User-generated content (UGC) is video, audio, imagery and text that is created by users of a product or service and distributed through social media platforms. User-generated content is either organically produced when a user genuinely likes the brand, or it is commissioned as part of a collaborative sponsorship agreement. Both forms of user-generated content are valuable to a business in more ways than one, so here is a closer look at how and why you should be using user-generated content.
Why Is It Important?
User-generated content is important for a number of reasons. First, it’s a great way to complement your branded content and restock your content library with additional pieces of content. When content is developed by users, it takes pressure off the demand to continually createunique website, social media and email content. Second, user-generated content is essentially free publicity for your brand. When genuine customers share your brand with their social media followers, even if it is only their direct friends and family, the brand is being exposed to a new audience and the user is acting as a micro brand advocate. Third, research suggests that consumers are more likely to trust the opinion of their peers rather than branded marketing material, so user-generated content is great for brand awareness and exposure too. For some statistics about the importance of user-generated content, such as '80% of all online content is user-generated,' check out this blog post by Newscred.
How Do I Find User-Generated Content?
User-generated content is splashed across most social media platforms, blogs and Youtube channels, so you have to know where to find the pieces of content that relate to your brand. Start by searching through hashtags that are directly related to your brand (e.g. #collettedinnigan and #starbucks) and take a note of any great posts that have potential to be reused on your own platforms. On Instagram, click on the ‘photos of you’ tab (to the right, underneath your profile bio) to view a gallery of content that your brand is tagged in. If you are a scrunch user, any time your brand is mentioned in an @tag or hashtag on social media or blogs, it will come straight into your inbox, so you don’t have to go searching.
Moving forward, a great way to ensure you find all user-generated content that is relevant to your brand, create a unique hashtag and encourage your customers and influencers to use it when talking about your brand on social media. Some great examples of this include Nike’s #justdoit and Tourism Queensland’s #thisisqueensland.
It could also be a good idea to start working with influencers and bloggers who can create user-generated content through sponsorship and collaborative campaigns (that’s where we can help!). Check out this article we wrote on working with bloggers and get in touch if you have any questions.
I Found Some Content, Now What?
Once you have found a collection of high-quality user-generated content, it’s time to start pushing it out through your social media platforms and publishing it onsite. Perhaps you could do a weekly or monthly blog post with your favourite pieces of user-generated content to show potential customers how others use the product. For social media, user-generated content is perfect to include on your feed to complement your in-house content, as long as you gain permission to reuse the image credit the original user in the post. Continue to monitor branded hashtags and encourage your customers to share the love on social media.
Remember, you don't own user-generated content and like influencer content, you should always seek permission to share and never edit.
4 Tips To Encourage Users To Share Content About Your Brand
- Give them something worth sharing. Whether it is cute packaging, an element of personalization or a fantastic product, give people something to share and a lot of the time they will do it. Consumers love to share their opinions, so encourage feedback and give them something positive to share.
- Encourage customers to tag your brand on their social media uploads. Perhaps you could pop a note in your Instagram bio that reads “We’d love to see you enjoying our product, so don’t forget to tag us!” to encourage them to upload and tag your brand in the picture so you can find it, and their followers can find you too. Alternatively, you could include a note alongside all purchases that details your social media handles and branded hashtags so customers know who and what to tag.
- Offer an incentive. An incentive doesn’t have to be grand and monetary, it could simply be “tag us for your chance to be featured on our page” or “upload a photo of your new purchase and go into the draw to win…” Trial a couple of different incentives and see if one call to action works better than the rest.
- Create a campaign that drives user-generated content using one of these strategies.