If your brand follows the best marketing practices, you probably already have adopted the user-generated content (UGC) marketing approach or have heard about UGC marketing before. In this tougher economic environment portions of budgets are being shifted from brand-generated to customer-generated messaging models. The popularity of novel marketing models like UGC marketing are thriving. Marketing is increasingly becoming more and more customer-centric. Least to say every successful marketing campaign, for instance, highly depends on how it resonates with the customer.
If you are in sales or marketing, it should not surprise you that UGC marketing is a powerful tool to leverage sales. A recent study by Stackla reported that over 79% of consumers say their UGC highly impacts their purchasing decisions. Furthermore, a whopping 84% would prefer peer recommendations above all other advertising sources, according to a recent report by Nielsen. So, as a sales or marketing expert, you can’t afford to include a UGC marketing strategy.
But what is UGC marketing?
UGC marketing is an overarching marketing methodology that unitizes user-generated content (or content produced by your community) to pass brand messaging to targeted audiences through multiple platforms, including social media. It is vital to note that UGC marketing revolves around user-generated content. As the name suggests, UGC content is based on user based content. It revolves around any form of content – including images, text, reviews, videos, etc., and is created by people as opposed to brands.
This article focuses on user-generated content and UGC marketing at large. Read through how this marketing methodology could revolutionize your sales funnel.
What is UGC in an ad campaign?
Brands tap into the user base communities and use their content in their ad campaigns. This is sometimes genuine and organically produced by their community. However, sometimes this is manufactured by brands and agencies like ours at House of Marketers.
Where does UGC take place?
UGC takes place anywhere and everywhere. Out on holiday vacation, at home, in the workplace or on a picnic at the local park, chances are that people have taken their phone. Everyday we snap photos and share them on social media. Unknowingly, most people produce UGC content for brands that they have an affinity with. So, typically user-generated content is everyday content that people share on our social media pages. It could be a comment on an TikTok video, a review of a service or product you purchased over the weekend, or an Instagram post showing off your latest purchase. If an everyday person’s post contains any form of brand messaging or promotion, then that can be classed as user-generated content.
Top Examples of User-Generated Content. Ways to produce UGC
Testimonials: Honest open opinions and experiences with a brand are an effective form of user-generated content.
Reviews: Reviews include content that examines a product’s or service’s benefits and downsides. Customers usually leave behind reviews on particular review sites of social media channels after making purchases.
Social media updates: Most social media updates that contain a branded message coming from a brand’s community, qualify as user-generated content.
Podcast mentions: Any brand organically mentioned by people representing a community in third-party podcasts are a great example of user-generated content. For example, someone calling in a radio station/podcast show and describing their experience with a particular brand.
Branded Hashtags: Branded hashtags are very simple way for users to promote brands.
Access 7 top user generated content examples here.
Possible sources for user-generated content
Customers as a source for UGC content: Your customers are your number one possible source for user-generated content. Content created this way comes from unpaid or non sponsored social posts your customers share when they are raving about a product or service.
Brand employees as a source for UGC content: Employees create UGC content and make superb brand advocates. While tightly controlled companies prefer putting together a typical ad, these ads sink without a trace if brand employees share them. On the contrary, research shows that random content like behind-the-scenes shared by brand employees works wonders. Besides behind-the-scenes posts, an employee can show how much they love their workplace.
Brand loyalists as a source for UGC content: Brand loyalists are the people that love your brand; they love your offerings and take no offence shouting about the brand from the rooftops. Like a typical customer, they are a good source for product/service reviews, for instance, which comes with the enthusiasm that will influence your prospects.
Sourcing User-generated Content for your Ad Campaign
In most cases, users generated content is produced organically. However, if things aren’t working this way, there are manual ways you can source UGC.
Review-based User-Generated Content
Rating and reviews are social proof of your brand messaging. They help you build customer trustworthiness, increase brand dependability, increase traffic to your website, and, most importantly, increase your conversion rate. Source reviews and ratings by allowing your clients/ customers to write a review and rate your services or products directly on your website, social media, or third party review sites like Google, Yelp, or TripAdvisor. Equally, you can encourage your customers to leave behind reviews and ratings through incentives like coupons, gift cards, or reward points.
Worried about negative reviews? Then use the first negative reviews as fuel to improve your product or service. Once you do this, the positive reviews will come flooding through.
Sourcing for dedicated hashtags
Build easy-to-identify hashtags and encourage followers to share their content using the hashtag. The best way to do it is via hosting social media contests, creating follow-up hashtags, and getting your participants to share their content on their social media handles alongside the hashtags. You can also incentivize the challenges or contests. For instance, you can place a prize for participants and creators who share their content using your branded hashtags.
