User-Generated Content is A Social Media Strategy Must-Have

User-Generated Content is A Social Media Strategy Must-Have

Social Media Day is just around the corner (June 30th to be exact), so we gave our Social Media Specialist, Kae, a chance to choose our week’s topic. She opted to discuss user-generated content (UGC) and for good reason.

“UGC is a rising trend in social media, and I believe it’s here to stay!” Kae told us. “Not only is it a great way to promote your brand and/or product, but it also helps drive consumers’ purchasing decisions.”

It is increasingly apparent just how helpful user-generated content is to a social media marketing strategy. It gives businesses a chance to grow their social media engagement, brand awareness, and brand credibility, with no added cost. For those just hearing about UGC, today is a great day to learn what it is and how to incorporate it into your content marketing plan.

User-Generated Content Is A Social Media Strategy Must-Have
What Is User-Generated Content (UGC)?
Explaining What User-Generated Content (UGC) Is

We can bet that you’ve created user-generated content for other brands on social media, even if you didn’t realize that’s what you were doing.

UGC is content that is created by customers or clients to share information about and opinions on the products or services that they purchased. An example of this is a shout-out on Instagram to a coffee shop, raving about their new brown sugar latte, that also tags the business or uses their specialty hashtag. This type of content is a unique asset for any marketing strategy because it is fully organic but isn’t something that the business itself creates. It is created by customers or clients who have something to say about what a business has to offer.

All in all, this type of content can be extremely helpful with increasing brand awareness, traffic, and sales.

User-Generated vs. Influencer Content

We’d bet actual money that you’ve heard someone say, “Everybody’s an influencer these days.” While influencers were scare a decade or so ago, now the industry feels a bit…inflated. This doesn’t lessen the benefit of influencer marketing, but it does end up highlighting the uniquely important role of UGC.

At the end of the day, almost anyone can pay for an influencer but not everyone can get positive UGC.

With user-generated content, there is no bias created due to payment. It is a genuine way that consumers show what they love about your brand and the products or services that you provide. It is a completely voluntary act on their part, often stemming from a customer’s desire to share what made them happiest.

User-Generated vs. Influencer Content
How Using UGC Can Benefit Your Business

The idea of finding UGC to reshare on your social media may feel like yet another thing to manage. However, this can take work off your plate while simultaneously bringing in benefits.

1. Encourages Other Customers’ Purchasing Choices.

Encourages Other Customers’ Purchasing Choices.

UGC has a pretty big impact on whether someone makes a purchase. Search Logistic found that up to 79% of consumers have testified that their purchasing choices are influenced by UGC, and campaigns that incorporate it have a 29% higher conversion rate than those that don’t. But why? Well, because it is an honest display of whether someone thinks your product or service is worth it. Think about it—are you more likely to visit a restaurant that only has staged, photoshopped food photos on their Yelp, or one that has plenty of customer photos paired with mostly positive reviews? Fellow customers vouching for your business may possibly be one of the most effective types of advertising out there.

2. Increases Your Brand Awareness and Brand Credibility.

Increases Your Brand Awareness and Brand Credibility.

If you are doing a great job with your products and services, you absolutely want people to talk about it. Social media provides users with a place to share their real thoughts and opinions so, if they talk about your business in a positive light, it can work in your favor. Not only will a follower or customer sharing their experience with you spread the word about what you offer, it also adds credibility to your name.

3. Let’s You Learn from Positive and Negative Feedback.

3. Let’s You Learn from Positive and Negative Feedback.

We’ll be honest, social media can be a double-edged sword for some customer interactions. However, even negative feedback can prove helpful. A customer sharing the drawbacks of a product, such as a clothing item being larger than expected, can help reduce dissatisfaction as future buyers can adjust their purchases to accommodate for the size difference or just adjust their expectations going into the purchasing decision. Plus, it gives you a chance to engage with your audience to thank them for their feedback and highlight what solutions you are using to address problems they pointed out.

4. Helps with Content Creation Without Added Costs.

4. Helps with Content Creation Without Added Costs.

If you paid for user-generated content, it would just be another type of brand ambassadorship or influencer marketing. One of the best things about UGC is that it comes without any added costs aside from the time it takes to repost or reshare it.

3 Ways to Collect UGC

You can add UGC curation or collection into your content strategy to fit seamlessly with the rest of your content production. It may feel a little strange to do at first. Can you ask for it? Do you just earn it? The answer to both questions is yes!

Here are three ideas to get you started:

1. Provide Hashtags for Followers to Use.

We love hashtags. They are social media’s keywords. And they are a great way to generate UGC. Your customers can easily include custom hashtags (#marketingsimplified for example!) or the hashtags that you regularly use for your business in the content they post about your products or services. Not only does this increase your brand awareness, but it also makes it easier for you to find those posts to repurpose or reshare on your platform(s) once you receive the original poster’s permission.

Provide Hashtags for Followers to Use.
2. Turn Customer Reviews into Social Media Posts.

Customer and client reviews are an incredible resource for UGC. You can use text and images to create social posts that share what was stated in the review. This provides an unbiased way to show what people enjoyed about your products or services and can help increase the level of trust people have in your business. If the review comes in the form of another person’s post that tags your business, make sure to get permission before resharing or reposting.

2. Turn Customer Reviews into Social Media Posts.
3. Interact with Your Audience Organically.

Here’s when you can have some added fun with getting audience participation. For example, you can create a styling challenge to see who can style your clothing the best. This provides you with easy-to-reshare or repost content once you get the original poster’s permission. Or create a voting poll for your food items to see what a fan favorite is and then post the results. If you sell electronics components, ask your followers to share the most interesting projects that they’ve used your parts in. Or you can even just do something fun to interact with your audience like voting on which Daft Punk song is the best to play on a Friday. This method can both provide you with engaging content, improve your relationship with your audience, and even provide information about your target audience that will improve your marketing strategy.

Interact with Your Audience Organically.
Using UGC Requires Consent

You’ve probably noticed a common theme in the ideas that we’ve provided: consent. Reposting and resharing content are a core part of what makes social media unique. However, things can get sticky for a brand or business reposting content on social media because there is the potential that it can help them generate revenue. The best thing you can do to protect yourself is to ask permission before using any kind of UGC. It can save you trouble down the line and reinforce the trustworthiness of your brand with your followers.

Varga Makes Social Media Marketing Easy

Varga can help you create a comprehensive social media marketing strategy or take your current strategy to the next level. Reach out today to see how we can improve your organization’s social media engagement.

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Talk to Our Digital Marketing Specialist Today!

    Ready to strengthen your brand with social media marketing? Request a free proposal or give us a call at 949.620.4750

    Talk to Our Digital Marketing Specialist Today!

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