User-generated content (UGC) is content that promotes a brand that is created independently by customers not commissioned by a company itself. UGC is created by consumers and customers who genuinely believe in a product or service. The type of content created can range anywhere from websites, blogs, photos, videos, testimonials, or social media posts.
Different Types of UGC?
With 375 million projected North American users by 2023, social media posts spread brand awareness and brand value across a vast audience quickly and efficiently. There are various campaigns and photo ops that companies can create to encourage photos, videos, or other social media postings that get the attention of potential prospects.
In the service industry, customer testimonials hold a lot of value because they speak to the quality of the customer experience your company offers. Publishing positive customer feedback on websites, your company profiles, or any other marketing media can help prospects to evaluate how well your organization can fill their needs. According to a 2014 research, testimonials are the most effective content with customer testimonials averaging at 89% more successful than other strategies.
Why is UGC Impactful?
Around 93% of customers look to UGC before making or finalizing a purchase, the more money a prospect is spending, the more research they will conduct. Buyers want to evaluate the most accurate representation of what they are purchasing before they make a commitment.
UGC marketing is meaningful because it focuses on amplifying the voice of customers instead of just corporate messages alone. It keeps the voices and faces of customers who appreciate your service front and center which not only keeps your marketing current and relatable, but it allows prospects to imagine themselves as the customer. Customer content is seen as more honest and reputable because they are unpaid. UGC is an appropriate approach for a wide demographic, research shows that 70% of all UGC is created and shared by customers between the ages of 25-54.
How to Incorporate UGC into your Marketing Strategy?
The 2016 State of Marketing report found that nearly 50% of content marketers were looking to leverage UGC. To maximize the effectiveness of a content strategy UGC is used in conjunction with professional content which studies show can improve the effectiveness of the campaign by an average of 28%. To encourage customer content, it can be helpful to create a hashtag to be used whenever your company is being shared on social media and share the content your customers are publishing. It’s also useful to position customer feedback prominently on your website or marketing materials to accompany professional content. This will also help to show you value your customers’ voice and initiate a chain of UGC among your customers.
Leveraging a variety of platforms allows companies to lockdown different channels ensuring prospects can view UGC media from the ideal platforms. For example, YouTube videos created by customers can get 10x the views and engagement of videos created by a brand’s actual marketing team. Videos also drive higher SEO and when short and concise can capture the interest of viewers quickly.
User Generated Content fosters a community of content creation that supports your professional marketing campaigns and often UGC can also be turned into a sophisticated marketing campaign as well when tailored to your customer behavior and values.