Picture it. You order a pair of shoes from a brand that has been targeting you incessantly on Instagram. You receive said shoes in the mail, try them on, and immediately decide these are the most amazing shoes you have ever come across in your life. You grab your phone, take a picture, post it to your Instagram page and tag the brand in your rave review. Voila. You have just created and shared user-generated content (UGC).
In this blog, we’ll explain what user-generated content is plus:
- Why UGC is important
- UGC by the numbers
- Five benefits of incorporating UGC in your content strategy
- A few examples of brands successfully leveraging UGC as part of their marketing mix.
What is User-Generated Content (UGC)?
User-generated content is any material, such as comments, reviews, photos, and videos, that is created by users rather than by the brand or business. It’s a powerful marketing tool as it refers to the content generated by people who have used or purchased the product or service.
Why Is User-Generated Content Important?
UGC is an excellent way to build a sense of community and authenticity around your brand. It allows consumers to share their experiences through personal accounts, which can enhance the credibility of your brand. By featuring UGC on your website, social media pages, and leveraging it across other marketing touchpoints, you can foster a deeper relationship with consumers, which ultimately leads to increased brand affinity, loyalty, and sales.
UGC by the Numbers
According to recent statistics, 90% of consumers say that UGC influences their purchasing decisions. But it’s not only sales that are impacted by third-party recommendations. User-generated content can also have a significant impact on the reputation of your brand. In fact, 79% of people believe UGC is more trustworthy than traditional brand-generated content and 72% of consumers trust peer reviews and customer testimonials more than the same messaging coming directly from a brand.
Still not convinced you need to be leveraging UGC? Don’t just take our word for it. More than 93% of marketers agree consumers trust UGC more than content created by brands.
Five Benefits of Incorporating UGC in Your Content Strategy
Brands that want to stay ahead of the competition need to start including user-generated content in their marketing plans. Here’s why:
Authenticity: Being genuine matters
Authenticity plays a critical role in building trust with consumers. User-generated content provides an authentic representation of a brand’s impact on consumers. People trust UGC more than branded content because it comes directly from consumers. Brands can leverage UGC to build trust and loyalty with their audience, giving their brand credibility over competitors. Take Beardbrand, for example, a men’s grooming brand that’s leveraging an affiliate marketing program to spread the word about their products. Beardbrand encourages customers to use their branded hashtag to share photos of their beard and personal grooming style. The content is repurposed on the brand’s social media pages and website, helping to build a community of like-minded beard-loving aficionados.
Cost-effective: Save money and precious time
Creating original content can be expensive and time-consuming for brands. User-generated content, on the other hand, is easy to acquire and comparatively affordable. By incorporating UGC into your marketing strategy, brands can save on production costs while increasing the quality and quantity of their content. Morphe, a beauty brand built by and for creators, has amassed over 1 million followers on TikTok largely by repurposing UGC on their feed.
Buzzy marketing: Let your biggest fans create share-worthy content
Asking for user-generated content is a smart way to encourage the most coveted of social behaviors: the share. It also increases brand awareness across social media platforms. When users post about your brand, they are spreading the word organically, reaching a broader audience than traditional marketing methods might. Take MVMT, for example. MVMT is a watch and accessories brand that encourages customers to share photos of themselves wearing their products. They feature many of these photos on their website and social media pages, thereby creating a unique sense of community among their most loyal customers. By encouraging UGC, brands can leverage the power of social media to reach more consumers and make a significant impact.
Engage with customers: Get personal with your customers
By encouraging UGC, brands are inviting customers to engage and interact with them and their products. This type of engagement shows customers that the brand values their feedback, opinions, and experiences. For example, Glossier is a skincare and makeup brand that has been leveraging UGC almost from inception. The brand encourages fans to publicly share their opinions and experiences with Glossier products and features many of these exchanges on its website and social media pages. As a result, Glossier has developed a cult-like following and now sells “Glossiwear” branded merchandise in addition to running an official affiliate program.
Brands that engage with customers on a personal level encourage a strong sense of loyalty, which can lead to repeat business and a higher customer lifetime value.
Diversify your content: Keep it fresh
Brands can benefit from the variety of content that UGC can provide. User-generated content comes in many forms, including product reviews, social media posts, photos, and videos. By incorporating these different types of content into their marketing strategy, brands can create a varied and exciting user experience for their audience. The diversity of UGC can also attract an entirely new customer base. Stasher is a brand that creates reusable silicone food storage bags. They encourage customers to share photos and videos of all the creative ways they use Stasher bags, which the brand is then able to repurpose. Not only does this expand product usage, but it generates a continuous source of fresh content for the brand. This practice also helps to showcase the versatility of their product and increases overall brand awareness.
By incorporating user-generated content into your content strategy, brands can tap into the power of storytelling and create an emotional connection with their audience. User-generated content can also help enhance brand credibility by showcasing the experiences of real consumers. Moving forward, it will be more important than ever for brands to integrate UGC into their marketing campaigns to stay relevant and connect with their audience on a deeper, more authentic level.