Source UGC marketing content via gamification
This strategy requires users to participate and compete for set tasks. They are then rewarded and recognized for their participation. The participants are given some incentives, which motivates them to put in a little more effort. The most common forms of gamification include using leaderboards, badges, high scores, etc. Generally, the techniques help brands build long-term relationships with their customers, convert prospective customers, and turn them into loyal ones. It also encourages repeat customers.
How does UGC marketing work, and why is it so effective?
It is pretty easy to see why UGC marketing works. Often, we marketers are tasked with the responsibility of making sales. We do everything under the sun to place our products before prospective customers, usually through calibrated means that position our services or products in their ‘best light’ which often falls far beyond reality.
With the best angle, lighting, quality camera, and the help of photoshop, for instance, everyday people can make a one-star hotel look like a 5-star hotel. But why is UGC so influential? A survey by Cision PR Newswire revealed that 90% of consumers say UGC influenced their purchasing decision more than promotional content from brands. A similar survey by Turn to Networks revealed that customers say UGC creates an authentic buying experience.
UGC marketing is effective because it resonates with the audience. It is real, not exaggerated, and thus convincingly authentic to the customers. The content engages the user with unparalleled levels of authenticity. Consequently, with this heightened authenticity, brands can drive attention from customers and pitch their products and services naturally.
Benefits of User-generated content marketing for brands
UGC marketing widens reach and brand exposure
The goal of any marketing initiative is to reach a massive audience and generate quality leads for possible conversions. When creators share their brand-promotional content, it exposes your brand to unlimited reach that traverses geographic and demographic limitations.
A higher brand-customer engagement rate
The modern customer is not a fan of impersonal marketing. They prefer personalised marketing – communications that resonates and solves their problem. A user-generated content marketing campaign sets a conversation around your brand. It engages your customers and helps them connect more with your business. The more they are engaged, the more they will spend time with you and, in the end, have a positive attitude toward your business and your offering.
Creative and diverse content
It allows the brand to source creative thoughts from a sea of users who can give the business a different perspective by creating diverse, exciting, and engaging content.
UGC marketing helps businesses build brand trustworthiness
Building brand credibility is a determiner of your business’s success or failure. So, to succeed as a brand, you have to get it correct on brand credibility, and that is where UGC marketing comes in. UGC offers personalization and authenticity, which helps brands drive and improve customer trust and loyalty. Customers have developed cold feet for the self-promotion-styled style of content. Consequently, UGC marketing provides a perfect solution to this problem.
UGC marketing is less costly but an effective marketing strategy
Marketing is not a one-off event. It is a continuous process that is sustained by hefty budgets. So, relying on UGC creators makes a lot of sense, especially if you are on a budget. It is an assured channel for constant content supply at little to no expense, and the impact is enormous. For instance, algorithms are not that complicated by aggregating hashtags and comments on social platforms like TikTok. It is easy to go viral.
Going forward with user-generated content, building a UGC strategy
Do you intend to drive brand awareness and drive conversions? Building a UGC marketing strategy will help you release this goal. An ideal UGC marketing strategy has these three key components.
- It solves customers’ problems by responding to their real wants and needs.
- Must appear as personable and real as possible
- It must boost content that resonates with your audience
These steps will help you build a working and brand-friendly UGC marketing strategy.
Set up your goals
What do you want to achieve? Do you want to achieve awareness and conversion of both? Answering these questions will help you streamline your strategy into realisable goals.
Source for user-generated content
The next step is to think about how to get the content. Think about the rewards. How are you going to reward the creators? The goal is to incentivize content creators and encourage them to share your branded message. Prominent sourcing methods for UGC include running social media contests, branded hashtags, product/service reviews, etc.
Promote your user-generated content
The simplest and easiest way to promote the content is by featuring it on your social channel or publishing it on your website. You can enable customers to leave ratings and reviews of your products on your website for reviews etc.
Get micro-influencers and content creators to boost your UGC marketing campaign
Micro-influencers can help you generate virality. They are considered more affordable ways to advertise on social media than influencers. They often have very small followings or no followings. Further, they are just good at creating powerful, on-brand content. The content looks like everyday content that customers would produce. Micro-influencers have to the ability to connect and engage their audience. They are better placed to start the conversation and multivariate a deeper level of emotional connection with their followers. The rewards are immeasurable for businesses of all kinds.
Work with a Top TikTok Influencer Agency
Looking to outsource your user-generated content needs? Our UGC agency and brands often partner with smaller content creators to produce quality content. Our paid media experts then boost this content in ads to reach larger audiences. As a full-service TikTok UGC Agency, we take an integrated approach when building influencer marketing. You can learn more about our TikTok services here.
House of Marketers (HOM) is a leading TikTok Marketing Agency. Our global agency was built by early TikTok Employees & TikTok Partners, which gives us the insider knowledge to help leading brands, like Redbull, Playtika, Badoo, and HelloFresh win on TikTok. Want us to convert more of Gen Z and Millennials with TikTok? Get in touch with our friendly team, here.