Content marketing, at its core, is all about providing value to the user while promoting a brand. However, as a seemingly infinite number of companies now utilising a content marketing strategy using influencers, sponsored posts, and social media ads; it’s becoming progressively more challenging to depict authenticity to consumers.
What Is User Generated Content?
User-generated content (UGC) is by its definition “any content produced by an unpaid user of a product or service”, this means that when a brand’s followers are producing content for a brand, the brand can then leverage this content to their advantage.
It’s been proven time and time again that word-of-mouth is the most influential form of marketing. Consumers are 90% more likely to believe suggestions from friends as they are to believe claims made in traditional advertising, take a look at this handy infographic on the Invesp blog for more statistics on word-of-mouth.
To get the ball rolling with UGC brand will often start a campaign encouraging consumers to take images or videos with their products with the goal of the user then sharing this content, and the brand, within their social circles. UGC is also significantly low-cost because it doesn’t cost the brand resources for their consumers to share content on their behalf.
Should You Use User-Generated Content?
Yes, brands should aim to engage with consumers to create content, and this is because of all the benefits USG can offer to brands with low resources some of the benefits include community, resonance, and a fuller content calendar.
When users create this type of content, they are also establishing a sense of community with their audience surrounding the brand. As well as this sense of community, the content also gives a heightened sense of authenticity, credibility, and reliability; and all of these give the consumers trust and social proof for the brand from which they are yet to purchase.
As an alternative to a marketer creating content, they believe will resonate with consumers, getting your consumers to generate marketing content is a powerful strategy, especially considering the low cost to a brand. Consumers are aware of what they want, so by allowing them to create the content, the content is more likely to connect and resonate with viewers.
UGC can also take the burden of content creation off a small team, by re-circulating UGC brands can easily fill their content calendars.
Encouraging User-Generated Content
Here are some of the best ways to encourage your current consumers to create content on your brand's behalf:
· Running social media contents
· Leverage hashtags
· Offer rewards
· Host consumer photos on your website
· Convert effective content creators into brand advocates
· Ask questions of social media
· Post about a cause your brand cares about
· Share reviews and testimonials
User-Generated Content in The Future
The future of UGC will be for brands to truly own their UGC, by gaining control of the content, type of content, topics, etc.; brands will be able to influence the conversation surrounding a brand is happy customers selling to soon-to-be happy customers. Brands that can gain control over their UGC will experience higher returns.