People increasingly turn to social media when trying to get to know a business better.
They are looking for connection and genuine interaction with brands.
At the same time, traditional social media approaches aren’t enough to build customer relationships.
What can you do about it?
Leverage user-generated content (UGC) to help your audience align with your brand.
If you want to know more about UGC, you are in the right place. Here we’ll cover:
- The reasons to leverage UGC
- The benefits it offers to brands and customers
Let's get into it.
Reason #1: Greater Trust Between Consumer and Brand
Starting with the benefits of user-generated content, it’s worth mentioning that this type of content works as social proof.
Nowadays, the sheer volume of data is a deterrent for customers, as they don’t know which source to trust.
However, customers continue to trust the recommendations of their inner circle and people they can relate to.
This argument is strengthened by the fact that 93% of customers consult reviews and recommendations of real people before buying a product or service.
They feel that this leads them to a safer decision.
How does UGC contribute to it?
UGC is content created by customers themselves, highlighting the benefits of products or services they use. Through user testimonials, brands look more reliable and established.
In fact, 93% of marketers agree that customers trust the content other customers create.
UGC is such an effective type of content as it leverages word-of-mouth marketing. This adds the element of trusted recommendations to the equation — a thing traditional advertising lacks.
Actually, 88% of consumers say that recommendations from family and friends influence their purchasing decisions.
So, aside from the trust factor, what else makes UGC more suitable than other types of content?
We’ll cover that right now!
Reason #2: Growth in Authenticity and Relevance
People trust others because they perceive them to be genuine.
Unfortunately, this authenticity is often missing from many brands as they follow the typical social media playbook.
The problem is that people can’t tell which brands are worth their trust, so consumers have become more selective.
They choose brands that are relevant and align with them.
A survey revealed that 90% of consumers say authenticity is important in helping them decide which brands they support.
So, brands should offer more personalized experiences to their customers, which is possible through UGC content.
This type of content is different from high-quality branded content.
The purpose of UGC is to convey authentic content from customer experiences and share it with other people.
According to the Stackla research we mentioned above, consumers are 2.4x more likely to say UGC is more authentic than branded content. What’s more, only 1% of millennials prefer curated content created by brands.
So, consumers are looking for genuine content that helps them select the brands that fit them well.
Now let's see what else UGC offers to consumers.
Reason #3: Customers Are the Central Focus
UGC takes a different approach than brand-created content.
Traditional content focuses mainly on the advantages and benefits of brands' products or services.
Even though this content is often helpful for digital marketing strategies, it has some cons for consumers.
In fact, 45% of people will unfollow a brand on social media if it's too pushy or salesy.
The main problem with branded content is that customers aren’t the central focus.
On the other hand, UGC offers a human-centric approach based on consumers' feelings and experiences.
UGC also aligns customers with brands by achieving 28% higher customer engagement than branded content.
Content produced by users and exploited by brands is win-win for both parties.
Brands leverage what is a very efficient form of content while those creating it grow their audience.
At the same time, a relationship of reciprocity is created with the consumers.
They feel that their stories have value, are recognized by their favorite brands, and help them create new contacts.
Reason #4: Increase in Exposure and Reach
Every marketing campaign aims for exposure to a larger audience through social media platforms.
The interesting thing about these platforms is that they promote the content with a lot of engagement.
This happens because their algorithms identify this content as pleasant for users, thus promoting it organically to a target audience.
Through content campaigns that actively involve users, companies achieve enormous exposure and boost brand awareness organically.
And here, UGC comes in.
Your visibility increases by motivating people to create content for you and post it on their profiles.
Accordingly, using UGC attracts more views. For example, on YouTube, UGC videos receive 10x more views than quality content produced by brands.
Apart from consumers, user-generated content can be produced by:
- Brand loyalists
- Content creators and influencers
Especially in combination with influencer marketing, UGC campaigns can grow exponentially.
But let's see how all this transforms users into brand advocates.
Reason #5: Expansion of User Loyalty and Community
As we mentioned previously, UGC enables consumers to participate in the brand's growth.
This strengthens brand loyalty because people become part of a larger community of people who share common experiences.
As humans, we tend to form communities with people who get us.
Many successful brands have grown this way. Some well-known examples are Harley-Davidson and GoPro.
There are tons of branded hashtags for GoPro, with millions of posts created directly by users.
GoPro consumers are loyal brand advocates, and their content is linked to the possibilities offered by the brand's products.
GoPro has created a UGC strategy through which it builds connections with people.
Also, through these social networks, brands get more conversions, as we’ll cover in the following section.
Reason #6: Boost in Conversions
User-generated content should be part of every brand's content marketing strategy for conversions.
This type of content helps potential customers convert. According to research, 78% of Millennials find UGC helpful when making purchasing decisions.
