Have you ever wondered what is user-generated content (UGC)?
You’ve probably seen UGC campaigns on social media without realizing it.
Think back to that product your favorite influencer snapped on Instagram. Did it make you want to pull out your credit card and buy it?
That is the power of user-generated content marketing.
In this post, we’ll explain what user-generated content is and how you can use it to improve your digital marketing strategy.
What Is User Generated Content (UGC) Marketing?
User-generated content (UGC) or consumer-generated content is brand-specific original content that customers publish on social media and other social networks. There are many types of UGC, including photos and videos, reviews, testimonials, and more.
Here is an example of user-generated content from Alexander McQueen:
Where Can You Get User Generated Content?
You can get user-generated content from various sources online. The most popular places to get user-created content from are:
- Customers – Unboxing videos, shopping hauls, and praise-filled posts are all types of UGC that customers share online. Many customers share content like this automatically, but you can also ask them to share their feedback after purchasing.
- Brand Advocates – Loyalists are your most dedicated customers. Because they’re willing to shout from the rooftops about your business, they’re the best people to ask for specific UGC.
- Employees – Your employees can also share UGC to show your brand’s value and story. Behind-the-scenes content and videos about your company can help establish your brand identity across social media.
So far, you know what UGC is and where to get it, but why is it so important for your business? Let’s find out.
What Are the Benefits of User-Generated Content?
UGC is an effective marketing tactic to engage potential customers and increase conversions at all stages of the buyer journey. Moreover, you can use this customer-focused content on social media and other channels, such as landing pages, email marketing, and even your checkout page.
Here are several other benefits of featuring user-generated content in your marketing material.
1. Increases Authenticity
Competition is fierce online, with many brands fighting to capture and keep their target audience’s attention. Consequently, shoppers are more selective about the brands they engage with and purchase from.
60% of marketers agree that authenticity and quality are important features of successful content. And there’s no other content that’s more authentic than UGC.
Ultimately, people trust other people, so think of UGC as the modern version of word-of-mouth marketing. The more authentic your content, the more users will engage with it and potentially buy your product or service.
2. Improves Trustworthiness
UGC is also an excellent way to improve trust in your brand. In fact, 93% of marketers say that consumers trust content from customers more than brand-generated content.
It makes sense, given the influx of fake news and failed mass marketing campaigns like the Fyre Festival.
Essentially, shoppers use UGC as a trust signal in the same way they’d ask friends and family for an opinion. As a result, UGC can shine as precisely that: a personal recommendation.
3. Establishes Brand Loyalty
Besides establishing trust, UGC allows users to contribute to your brand’s growth instead of watching from the sidelines. This can influence brand loyalty because people aspire to be part of something greater than themselves, and UGC lets them become part of a growing community.
UGC can also spark conversations between brands and consumers. With this level of interaction, you can build and grow an engaged community, develop audience and business relationships, and drive more brand loyalty.
4. Influences Purchase Decisions
In the bottom stages of the buyer journey, user-generated content can be highly influential. At this stage, you’re looking to convert your audience and encourage them to make a purchase decision.
Because UGC acts as authentic social proof, it indicates that your product is worth buying. For instance, your target audience sees people just like them using or wearing your product, which convinces them to buy it.
You can even show your fur babies using your product just like Casper does with this UGC Instagram post:
5. Cheaper than Influencer Marketing
Did you know that the average price of hiring an influencer can run into the millions? In comparison, the cost of asking customers to share posts enjoying your products is next to nothing.
UGC is a cost-effective way to grow your business and introduce new marketing strategies. Moreover, you won’t need to spend money hiring a creative agency to create brand assets and content for your campaigns.
Instead, all you need is to connect with your audience. Many customers and content creators will be excited to have their content featured on your channels.
Smaller brands find UGC much cheaper and more accessible than investing in large brand awareness campaigns.
6. Works with Social Media Shopping
Shopping from your favorite social media channels is the future, and many networks like Instagram and TikTok, already include eCommerce features. The main draw of social media shopping or social commerce is it allows users to shop directly from their social media app instead of leaving it to complete a purchase.
For instance, you could be browsing the Instagram app and pause on a cute pair of shoes. After tapping for more product details, you can buy it and complete the purchase right inside the app.
Social shopping and UGC work beautifully together because UGC influences conversions. Plus, around 80% of people say that UGC informs their purchase decisions, making user-generated content and social shopping an excellent match.
Now that you know how UGC can benefit your business let’s dive into the different types of user-generated content you can use in your marketing campaigns.
What Are the Different Types of UGC?
There are many different types of user-generated content that span social media, blogs, websites, and other marketing channels. Here are some of the best types of UGC:
Best Examples of User-Generated Content
Regardless of your business size, UGC can boost brand awareness, improve customer experiences, increase social engagement, and drive conversions.
