Why You Should Include User Generated Content in your Marketing Strategy
Whether you’re just beginning a campaign for your new eCommerce business or you’re a seasoned marketing professional, one thing is very clear — User Generated Content is a valuable asset that should be utilized in your marketing strategy.
What Is User Generated Content or UGC?
UGC is content shared on social media or reviews written by product users online.
This kind of content isn’t promoted directly by a company but instead is shared by the consumer to show their love and appreciation for a certain product or service. This could be a creator wearing Nike on Instagram or somebody raving about their good experiences at an Italian restaurant on Facebook.
UGC has been utilized by B2C companies for a long time, and more recently by B2B companies as well. Some of its primary benefits include increased credibility, deepened trust in the quality of a brand’s product due to social proof, and even a sense of community among users and brand followers.
Why Should You Utilize User Generated Content?
Listed below are the various reasons why UGC is a great addition to any marketing strategy:
User-Generated Content Has Been Proven To Work In The Past
UGC isn’t a new concept — it’s been around for years. Do you remember in 2014 when Starbucks hosted their WhiteCup Contest? The objective was to draw a design on your Starbucks cup, snap a photo, and share it on social media with the hashtag #Whitecupcontest. The winner would have their design featured on a limited edition Starbucks cup.
The result of this campaign was over 4,000 social media users submitting their entries, and brand awareness for Starbucks skyrocketed in the United States and Canada. This is a great example of a successful implementation of User Generated Content. Consumers would scroll through social media in the morning, see new entrants' posts, and be reminded to stop by Starbucks and grab a coffee before work.
Another brand that uses UGC to its advantage is the clothing brand, Fashion Nova. They’ve built a pretty big following on social media and encouraged women who buy their clothes to snap a photo in their new outfit and share it with the hashtag #fashionnova or #novababe. They also tell their followers to tag them in photos featuring their products for a chance to show up on the official Fashion Nova Page.
Both of these are well executed UGC strategies that resulted in huge ROI and lots of conversions. UGC has a history of driving more traffic to a brand’s website and putting its products in front of new people more likely to make a purchase.
People Trust User-Generated Content More Than Other Forms Of Advertising
Statistics show that people are more likely to purchase a product after seeing User-Generated Content — either in the form of a social media post or an online review.
According to Slacka, 79% of people say UGC highly influences their purchasing decisions. UGC doesn’t solely mean influencer-created content or somebody with a large following. It can also mean listening to referrals from peers or trusting a smaller creator on social media.
The reason UGC works so well is that people like to see other people getting value from a product or service without the brand paying that person to advertise the said product. It offers more authenticity than a brand deal where the creator has to say good things about the product.
As consumers, we trust other consumers first, and statistics suggest that seeing User Generated Content on social media deepens our belief that the product being used is of high quality and value.
According to a TurnTo Network study, 90% of shoppers found User Generated Content to be the most influential form of advertising, even outweighing the effects of email marketing and search engines. This means that more people are buying products directly from their social media feed than Google searches.
That puts a lot of power into the hands of the brand with an effective social media presence and a good amount of User Generated Content.
You’ll Rank Better on the Search Engine
As weird as it may seem, User Generated Content can have a direct effect on your search engine ranking. What do you do after seeing a product being used on your Instagram feed? Usually, you do your research.
You browse Google for the brand’s website, scan the product page for a few minutes reading the trusted reviews, and then make your purchasing decision.
As User Generated Content drives traffic to a brand’s website, Google begins seeing that website as popular and valued by internet users, therefore ranking the website higher on the search engine and putting it in front of a lot more people.
After all, when was the last time you went to the fourth or fifth page of Google when searching for something?
User-Generated Content Saves You Time and Money
When somebody posts about your brand without being paid, you’re saving money and time on advertising efforts because that’s free promotion.
Let’s say you incorporate a brand-specific hashtag and over time more users post photos with that hashtag featuring your products. When those photos get engagement such as likes and comments, the Instagram algorithm sees the photos as valuable and puts them in front of more people on the explore page. This expands your brand's reach, increases purchasing potential, and ultimately offers you more free advertising.
It’s a win-win for everyone — the users get to feel a sense of community and you get to witness more conversions.
How Do You Implement User-Generated Content Into Your Marketing Strategy?
There are a lot of ways to encourage users to share your content with their peers and followers, and the best thing to do is brainstorm and get creative. Think outside the box like Starbucks and hold contests that raise brand awareness. Incorporate a brand-specific hashtag and offer to repost users’ photos on the official brand’s page. Host giveaways and make posting a photo mandatory to enter. Be authentic with your followers and increase trust with social proof.
When it comes to marketing and User Generated Content, the possibilities are endless. So draft up some ideas and start benefitting from free advertising.