So, the talk of social media town these days is all about building better customer experience and doing that through engagement, engagement, engagement. Over-engaging can come across, well, spammy. Honestly, the truth is that folks trust customers more than they’ll trust any company. Thus, enter user-generated content.
People don’t buy into slogans without hearing the real voices that are using the brand. Companies are catching onto the idea and seeking out influencers that can vet their brand. However, even then, customers don’t know what’s real and what’s not real.
That’s where user-generated content (UGC) comes to save, build, and deepen brand loyalty. Companies utilize, with permission, the photos, videos, and blog content that customers create about the brand and their personal experiences to elevate it. Companies integrate this content into their marketing efforts. Seeing this leads to interaction with a more trusting and engaged audience.
How Effective is User-Generated Content?
Companies who don’t take advantage of partnering with customers are missing out on a chance to deepen these relationships. Also, these companies are missing out on quality, cost-effective marketing strategies.
How effective is user-generated content? Check out the stats:
- 76% of shoppers think that content shared by regular people is more honest than content shared and produced by a company. (Olapic)
- 36% of Baby Boomers and 47% of Millenials trust UGC. (Olapic)
- 27% of shoppers look at UGC over traditional ads before buying a product. (Olapic)
- YouTube videos created by users get ten times more views than branded content videos. (Emarys Global)
- Brand engagement rises by 28% when UGC is utilized with company-produced content. (ComScore)
- UGC ads generate four times higher click-through rates than ones without any UGC. (Shopify)
As as a result, UGC can increase a brand’s interactivity and raise engagement metrics. You’ll see this when the analytic reports come in with increased views, shares, and conversions. That’s right. Conversions can happen quickly with user-generated content. A potential customer finds their answer in customer experience and invests in the product or service.
User-Generated Content by Influencers and Everyday Brand Advocates
Getting your content in before the eyes of the right folks extends your reach. Many companies are familiar with influencer marketing. But imagine that UGC takes two forms, sharing a good customer review or spending thousands of dollars on a campaign collaboration with a major influencer. (Read: an influencer with 1 million+ followers.)
That’s not the case, anymore. Partner with your everyday brand advocates, your fans and followers may qualify as micro-influencers. A micro-influencer is someone who typically has over 1,000 followers, which denotes a closer relationship and higher engagement rate. They will represent expertise in a particular area, hobby, or niche.
An Experticity study revealed that 82% of shoppers are more likely to follow the recommendation of a micro-influencer. Also, a Nielsen survey discovered that 67% of shoppers would buy a product when a family member or friend shared it over social media.
How many user reviews does it take for a customer to make a purchase? One to four customer reviews among 41% of shoppers, per Social Media Link.
Putting User-Generated Content Into Practice
To put user-generated content into practice, you really must dive in. So, log into social media and check out who tagged you. Source the best reviews. Look at the stats on the video of the YouTuber who reviewed your product. How many followers do they have?
There are many ways to leverage UGC in your branding and marketing efforts. So, consider these examples:
1. Hashtag Campaigns
Chances are you have your own branded hashtag. Creating a personalized hashtag for your company brand or a campaign encourages customers to engage while giving you fantastic, cost-effective marketing material.
For example, log into Instagram and search for #WayfairAtHome under Tags. Wayfair, a furniture company, used this hashtag to encourage customers to share how they made Wayfair products a part of their home.
Potential shoppers looking for interior design inspiration get everything they need to know conveniently presented for them. Loyalty, beauty, and functionality are demonstrated. (And, yes, obviously the product arrived safely.)
And another perk? Wayfair also gains the marketability of these customer photos and reviews from those shares.
2. Content Contests
GoPro often does content challenge videos to encourage users to upload their best videos. The best, adventurous videos get prizes, which can be anything from a gift card to another product.
Now, imagine how GoPro could interweave some of the content from these videos, with permission. A montage on TV or a YouTube ad showcases user adventures, inspiring watchers to go on their adventures. First, they will need the equipment. Click. And bought.
And don’t forget that you can leverage UGC in other ways through sharing customer stories in your own story on Facebook or Instagram. UGC can be shared through featured guest blogs and review or integrated into print media.
There are many ways to take advantage of user-generated content. What works best will depend on your brand and the products and services you offer. But it will build loyalty for your brand authentically, and that’s what customers want.