Using user generated content is the best way to turn your customers into your promoters. The 21st-century consumer has come to expect recent reviews and high-quality customer product photos at each stage of the buyer’s journey. Therefore, working user generated content into your overall marketing strategy is essential to add value to your brand and spread awareness of your products and services.
What is User Generated Content?
User generated content or consumer generated marketing is any content (photos, videos, reviews, etc.) that is created by people rather than brands. Essentially, think of user generated content as online word of mouth.
Why is User Generated Content Effective?
21st-century consumers are more active in their purchasing decisions: choosing who to engage with, who to follow on social media and ultimately who to buy from. According to Adweek, 76% of people trust content shared by an ‘average’ person more than a brand. Therefore, using user generated content is hugely important to your overall marketing strategy.
User generated content helps you connect with your customers at every stage of the buyer’s journey. You can increase brand awareness, build relationships and boost engagement among your community using a mixture of professional marketing and consumer generated marketing.
Why Should My Business Use User Generated Content?
1. Promotes Authenticity
It seems strange that people turn to social media for human connection, but that is the world we live in. Yet, user generated content is typically seen as the most authentic and influential form of content online.
2. Builds Trust
With the rise of influencer marketing on social media, YouTube product unboxings and more, shoppers can freely engage in conversations about products before purchasing. User generated content builds trust with a brand, showing that consumers just like them are using the product.
3. Provides Social Proof
A huge 75% of customers share a positive experience with a brand over social media, according to Sprout Social. Using user generated content can help to make consumers more confident that they are making the right purchase.
4. Create Brand Loyalty
Use social media to create a brand identity that consumers can and want to relate to. Use online conversation and hashtags to build an online community with your product or service at the heart.
5. Create Brand Desire
Create excitement within your online community. User generated content makes your products and services accessible to others, even if they are not directly purchasing.
Using consumer generated content is a great way to build up your content library and fill in any gaps in your content, which is great if your planning has hit a brick wall. Repurposing content can save you time without reducing quality.
If you weren’t already convinced, ComScore found that when consumers are exposed to a mixture of professional marketing content and consumer generated marketing, brand engagements rose by 28%!
7. Show Your Appreciation For Your Customers
Good customer services goes a long way. According to Sprout Social, 70% of people are more likely to purchase from a company after a positive social media interaction! Engaging with your customer’s posts allows you to respond quickly to what your customers say about your brand.
8. Encourage Users to Post More About Your Brand
Sharing your customers’ content on your social media and website can create a positive feedback loop and ensure a steady stream of content to be shared. So when users create and share posts that feature your brand, this exposes your products and services to their audience, and widens your reach!
The Best Platforms for User Generated Content
Each social media platform has its own analytics tools to help you measure your success against your goals. Choose which social network is best for your company, based on your target audience. If you need help with refining your target audience, check out our blog on how to create a buyer persona in 4 easy steps.
Facebook is great for sharing photo, video and stories. You can easily repost content with credit to the original author by pressing the “share” button or upload the piece of content to your page and tag the author, known as a ‘shoutout’. You can also add your own caption to the post.
Get involved in conversations on Twitter using hashtags and trending topics. We encourage you to use photos in tweets to increase shareability: 35% of tweets that include photos see more retweets! To share content, simply press “Retweet”, or post to your account and tag the author’s handle.
Instagram is considered the ‘holy grail’ of user generated content. The visual platform is made up of photos, videos and story shares, with the option of longer videos in the IGTV and Reels functions. Credit the original author by reposting content and tagging the user’s handle.
Keep your content relevant and professional on LinkedIn. Promote your content in line with your brand, and share from company pages or profile to profile, while remembering to include credit.
Using Pinterest for business is a valuable marketing opportunity not to be missed. The platform has great potential for brand awareness and is an easy way to reach your target audience by creating relevant boards for existing and potential customers who might already be interested in your industry. Plus, “saves” show clearly where the original content comes from, so no need to worry about tagging.
Improve your brand engagement by hosting quizzes, surveys and polls across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. These provide a bit of fun for your community, as well as provide valuable insights into consumer behaviour to work into your content strategy and long term planning.
If you’re still unsure which social media platform is best for your business goals, check out our complete guide to social media for UK companies.
Best Practices for Using User Generated Content
- Always request permission repost content
Tag the original author in a comment, caption or on the post itself.
2. Give credit where credit is due
Always credit the original author, even on social media.
3. Use a branded hashtag
Use a branded hashtag for promotion on all platforms, including your website and product packaging.
4. Run social media contests
A social media contest is a great way to create excitement within the online community. Collect entries with reposts and hashtags, or host design competitions and watch your engagement fly.
5. Share relevant content
Don’t just share promotional content, share anything relevant to your brand that could encourage future users to engage.
6. Engage with your community
Social listening is important. Connect with your customers by answering questions, engaging or reacting to posts and shares, and give recognition to your supporters
7. Add social sharing buttons to your website
The footer, contact page and product pages on your website are great places to encourage social sharing. Go the extra mile and add social sharing buttons to your email signature, and add a thank you to your landing page.
8. Be clear about what content you’re looking for
Share content that is in line with your wider marketing goals, and on platforms that you know your customers use.
Examples of User Generated Content
Apple’s 2019 #ShotOniPhone Campaign
Darren Soh (Singapore), iPhone Xs Max from Apple
Apple invited its customers to submit their best photos taken on the iPhone camera, to be featured on billboards in select cities, in retail stores and online. The campaign followed the release of the iPhone Xs, iPhone Xs Max and iPhone XR, but was open to any iPhone owner. Customers from across the globe entered the competition, which showcased the quality of cameras across the iPhone range. The user generated content helped to shape a great community, and show that Apple appreciated its customers.
Creating content that resonates with your audience is important, but it can be difficult. Using user generated content can take the pressure off content creation and allow you to connect with the online community cultivated around your product at the same time. Sharing user generated content can increase brand loyalty and increase your reach to a wider audience, it’s a win-win!
If you need any help with creating your social media content strategy, contact our professional and friendly team with any questions.