This is because UGC works as social proof due to the testimonials and online reviews of real people.
A study by Bazaarvoice supports this claim, with 84% of millennials saying that UGC plays a role in their buying decisions.
In addition, there are many niches in which consumers become brands’ best ambassadors.
For example, when you wear a brand's t-shirt, you promote it indirectly to your circle.
Similarly, people create content to showcase their purchases, experiences, and usage.
Finally, let's say that product reviews can be used on landing pages or on ecommerce websites to increase conversion rates.
All this is good, but is a UGC campaign cost-effective?
Let’s find out.
Reason #7: Cost-Effectiveness
Compared to other marketing initiatives, UGC is more cost-effective for many reasons.
First, it’s not necessary to outsource the process to an external marketing team. A small in-house team can handle a UGC campaign.
Since the users themselves create the content, all you have to do is distribute it.
When your customers’ content is featured on your profile, it's enough to bring them closer to your brand.
This option refers to leveraging UGC content organically, through content that users created themselves.
However, there is the possibility to use social media marketing to a greater extent in collaboration with content creators.
While this method requires payments, it remains cost-effective, and there are ways to minimize costs while increasing awareness.
For instance, brands can collaborate with nano influencers (1,000–5,000 followers) who charge between $31 and $315 per social media post. Nano influencers are valuable partners for brands leveraging UGC since they have the highest engagement rates.
Don’t know where to find this type of creator?
You can connect with any type of content creator or influencer who fits your brand through Insense. On our platform, you can find partners to run your own UGC campaigns.
Now we’ll proceed to the following section, where we’ll see how brands can scale through UGC.
Reason #8: Scalability
The goal of every business is to grow and scale through its marketing efforts.
Based on the benefits we analyzed earlier, you can understand the value of UGC for smaller businesses or retailers.
But let's assume that all these benefits of UGC combined could lead to business growth. The question might be … how to use UGC for scale?.
First, UGC builds trust and an active community around brands.
So, you build an audience who become loyal to your brand and promote you to their loved ones.
In short, word-of-mouth marketing is leveraged organically.
Since we mentioned organic, it’s important to mention that UGC is an inexpensive and easy way of distributing content.
Summarizing the above, we understand that UGC is an economical way that has many benefits in various areas of a business. It enables you to:
- Build an audience
- Distribute content
- Build trust
- Close more sales
All this is very useful for the scale of any business.
Now let's get to the creative part.
Reason #9: More Content Diversity
As we mentioned earlier, when it comes to UGC, users do the creative part, and you do the distribution.
However, this does not mean that distribution doesn’t require creativity.
The idea is to repurpose the material you receive from users and distribute it across all your channels.
Clearly, social media is one of the main channels of content distribution, but you shouldn’t limit yourself to them.
For example, product reviews can be used on landing pages on ecommerce websites to increase conversion rates.
The content distribution should follow your sales funnel or better your consumer's journey.
Social media is a part of this funnel, but you may have a website or a newsletter, and even more channels that your customers engage with.
However, the same video will not be suitable for sharing across different channels. Keep in mind that each platform has different requirements.
For example, on TikTok, you can only publish short video content. Therefore, your videos will have to be adapted to the channel used.
Having said all that, let's look at some of the more common types of UGC:
- Social media posts
- Online reviews
- Unboxing videos
- Live streaming
You also have many options with content repurposing. One great example is that you can use UGC as a source for a detailed case study for your website.
Any type of visual content produced by customers can be UGC as long as there is some product placement or it conveys an experience of a product or service.
Let’s take a look at UGC’s unique approach.
Reason #10: A Humane Look for the Brand
UGC is an effective tool to promote brands in a very humane manner.
This type of content is mainly based on consumers’ feedback and their interaction with the company.
UGC can enable brands to look approachable and promote a person-to-person connection.
The first step in using UGC for a more humane look for a brand is to offer incentives for existing customers to share content about their experiences.
In addition, brands can use UGC content to further a deeper connection with customers.
By inviting customers on social media to share photos, stories, or tips that they find helpful, brands can connect with them in meaningful ways.
Also, UGC feedback can help brands put a face on their product or service, allowing them to further engage customers by making them feel closer to the company.
Lastly, brands should respond to every post, comment, or message from customers as it shows that the company values them.
Doing this can also strengthen the relationship between customers and the brand, leading to more loyalty and trust in the long run, which is invaluable in today's business landscape.
Before we close this guide, let's recap.
Now Over to You
Now you know all the reasons that make UGC an essential tool for marketers and brand owners.
The benefits of UGC amount to a strong positive effect for both brands and consumers.
If you want in, but don’t know where to start with UGC, we’ve got you covered. Book a demo with Insense, and one of our team members will be there for you.
We’re looking forward to your UGC campaigns!