay Help.