Here are some user-generated content examples from popular brands to inspire your next campaign.
1. GoPro YouTube Channel
The video equipment company GoPro uses UGC as a long-term strategy to grow its YouTube channel. In fact, its top videos were all filmed initially by customers, racking up millions of views combined.
These videos cost GoPro virtually nothing to produce, yet they’re the cornerstone of its marketing success online. The brand’s strategy is so successful that they now have an awards show and post photo challenges to inspire their audience’s creativity.
2. Shakira’s Girl Like Me TikTok Challenge
Product companies aren’t the only brands that can benefit from user-generated content. The entertainment, music, and movie industry can also go viral with UGC challenges.
In this example, Shakira helped launch a challenge for her song with the Black Eyed Peas.
The branded hashtag challenge encouraged users to recreate the dance from the music video, generating over 275m+ views and fixing the song firmly in the collective consciousness.
3. Wayfair Instagram Profile
Wayfair, the popular online marketplace, utilizes its Instagram profile to encourage its audience to share photos and videos of Wayfair products in their homes. By using the #WayfairAtHome hashtag, they collect and post the best content and give credit to the original creator.
The profile has over 55 thousand posts using the branded hashtag, demonstrating the brand’s popularity, trustworthiness, and authenticity to its audience. It’s also a great strategy to grow your Instagram followers.
Now that you have a little inspiration, what are the best tips for collecting user-generated content?
Tips for Collecting User-Generated Content
You could have hundreds of excellent user-generated content ideas, but the success of your campaign relies on careful planning, patience, and learning from your results.
Follow these UGC tips when creating your user-generated content strategy.
1. Ask for Permission, Always
You should always ask for permission when sharing user-generated content on your social media channels. Even though people may use your branded hashtag to share original content, they may not realize that you intend to re-use it.
Resharing original content without express permission can harm goodwill and annoy some of your most loyal brand advocates.
When seeking permission, show the original creator that you appreciate their post and get them excited about you sharing it with your audience. Doing so will also help you avoid any copyright infringement concerns.
2. Give the Original Creator Credit
When you get around to re-sharing any content on social media, ensure you credit the original content creator. You can tag the user’s profile in the caption and explain whether you’re using their image, video, or words.
In this example from Explore Brighton Howell Area, they credited the original UGC creator by mentioning their name in the image caption.
3. Clarify the Type of Content You Want
User-generated content creators want to share their content. That means they probably also want you to tell them which kind of content you’re most likely to share.
Only around 16% of brands provide clear guidance on which types of UGC they want users to create and share. However, over half of consumers want brands to tell them what to do for UGC.
Don’t shy away from offering clear instructions, and make it easy for your audience to share content that fits your needs perfectly.
4. Set Clear Goals
If you’re unsure of what fits with your brand’s marketing strategy, you won’t know which kinds of UGC to ask for. It’s great when people tag you in shiny photos, but how can you use it to further your marketing goals?
First, look at your social media marketing strategy and ways UGC can fit with your marketing goals. For instance, if your goal is to raise brand awareness, a branded hashtag UGC campaign would be ideal.
Next, create a simple statement based on those details, telling users what content you’re most likely to share.
Once you know what you need, share your statement anywhere your target audience engages with your brand, such as:
- Social media bios
- Inside other UGC posts
- On your website
- In your brick-and-mortar store
- Inside your product packaging
After collecting and sharing UGC, you’ll need to see if the results have impacted your goals. You can measure your campaign’s success with analytics tools on your social platforms or with your favorite social media marketing tool.
You can also use Google Analytics to track metrics on your business website.
For instance, if you have a WordPress website, you can use MonsterInsights to get actionable insights inside your WordPress dashboard.
How to Collect User-Generated Content with RafflePress
This post has given you plenty to consider, but we couldn’t end the post without mentioning one of the best ways to collect user-generated content: online photo contests.
Because giveaways and contests are popular content types, they’re an excellent way to boost engagement and grow brand awareness. Plus, if you have a WordPress website, you can use RafflePress, the best WordPress giveaway plugin, to drive traffic to your website, grow your email list, and much more.
RafflePress makes it super easy to create any giveaway on your WordPress site and share it with your wider social networks. With several pre-made giveaway templates and a visual drag-and-drop builder, creating a giveaway only takes a few minutes.
RafflePress provides a variety of entry actions to suit your needs, whether you want to grow your social media following, collect user-generated content, or grow your email list.
For example, with the Submit and Image action, you can run a photo contest and ask users to submit photos using your product to qualify.
And with the refer-a-friend action, you spread product awareness with word-of-mouth marketing.
Follow this step-by-step guide to create a photo contest for your business, or click the button below to get started.
We hope you liked this article and it helped you learn what user-generated content (UGC) is. You might also like this tutorial on selling digital downloads with WordPress.