The Power of User-Generated Content: A Must-Know Strategy for Brands in 2021
As consumers become more discerning and digital-savvy, traditional advertising methods are becoming less effective. In response, many brands are turning to user-generated content (UGC) as a way to engage with their audience and gain their trust. In this article, we’ll explore what UGC is, why it’s so powerful, and how brands can leverage it to take their marketing to the next level.
What is User-Generated Content?
UGC refers to any content that has been created and shared by a brand’s customers or fans. This can take many forms, such as social media posts, product reviews, blog comments, and user photos or videos. The key factor is that the content is being generated by people who are not employed by the brand, but rather are sharing their own experiences and opinions.
Why is UGC So Powerful?
There are several reasons why UGC is such a valuable tool for brands in 2021. Here are just a few:
1. Builds Trust: Consumers are more likely to trust content created by their peers than content created by brands themselves. According to a survey by Stackla, 86% of respondents said that authenticity is important when deciding which brands they like and support.
2. Increases Engagement: UGC encourages consumers to actively participate in the brand’s messaging, which leads to higher engagement rates. For example, a social media post that features UGC is likely to receive more likes, comments, and shares than a brand-created post.
3. Cost-Effective: UGC is often free or low-cost for brands to acquire, especially compared to traditional forms of advertising like TV commercials or print ads.
4. Expands Reach: When people share UGC on their own social media channels, it can reach a wider audience than a brand’s own advertising efforts.
How Can Brands Leverage UGC?
Now that we’ve established why UGC is such a powerful tool, let’s dive into how brands can use it effectively.
1. Encourage Customers to Share: Brands can invite customers to share their experiences on social media using a branded hashtag, or by featuring a “customer spotlight” section on their website. This can generate a constant stream of UGC that can be repurposed in other marketing efforts.
2. Highlight UGC in Marketing Materials: Brands can incorporate UGC into their advertising campaigns, website, and other marketing materials to provide social proof of their brand’s value. This can include embedding social media posts on product pages or featuring customer reviews in email newsletters.
3. Offer Incentives for Sharing: Brands can provide incentives for customers who share UGC, such as discounts or exclusive content. This can encourage more people to participate and generate even more UGC.
4. Monitor and Moderate: It’s important for brands to monitor the UGC they receive and moderate any inappropriate or negative content. This can help ensure that UGC is aligned with the brand’s values and messaging.
UGC is a powerful and cost-effective tool for brands looking to build trust and engage with their audience in 2021. By encouraging customers to share their experiences, highlighting UGC in marketing materials, offering incentives, and monitoring and moderating content, brands can leverage UGC to take their marketing efforts to the next level.
1. Is UGC only effective for certain types of brands?
No, UGC can be effective for any type of brand. It’s all about finding the right approach and identifying what types of UGC resonate with your audience.
2. How can brands incentivize customers to share UGC?
Some common incentives include exclusive content, discounts, and shoutouts on social media.
3. Is it always a good idea to highlight UGC in advertising campaigns?
While UGC can be a powerful tool, it’s important to ensure that the content aligns with the brand’s messaging and values before highlighting it in advertising campaigns.
4. How can brands ensure that UGC is authentic and not staged?
Encouraging organic UGC and monitoring content for authenticity can help ensure that UGC is genuine and not staged.
5. Are there any legal considerations to keep in mind when using UGC in marketing materials?
Yes, brands should ensure that they have the necessary permissions and rights to use UGC in their marketing materials, including photo releases and copyright laws.