Making your way on social media is like running a never-ending race. You may have reached the top in Recommended, set a viral trend, or run a powerful advertising campaign today, but ultimately that's not enough to save you from being got around tomorrow. So you have to constantly please the algorithms, stand out from the competition, and come up with creative concepts to win over your audience.
Sounds good in theory, yet, the reality is not all roses. After all, brilliant ideas are a one-off thing. Nobody is able to generate them non-stop. It takes time to think up something truly worthwhile. Actually, what we lack in the modern digital world.
Since always being on a creative roll goes beyond human limits, well, why not turn your biggest critic into a loyal ally?
Keep on with the article, and you will learn what UGC is and how to use it to benefit your business.
Let’s Decipher UGC
Three letters turn into a self-explanatory term. The user-generated content is essentially any content related to a product or service designed without the brand's budget. To wrap your head around user-generated content definition, these are all materials that are published on the Internet by common users such as blog stories, comments, or posts on social networks, product reviews, unstaged videos or photos, forum discussions, podcasts, and more.
At the same time, many brands seek how to start UGC and indirectly stimulate the user’s desire to leave feedback. Get to know why.
The Main Benefits of User-Generated Content for Business
The main advantage of user-generated marketing is that it is relatively free. Unlike paid social media posts and glossy ads, you don’t have to invest heavily as users handle the process. They write scripts, take photos or shoot videos, and even promote content on social networks and in third-party communities on their own. So, no supervision on your part is required.
However, there is still room for no explicit costs. The marketing department is recommended to support the most active users. Gift merchandise or invite them to an exclusive event to get public favor. Such a strategy makes people share content on a regular basis to achieve more predictable positive results.
2. Trustworthiness and brand loyalty
There is nothing better for marketing and PR than word of mouth. When a company advertises itself, all, even the real advantages of the product, pass through a sieve of mistrust. After all, you are an interested party and play for the opposite team.
The situation changes greatly if a person not associated with the company spreads positive discussions and narratives, which increases the overall trust in the brand. So, give users something to talk about, and you will manage to non-intrusively bring attention to your business through independent reviews of your product.
3. The guide to purchasing decisions
This is especially true for Millennials and Zoomers. An astounding 97% of people between 18 and 29 say user-generated content in social media has an “extreme influence” on their buying choices. Consumer psychology holds that people are strongly moved by the principle of social proof. Seeing others successfully use the product will influence your purchasing decision without having your own experience.
When a business works with user-generated UGC content, such as responding to reviews and comments and reposting on social networks, it shows that the company is open to customers and values their opinions. After emotional bonds are successfully built, you will get not just average clients, but ardent fans and brand advocates.
4. A boost in conversion rates
Brands looking for UGC creators to increase their conversion rate. Photos from clients, reviews, videos, or any other feedback say much more about a product or service than advertising text or a professional commercial shoot.
Unstaged Instagram posts from real people give about a 30% boost in conversion. That is, approximately every third of visitor who pays for the purchase. Such
dynamics occur because this type of content reinforces the authenticity of the
brand and shows what the product actually looks like.
5. A positive impact on SEO
There are several ways that user-generated content can improve your website's SEO. Firstly, it ensures that the information published is up-to-date, as new or updated content is in high demand. Another benefit is that it helps you gain links from third-party platforms, thereby reinforcing the credibility of your business.
Mentioning a brand online or linking to a website strengthens your ranking among search engines. Although, for example, Google does not disclose its algorithms or say directly what factors best influence indexing, we all know that credibility and the use of high-frequency keywords for user queries make the difference.
We hope the basics are clear. So it's time you figured out how to create user-generated content and apply it in practice. Let's dive deeper and see some user-generated content examples that brands make use of to advance on different social media platforms.
The Starbucks UGC Case on Instagram
The company strongly believes in expanding and strengthening the brand through word of mouth and making itself visible in the consumer's life. This marketing strategy allows management to skillfully harness the creativity of their customers and use Instagram user-generated content to grow organically.
