When it comes to making purchasing decisions, we usually tend to trust our family, friends, and other customers more than what different brands are telling us through their marketing campaigns. According to the survey conducted by Nielsen, 92% of customers trust authentic user-generated content more than traditional advertising. And the reason is simple. User-generated content is considered to be a genuine users’ opinion based on their liking of the product and is not paid for by brands. In this article, we will talk about the meaning of UGC marketing and how to incorporate UGC into your marketing efforts.
What is the meaning of UGC marketing?
User-generated content (UGC) is any content (text, video, reviews, images…) created by people, users, instead of brands. It acts as social proof that promotes your brand while at the same time strengthens your relationship with your clients and instills trust in your target audience. This ultimately leads to more sales as well as boosts your SEO. There are many kinds of UGC. The list is practically endless, so we will mention only some of the most popular:
- Blog posts
- Blog comments
- Social media comments or posts
- User-generated videos
Why should you create UGC marketing campaigns?
As a marketer, your goal is to build brand awareness. This doesn’t come overnight. It’s a long process where you constantly look to increase your reach and drive conversions. In other words, your goal is to familiarize more people with your brand and build their trust. The content you create is certainly a powerful tool in achieving these goals. After all, no one would know about your brand if you don’t create content and promote yourself. But types of user-generated content, for example, an authentic Instagram post of your customers enjoying your product, not only bolsters your marketing strategy but also brings credibility.
Social media platforms are the most fruitful soil for UGC marketing campaigns. The goal of social media services is to keep you engaged for as long as possible. They want you to spend more time and come back often. Their data shows that people spend more time scrolling through friends’ posts rather than those of a brand. This is why their algorithms prioritize posts from your friends.
If you manage to engage your followers to mention your branded hashtags or company name in their posts, your brands will reach a wider audience. As the number of likes and comments increases, so does your reach. And best of all, those authentic user-generated moments, a powerful word of mouth strategy, will inspire their friends to find out more about your brand. They will do so by visiting your website where you have a chance to be creative. For example, you can create a social media wall and constantly update it with the latest news feeds from your accounts enticing them to like and follow. That kind of engaging surroundings will make them want to spend more time on your website. The cost-effective nature of UGC helps you see the number of conversions skyrocket in no time. Leveraging this can lead to increased brand loyalty. Now it’s up to you to deliver high-quality content in order to nurture those relationships that you have established.
User-generated content marketing through facts and numbers
As marketers, we are often tempted to follow the latest trends as soon as they emerge. This is how we keep our campaigns fresh and relevant after all. However, before you invest your marketing dollar into a campaign, you need to make sure that the trend you are following is actually effective and drives meaningful results. Here are some of the facts and numbers:
- You can get up to 650% return on ad spend with influencer marketing
- Social media posts that contain UGC drive more engagement than regular posts
- Two out of three people check online reviews before deciding on whether to buy a product or not
- 88% of buyers find online reviews to be as valuable as recommendations from their friends
- Social media content drives purchasing decisions of 75% of consumers
- 84% of millennials claim that UGC influences their purchasing decisions
- Including UGC into your eCommerce ads will bring you four times more clicks
Main benefits of UGC marketing
- User-generated content promotes authenticity – Stackla’s survey reveals that consumers are 2.4 times more likely to perceive UGC as genuine compared to the content created by brands. The same research shows that 51% of people consider that less than half of brands create authentic content. This only goes to show that incorporating user-generated content into your marketing campaigns can bring you a huge boost in credibility among consumers.
- User-generated content creates trust among consumers – In this day and age, an endless stream of information is just a click away. Modern consumers are accustomed to being informed and they want to know exactly what they are going to get before they make a purchase. People are far more likely to trust what other consumers have to say about your product than what you want them to know. Sharing customer testimonials about your product along with UGC on social media such as Instagram is a great way to boost your followers’ trust.
- User-generated content drives purchasing decisions – Once you create trust and credibility among your consumers, your marketing campaign will have a huge impact on their purchasing decisions. As soon as your brand gets perceived as a tried and true solution, UGC marketing will become a powerful tool that brings more sales and recurring customers.
How to incorporate user-generated content into your marketing campaign
User-generated content has become an important part of content strategy in our digital marketing agency, promoting our message and strengthening relationships with our clients. It is our pleasure to be in a position where we can share our experience and help our fellow marketers achieve the same results. Here are some of the most powerful ways to use user-generated content and ensure success in your campaigns:
A vast majority of consumers (over 70%, according to Consumerist) check online reviews before deciding whether to buy a product or not. This means that high ratings and good reviews lead to increased traffic to your site and produce higher conversion rates.
You should encourage your customers to write reviews by offering incentives in the form of coupons or gift cards. Emailing is a great way to achieve this goal. Email subject lines have the biggest impact on the receiver. Compose them with incentive keywords in mind so that your customers would know what is expected from them and which benefits they would enjoy.
In case you get a bad review, don’t consider it a step back. A bad review is your chance to improve and show that you care about each customer’s opinion and buying experience. Make sure to answer each customer individually as both good and bad reviews make your brand look more authentic.
Leverage the power of social media to engage your target audience and build brand awareness. Create catchy hashtags and encourage your customers to share photos or videos of them enjoying your product. Make sure to brainstorm a unique hashtag that will set you apart from your competitors and include it in your posts. As your followers popularize your hashtag, they can push it to trend, further widening your reach. This kind of UGC is a great way for your followers to have fun and cement your place as a new-age brand.
Video content is one of the most effective user-generated content options you can include in your campaign. It allows you to connect with your consumers on a level that other media can’t. Research by Octoly shows that videos that users make about a brand generate 10 times more views than official brand videos. It is no wonder considering how big of potential for sharing these videos have.
Another big advantage of these videos is that they offer unique perspectives to your product or service. Presenting your brand through consumers’ experience gives your company a huge boost in credibility. UGC videos outperform traditional marketing since they offer the next level of engagement with your audience as well as show their support.
This is yet another fun and engaging way for your users to create UGC. Using high scores, badges, and leaderboards, you can ask your users to complete different tasks and reward them with discounts or other forms of incentives.
Nike did a great job in leveraging gamification through their Nike+ campaign. They developed an app that would measure runners’ distance, time, pace, calories burnt, and so on. This app was linked to social media accounts so that people could compete against each other and share their results. Needless to say that this kind of ingenuity helped them increase their presence and visibility and transformed countless followers into loyal customers. Another benefit of this app is that Nike could collect user data and further segment it to better market their products.
Holiday season content
The holiday season opens a whole world of opportunities for businesses to connect with their customers on an emotional level. If you manage to determine your UGC holiday goals as well as your target audience, this time of the year can be the best time to post on social media. As always, to get the best from your UGC marketing campaign, you need to engage your followers to share pictures, videos, testimonials, or participate in all kinds of contests while including your hashtag in their posts. Once you generate excitement and evoke holiday spirit in your customers, you can encourage them to create user-generated content that will positively impact your sales.
User-generated content is a powerful tool for spreading awareness about your business and humanizing your brand. Clever marketing ideas and innovative ways to include UGC in your campaign will provide you with a competitive edge. We hope to have given you enough ideas to brainstorm a strategy that will separate your brand from others alike. However, you have to keep in mind that there is no magic formula that can guarantee success. Your strategy depends on your business goals and the audience you target. Try to put yourself in the shoes of your audience. Try to understand their needs and wants. Dwell on what you have to offer and how it suits your current as well as future customers. The methods we have described can give a proper direction to your UGC efforts. But, they won’t do much unless you work your magic around them. Experiment. Have fun.