User generated content marketing is a smart strategy that will help you get more mileage out of your content with minimal effort.
That’s because the power of user-generated content (UGC) lies with the people — your audience.
Ironically, content from your ideal customers also performs well with your ideal customers.
90% of consumers say UGC has more influence over their purchase decisions than things like promotional emails or even search engine results.
That’s why we need to discuss this topic — audiences love UGC and rely on it.
In this blog, you’ll learn about:
- The different types of UGC campaigns such as hashtag campaigns and branded content initiatives.
- How customer reviews and testimonials are powerful tools for building credibility with potential customers.
- The importance of incorporating real customers into your brand story by sharing their experiences through social channels.
By the end of this post, you’ll understand why user-generated content is essential in today’s digital world and how to use it for your own business goals.
More importantly, you will be equipped with actionable tips on how to leverage UGC within your own customer journey to drive results for your business.
Let’s dive in!
User Generated Content Marketing Table of Contents
What Is User Generated Content Marketing?
User generated content marketing is a powerful tool for businesses to increase engagement, build trust, and influence conversions.
It refers to original, brand-specific content created by customers and published on social media or other channels. Ultimately, UGC gives customers a unique opportunity to participate in a brand’s growth instead of being passive consumers.
Here’s a great example: the “share a Coke” campaign (who remembers this? 🙋♀️)
Coca-Cola added first names to their branding on Coke bottles, and people loved searching for them and showing them off when they found a familiar name. It created lots of buzz around the brand, and probably helped their sales a bit, too.
— Dan Gaken (@DGaken) September 21, 2019
To effectively leverage user-generated content as part of your marketing strategy, it’s essential to grasp the basics.
Take into account what type of content will work best for your promotional goals. It should come straight from your users — whether they’re happy customers, loyal fans, or people trying out what you sell. Photos, reviews, testimonials, case studies, or videos are all possibilities.
It’s also important to create an environment where users feel comfortable sharing their experiences with your brand.
This means providing incentives like discounts or freebies when they submit quality posts related to products or services they’ve used from you. This will encourage more people to engage with your company.
You’ll also gain valuable insights into customer sentiment, which can help inform future decisions regarding product development and marketing campaigns.
User generated content marketing can be a powerful tool to reach and engage with your target audience, as long as it’s used strategically. Grasping its potential for your promotional efforts can help you craft a successful, resonant campaign.
3 Benefits of Incorporating UGC into Your Strategy
All in all, user generated content marketing can prove invaluable for businesses looking to make their mark online.
And, research shows that consumers trust user-generated content more than traditional branded content when it comes to making purchasing decisions.
There are even more benefits beyond that, however. Let’s talk about them.
1. It’s Cost-Effective
Leveraging UGC is less costly than other types of marketing methods, such as influencer marketing or sponsored content.
Hiring an influencer can be steep. In contrast, asking your followers and customers to share content about your product or service is free.
Customers already create content about the brands they love — the question is whether you’re tapping into this well.
If you already have a lot of invested users and fans of your brand, you could be sitting on a huge opportunity to mix up your marketing.
2. It Increases Audience Trust
Next, since consumers instinctively trust UGC, showcasing it in your content marketing makes your brand more trustworthy by extension.
Think of UGC in terms of how much more personal it can be than branded content. To customers, USC often feels more like a friend’s recommendation than a brand promotion, and that’s powerful.
Consumers are 2.4x more likely to say user generated content is more authentic than branded content.
Other customers’ thoughts and opinions can provide prospective purchasers with an authentic, unbiased view of your product or service before they make a decision. Leveraging that in your marketing is a win-win.
3. UGC Builds Community
UGC can build a community around your brand and encourage engagement with customers — not just with you, but with other users.
Creating these throughlines fosters positive feelings and affinity with your brand. By actively reaching out to your audience and sharing their content, you’ll show you’re invested in their opinions and appreciate their insights.
Next, let’s talk about how to align your goals with UGC campaigns to ensure each step in the sales funnel is targeted to maximize your return on investment (ROI).
How to Align Your Goals with User Generated Content Marketing
Incorporating user-generated content into your promotional tactics can be a highly effective way to accomplish your brand goals.
Aligning UGC campaigns with your existing goals. Here are a few ways to do that.
