What is UGC?
UGC stands for User Generated Content and it is exactly what it sounds like: it’s content created by your “fans”, content you didn’t plan nor paid for, but that someone decided, often by free will, to post. Photos, testimonials, videos, blog posts: UGC can take any form the consumer wants it to.
Why is User Generated Content so powerful?
UGC is powerful and the statistics prove it:
- 61% of people claimed they would be more likely to engage with an ad if it had UGC
- UGC is 35% more memorable and 50% more trustworthy than other types of content
- 90% of people believe recommendations by their friends and 70% trust other consumers’ opinions
The main reason why UGC works so well can be explained by the phenomenon of social proof (which, by the way, is the topic of one of our previous articles. Have you read it? No? Well then, go ahead and click here). If regular people like you and me, who are not being paid to say good things about a brand, are still doing it… the brand must be doing something well, right?
The benefits of UGC are undeniable:
- SEO: search engines favour unique content and websites that are active, both of which you can more easily guarantee by allowing your fans to leave comments and reviews on your website.
- Customers’ feedback and new ideas: UGC is literally your consumers’ opinions, so what better source of feedback on your current products/services, insights on how to communicate with your target in a way that will be relevant to them, ideas for future products and services? In a nutshell, why they are your consumers and what to do to keep them.
- A sense of community: people will be connecting through their experiences with your product/service.
- Cost efficiency: it ends up being cheaper than you creating your own content all the time.
How can I integrate UGC into my digital marketing strategy?
Here are some tips:
- Do your research and check your notifications, in order to find out what is already being said about your brand.
- Allow consumers to leave a comment, review or rating on your website.
- Adopt a hashtag that is easy to remember (as well as well thought out and well built). Once it starts catching up, it will be easier for you to find content created by your consumers. You can either do hashtag campaigns or have a brand, evergreen hashtag. And, of course, keep it visible in your marketing materials, both online and offline.
- Reward people for their content by running a contest or a campaign. This reward can be:
- A prize, like Lay’s did with its “Do Us a Flavor” contest, in which the brand challenged people to create their own Lay’s flavor, with the prize of 1 million dollars and the opportunity of seeing their chips on the market for sale;
- Points in a loyalty program;
- A share, like The UPS Store did with Instagram posts by small businesses with the hashtag #TheUPSStoreCustomer;
- The opportunity to help a charity organisation your audience feels passionate about, like the Leonard Cheshire Disability institution and its #100for100 campaign, where people would post something that involved the number 100, challenge two friends to join in the movement and donate £3 to the cause.
Keep in mind that you have to be careful about the legal questions because you will be using someone else’s creations. If you are doing a contest to get the content, simply state in the regulation that, by participating, the user is granting you the right to repost the content in your pages. If not, it is always a good idea to ask the user for permission and ensure them you will give them credit.
So the bottom line is, consumers make great advocates for your brand, so make sure you take advantage of that and give them a voice. 😉