Content creation is an exhausting race where it's easy to lose your momentum. There are hundreds and thousands of content pieces being created every day by marketers like you, and they're planning on investing even more into it going forward. How can you keep up?
The answer is User-Generated Content (UGC).
It's cheap, it's effective, and it's easy to produce with the right strategy. Consumers love it: they’re 2.4x more likely to say UGC is "most authentic" compared to brand-created content.
UGC is a true marketing jack-of-all-trades.
If you were planning on building a community around your brand or increasing customer loyalty, then you're in luck. In this blog post, we’ll explain what UGC is, and give you eight tips for getting more of it from your audience.
Let’s dive in!
User-Generated Content is any content that has been created by users of a product or service. It could also be people showcasing their hobby or work-related projects. The content can be anything from reviews, social media posts, photos, videos, and so on.
A social post becomes UGC when a brand re-shares it on one or more of its platforms.
In the below example, Farrow & Ball, a paint product company, uses UGC to showcase their vibrant colors.
Source: Farrow & Ball
UGC is valuable for brands for two primary reasons:
First, it helps you create more content with less effort on your part. And second, it's more trustworthy than traditional marketing content. Ideally, it should be part of your marketing ecosystem and not just a one-off effort.
Think about it — would you rather read a blog post about how great a product is or watch a video of someone using it and giving their honest opinion? The answer is pretty clear.
For example, the official MAC Cosmetics Instagram account often uses videos created by makeup artists or amateur makeup aficionados:
Source: MAC Cosmetics
People are more likely to believe their peers than they are a faceless corporation. That's the power of UGC.
Now that we've talked about the why, it's time to get into the how. UGC is a goldmine for marketers, but only if you know how to tap into it.
Next, you'll get eight tips on how to garner more UGC from your audience.
Hashtags are a great way to get people talking about your brand on social media.
Aside from the community-building aspect, it's a useful tool to generate activity, too. Using a single hashtag on a post will get you 29% more interactions.
You can use existing hashtags that are popular in your industry or come up with one of your own. Research them using Hashtagify or Talkwalker. Once you have your hashtag, promote it everywhere — on social media, in email campaigns, on your website, and so on.
Make sure to give people a reason to use the hashtag. Here are some examples:
For example, Dove started a hashtag campaign on the apropos of their new movement to help build self-esteem. In their post, they asked people to take various actions, and they prominently featured the #NoDigitalDistortion label.
Remember, the goal is not only to get people talking about your brand. It is also a great tool to increase engagement for your brand.
If you want more UGC, you need to ask for it. It may seem obvious, but a lot of brands don't do this. They assume that people will share their content without any prompting.
The best way to get people to take action is with a strong Call To Action (CTA). This could be in the form of a button, an image, or even just text.
Here are some examples of effective CTAs:
The key is to make it easy for people to take action. If you make it too complicated, they'll simply move on.
Here’s an example from Vinyl Collection on Instagram:
Source: Vinyl Collection
Finally, don't forget to thank people for taking the time to share their content with you.
Your store or website is usually the anchor of your marketing efforts. So why not use it to collect UGC?
One way to do this in a brick-and-mortar store is by adding a sign that asks people to take a photo or send a social media post with a specific hashtag.
You may even want to add an incentive, like a discount or a chance to be featured on your website or social media.
Clothing brand, Boathouse, has a landing page for #MyBHLook and incentivizes people to use the Boathouse hashtag with a $50 gift card.
On your website, you can either feature the ask on the homepage or on your main campaign page. If it’s a hashtag that’s part of your brand storytelling, you can even include it on the "About Us" page or in the footer.
Finally, don't forget to monitor the hashtag so you can repost or share the content as soon as possible.
Influencers can be powerful partners in any marketer's tactics. They can reach a large audience and generate a lot of engagement. According to the Influencer Marketing Hub, for every $1 you spend, you can expect to make $18 with this tactic.
But what really sets influencers apart is their authenticity. When an influencer talks about your brand, people are likely to listen because they trust the opinion of someone they follow.
There are a few ways you can partner with an influencer to get UGC.
One is to send them products to review or use in a social media post. This is a great way to get started because it doesn't require a lot of investment on your part. You can also offer to pay them for a specific post or campaign.
Another option is to partner with an influencer for a contest or giveaway. Just make sure the prize is something that will appeal to the influencer's audience.
Finally, you can collaborate with an influencer on a piece of content. This could be a blog post, an infographic, or even just a social media post.
For example, Armani Exchange kept it simple with their anniversary collab on TikTok featuring influencer Panseri Yusuf.
Source: Armani Exchange
Giveaways are a great way to generate UGC. But if you really want to get people talking, make it a condition of entry.
For example, you could ask people to share your post with a specific hashtag or tag a friend in the comments. You could also ask them to follow you on social media or sign up for your newsletter.
Incentives are also important. So make sure the prize is something that aligns with your followers’ interests.
Source: Couple A Tools
If you want to generate UGC and get people talking about your brand, a voting contest is a great way to do it.
One thing to keep in mind is to ensure the vote aligns with your goals. Want more engagement? Hold a vote for the best customer service story. Looking to promote your new product? Hold a vote for the most creative use of your product.
No matter what type of contest you hold, make sure it's something that will get people talking about your brand.
When someone creates UGC (especially if unprompted!), it's important to make a fuss of them. This helps to show that you value their content and that you're grateful for it.
One way to do this is to share or re-share their content on your social media channels or feature them on your website or in your newsletter.
In the below example, Samsung re-shared a TikTok video created by a fan using a Galaxy S22.
Another way to show your appreciation is by sending them a personal message. This could be as simple as a post reply or a DM.
Aesthetics are important on social media. People love visually appealing content.
One way to make your UGC look great is to create an aesthetic element from the get-go.
Think Starbucks cups.
They have all the elements a marketer could ask for:
Sharing your drink from Starbucks on social media has become a popular trend because it looks good. The same principle can be applied to your own UGC.
If possible, use your business’ best selling points to your advantage in your visuals. These could be many things, such as the beauty of your environment (e.g., a restaurant on the top of a mountain), the level of prestige (e.g., Starbucks or luxury items), or other trends (e.g., recycling).
Now that you know how to generate UGC, it's important to understand the best practices for using it.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
UGC is often an after-thought for many marketers. Don’t let it be. Build your tactics into your marketing strategy from the get-go so that you have all the internal buy-in and resources to go through with the related campaigns.
User-Generated Content is a great way to connect with your audience and create content that is relevant and engaging.
Remember, your UGC is only as good as its promotion. Think up a hashtag, promote it on your socials, create a landing page, create a contest, and don’t forget to attach powerful CTAs to your promos. That’s it!
In a rut? Partner with influencers and currently engaged users to generate a bigger reach.
By following the tips in this article, you can be sure to generate high-quality UGC that will help your brand reach its goals.
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