Tap into Social Listening Insights
To create effective UGC campaigns, it’s important to stay in tune with the conversations happening on social media about your brand or industry.
Leveraging social listening insights can give you a better idea of what people are discussing concerning your brand, offerings, or niche. Then, you can use this information to develop more targeted campaigns that speak directly to customer needs and wants.
To do it, you need a good social listening tool. A few options include:
- Hootsuite Insights.
- Sprout Social.
With the help of one of these tools, consider tracking conversations around topics relevant to your business. Tailor your messaging accordingly based on what resonates best with target audiences across different platforms like Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
This allows for deeper personalization along the customer journey while still staying true to your core values. That’s important for forging an authentic bond between your company and its followers.
Struggling to get your content in gear so you can start making strategic moves that will grow your brand? You need a process in place — and I’ve got one you can use. It’s called the Content Process Blueprint, and it will show you exactly what a smart content creation process looks like, including templates, tools, and how to implement AI. Get the Blueprint right here.
Encourage Engagement at Every Level of Your Marketing
With UGC campaigns, it’s important to consider how they fit into each stage of the marketing lifecycle – from awareness through decision-making and loyalty – in order to maximize their impact on conversions.
For example, leveraging creative tactics such as contests, giveaways, or discounts that reward users for interacting with your brand help deepen engagement. By providing incentives for participation, you can increase engagement rates while also gathering valuable feedback about customer experiences along the way.
How to Leverage User-Generated Content Marketing in Your Strategy
User generated content marketing is a powerful tool to drive better results and build consumer trust.
Before you jump in, remember to build a consumer-generated content strategy so you have a game plan of how to strategically incorporate UGC into your content marketing.
Hashtagging is an excellent strategy to get users to create unique content related to your product or service.
To do it, create your own branded hashtag and share a “call for content” with your followers.
This can be based on a theme, a promotion you’re running, a holiday, or a special event. Or, if you just want to generally give customers the opportunity to show off and tag your product, create a branded hashtag that encompasses your company’s mission.
For example, Lululemon, the athletic wear company, created a general hashtag called #thesweatlife. Customers tag photos of themselves living that life and Lululemon reposts them.
Additional tips for hashtag campaigns:
- Always ask for the customer’s permission before reposting their tagged content.
- Give credit back to their account when you repost. Tag them in the photo or in the caption.
- Continually remind customers that your hashtag exists and how they can use it.
- Post your hashtag in an easy-to-find place, such as your bio or in a pinned post.
- Share UGC in multiple places. For example, on Instagram, you can post it to Stories, create a carousel post, or even feature it in a Reel.
Research shows that consumers place greater trust in other customers than they do in brands. Therefore, by leveraging customer testimonials throughout the customer journey, you can create more meaningful connections with potential buyers and existing customers.
You can and should share customer reviews on social media — but also consider other places where you can leverage them.
- Embed customer review posts on your website.
- Use them in content like blogs and case studies.
- Feature them in videos.
- Include customer photos and videos on your product pages to show how a real person looks using them/wearing them.
Great example: Target often features photos of real customers wearing its clothing on product pages. Customers who tag their photos #TargetStyle can be featured this way.
Creating Interactive Experiences through User Generated Images
User-generated visuals can create a dynamic experience for customers, helping them to form a deeper bond with the brand.
Interactive experiences through user-generated images can help build customer loyalty over time by creating memorable moments that people want to share online.
Businesses should remain aware of the latest trends to identify what type of visuals are most effective for their intended audience; this could encompass anything from GIFs, videos, photographs, or illustrations – depending on the kind of goods/services you offer.
Ready to Leverage User-Generated Content Marketing?
User generated content marketing can be a powerful tool for connecting with your audience and increasing trust and brand affinity at the same time.
Remember to get creative with UGC — you might be surprised at what could happen as a result. Your customers represent a giant well of creativity and untapped potential, and they might be the key that will help you take your content marketing to the next level.
And, don’t forget: This type of strategy is just ONE possibility for your brand growth.
If you truly want to rise, you need more.
- A solid business foundation underneath you: skills, strategies, and systems.
- To understand how to market your brand effectively (and yes, I mean content marketing).
- To know how to hire the right people and delegate smartly.
And I teach all of that in the Content Transformation System.
Yes — ALL of it. 💯
Ready to finally get your business foundations in place so you can fly?