In marketing, Mari Smith once told that content is king but engagement is queen, and the latter rules. However, with the rise of user generated content (UGC), you can equally play with both to win your game. So what is a user-generated content? It is any type of content, such as images, videos, essays, blogs among others, made by consumers that helps in promoting a brand (Gallegos, 2016). User generated content empowers consumers to connect with their fellow consumers as they share their fresh ideas and personal experiences about your product. Hence, if you have not tapped user generated content as a marketing strategy as prices for essay writing services differ, you may begin by following the steps listed below:
Choose Beneficial Social Networks
Know where your audience frequently hangs out, especially where they are most influential. Recent researches showed that adults spent almost half a day everyday interacting with media and five hours of which were spent on consuming UGC on social media. Moreover, UGC social media gives 300% higher engagement through clicks and 50% lower cost as compared to traditional advertising (Ross, n.d.). Besides, customers are two times more likely to share UGC to their friends and family (York, 2019).
In addition to your target audience, you should also consider your goal in social network selection. For instance, if your aim is to increase awareness of the people about your brand, you may want to utilize hashtags to track how it trends. There are several social media platforms to choose from and here are some examples of user generated content that have succeeded for each:
- Facebook: It is the market leader with 2.27 billion active users as of January 2019 (Statista, 2019). It is great site for sharing videos and stories that can possibly go viral. An example was Toyota’s “Feeling the Street” campaign (2015) that gathered more than 1.2 million likes, comments and shares thereby boosting their ads engagement by 440% (Gallegos, 2018).
- Twitter: In spite of its character limit, it is valuable for its shareability and visibility. Twitter originates the use of hashtags and is a great platform for images. A notable example was Starbucks White Cup Contest last 2014. To join the contest, consumers designed Starbucks white cups and tweeted a photo of it with a hashtag #WhiteCupContest. Indeed, it has captured the interest of the crowd with 4,000 entries in just a span of three weeks (Gallegos, 2016).
- Instagram: It is a go-to site for visual UGC. Consumers are just tired with overly edited pictures from brand advertisements. Instead, they crave for real stories. An example is the #AerieReal campaign. With this UGC, Aerie promotes body positivity by encouraging its regulars to be the models of their clothing company by posting their photos on Instagram, regardless of body shapes and sizes. Furthermore through this user generated content campaign, donations are continuously raised for National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) (Zaius, 2018).
- YouTube: It is a promising social network for micro influencers. A study revealed that in YouTube, user-generated videos about a brand were ten times more likely to be viewed than the brand’s official video. Thus, YouTube is a win-win site for both the brand and consumer advocates.
Specify Targets for User Generated Content
A SEMrush study showed that 86% of companies have attempted UGC marketing; however, according to GoodVid only 27% of them do it right. Therefore, it is important to set guidelines and determine your objectives before venturing UGC. Here are some example of target goals:
- Heightened engagement: Increase audience participation through social media contests by encouraging them to post, comment, share, mention and tag you as they share their experience with your product. In return, you can give them rewards and incentives. You can also collaborate with social media influencers that can spark conversations (York, 2019)
- Increased conversion rates: 82% of customers take into account UGC in making purchases (Zaius, 2018). Thus, you should aim to increase your conversion by enabling reviews, feedbacks, product unboxing and showcases (York, 2019)
- Established trust and credibility: 70% of consumers were likely to trust images captured by ordinary people like them as compared to brand images (Aksenova, 2019). You can gain trust by gathering real stories and testimonials. On the other hand, your followers may have questions and negative comments. Take this as an opportunity to answer and respond accordingly in proving your credibility.
- Educate your users: Nowadays, there are several YouTube tutorials made by consumers themselves. For instance, the GoPro YouTube channel features how their customers use their cameras in different ways (Boachie, 2018).
- Save resources on creating content: UGC is cost-effective and time-saving marketing strategy, as you outsource your consumers for content creation. As we understand user generated content definition, UGC are made available publicly by unpaid costumers. Moreover, it was discovered that 25% of search results for the world’s top 20 biggest brands were links to UGC (Aksenova, 2019). Hence, effective marketing is simplified through the use of UGC.
Ensure Relevant Content
You should be clear and specific on the type of UGC that you ask. Specify your rules and guidelines especially on social media contests with giveaways and campaign hashtags. Likewise, you should consult legal counsel for compliance and copyright laws (Siu, 2019).
Moreover, relevance means that your content connects to your consumers’ interests, needs and wants. UGC appeals to your audience as it broadcasts personalized content and authentic stories.
Meanwhile, the brand benefits of user generated content are only achieved with relevant UGC. These include engagement, shareability and better SEO (Search Engine Optimization) rankings (French, n.d.).
Build Your Community and Improve It Constantly
As you engage your users inside your brand circle, interact with them by all means. They should feel valued by receiving their reviews, answering their questions and being present during product launches. You can conduct social media polls and/or customer surveys to gain their insights towards product improvement (French, n.d.)
Additionally, you should communicate with the creator of UGC before taking further action. Make an agreement with them as you share their UGC, to acknowledge them appropriately (York, 2019).
Analyze and estimate your work
Gauge and evaluate your UGC works by looking back at your goals. You can get help from Sprout Social through their social media analytic tools and social listening tools. These tools can monitor UGC engagement and analyze your social data, respectively.
User generated content is a booming marketing strategy that uses digital content made by the consumers themselves. Do not miss its benefits. You can start using it by choosing an appropriate social network, specifying your goals, ensuring relevance, building your community and analyzing your work.
Header Image: Adweek