What is User-Generated Content (UGC)?

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What is user-generated content and why does it matter? User-generated content (UGC) teaches marketers an important lesson. Consumers are not passive spectators and the content they create should play a part in your marketing strategy. Read on to discover why UGC should be on the agenda for your next team meeting.

Types of User-Generated Content

Consumers generate lots of different types of content which enables them to become active participants in brand storytelling. The content ranges from social media posts and videos to customer reviews, testimonials, and blogs. For example, if a restaurant customer posts a photo of their meal on their Instagram story and tags the restaurant, the restaurant can share it to their story too. If a travel blogger writes a hotel review, the hotel’s digital marketing team can leverage the writer’s influence to attract more tourists in the future.

Why It Matters

By incorporating user-generated content in your digital marketing strategy, you can position your brand as a credible and authentic contender within the industry it competes in. If you’re a new brand on the block, you’ll know all too well that brand loyalty doesn’t just appear overnight. Earning a consumer’s trust takes time. Most consumers rely on recommendations from trusted sources before buying a product or service from a brand they’ve never heard of. By asking your brand’s early adopters to write reviews on websites like Google, Trustpilot, and Trip Advisor, you can attract new customers and grow as a business over time.

Tips For Encouraging User-Generated Content

There’s no use in sitting around waiting for your audience to generate content when you could be engaging them with prompts beforehand. Some of the world’s biggest brands use creative methods to elicit user-generated content. Have you heard about the Starbucks social media conspiracy? The global coffee brand is rumoured to have encouraged its baristas to spell their customers’ names wrong on purpose as a type of “free marketing”. That would explain why people post photos of their misspelled names on coffee cups all over social media!

Maybe the average joe can’t get away with such antics, but a giveaway would be sure to encourage any audience to generate content. A giveaway that asks entrants to comment on a social media post or share their own photos with a branded hashtag can help grow a collection of user-generated content that can later be repurposed to attract new audiences.

Best Practices

Remember the three c’s: consistency, consent, and credit. For example, American Airlines often posts the passengers’ airplane photography on their social media.

This user-generated content has a sleek and consistent look that doesn’t seem out of place next to the brand’s own content. 

Consent is the next step. Before posting a photo that doesn’t belong to you, asking for the owner’s consent is key for maintaining trust. Finally, crediting the owner of the photo in the attached caption is just as important as asking for consent.

Measuring the Results

Evaluate the success of your user-generated content campaigns via engagement rates, reach, and sentiment analysis. Doing so will show you the scope of your audience, whether they’ve responded positively or negatively to your brand, and it will help you to refine your strategy for future campaigns. Social media management tools such as Agorapulse, Sprout Social, and Hootsuite allow you to manage your metrics all in one place, so you can monitor user-generated content in an effective and efficient manner.

UGC is Key

User-generated content isn’t just a trend. It’s a vital part of modern marketing that embraces consumer creativity. By incorporating UGC in your marketing strategy, you can increase your brand’s authenticity and nurture a community of brand advocates. For best results, share this blog post with your team!