Starbucks learned to manage customers' excitement around seasonal holiday traditions to increase engagement. A huge number of people look forward to the #redcupcontest every year to share their photos on the platform and have the opportunity to win one of the five main prizes. And the signature red cups of this brand have become a real symbol of the Christmas mood.
To date, this campaign has generated over 35,000 publications! On top of that, the contest itself has a direct impact on sales as users have to buy branded merch with a unique design to go on with a photo.
The X UGC Case on Twitter
Well, just recently we heard the last tweet from the blue bird. And let’s face the music, not all users appreciate such a rebranding from Elon Musk. The situation gets even more complicated with the release of Threads from Meta. Therefore, in order to stay afloat and maintain its social rating, the platform needs to care even more about the audience's reactions.
And yes, they keep up with the burden, including through the internal resources of their own social network. The platform regularly retweets UGC that relates to the new features and policies on its official account. Here are some of them:
They not only keep an eye on information about the company itself but also closely monitor what reviews its direct and other competitors receive. The result is an effective strategy that allows you to highlight the advantages of the platform:
It is pretty vivid that Twitter is intentional about sharing tweets from followers, and it works. Basically, this is how any brand with similar content is able to grow its subscription and save workload and money.
The Coca-Cola UGC Case on TikTok
Along with regular users, business accounts resort to challenges to get tons of user-generated content and views for their branded hashtags. This way, you can increase brand awareness and help build a positive image among your audience by performing existing tasks or creating new ones, as Coca-Cola did.
The company launched an original marketing campaign in collaboration with Grammy-nominated artist Khalid. The performer shot a funny video for his new soundtrack Open and called on the audience to also express themselves by showing off their special talent, whatever that might be.
The original idea eventually stirred the target audience and the challenge went viral. The most active users could even get into the brand’s official account.
As you can see, the scope of the UGC application is wide and does not require a lot of additional effort from you. In fact, all you need is to look through new materials regularly and use them to your advantage.
The only thing you had better master is to interact with such content correctly. Since copyright belongs exclusively to the owner, it is necessary to carry out preparatory work before posting such materials on your account.
Let's learn to do it right.
Save Yourself From Troubles While Posting
Let's say you've got the publication to implement your marketing strategy. Well, ask the user-generated content creator’s permission to proceed with it. Write in DMs or leave a corresponding request in the comment section.
Most often, people appreciate the attention of the captains of the industry and agree to share the content for free. In rare cases, while dealing with macro-influencers or celebrities, you may be proposed to make a payment or barter. At this point, you either start working on a contract basis or continue searching among other users. There are many more of those who provide their photos and videos for free, so you are unlikely to cost a pretty penny, as is the case with a full-fledged advertising company.
Once permission is granted, you need to obtain the material in its original quality and resolution. The thing is that Instagram does not have tools for downloading. Of course, you can always write to the author and request it. And again this way you become dependent on another person, which is not always convenient under tight deadlines.
Try third-party services that allow downloading by link in one click without losing quality. Choose a tool that is relevant to the platform you are interested in. In particular, opt for Twitter Downloader if you need to download someone's tweet.
After the above steps have been completed, publish the edited piece, and don’t forget to tag the author. This way you will, firstly, make it clear that the content actually belongs to a real person, and secondly give a shout-out to a brand supporter.
The Final Thoughts
So we hope there are no questions remaining about what user-generated content is. It must be one of the most reliable and effective ways to gain the trust of your audience. By publishing user-generated ads, the brand pays less and gets a higher click-through rate (CTR).
Social media users, being sick and tired of targeted advertising, have learned to avoid direct digital marketing. A combination of user-generated content and marketing authentically entertains and gets the user familiar with the brand. This is why user-generated content is so important. So, if you have not yet introduced a user-generated content strategy to promote your brand, it is time to do so.