What Is User-Generated Content?
User-generated content (UGC) is content created and shared by users of your product or service, such as videos, images, reviews, or testimonials.
All social media channels rely heavily on UGC. Imagine what LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram would be without the photos and videos generated by its users.
How Can User-Generated Content Help My Business?
User-generated content lends a sense of authenticity by giving your customers a voice and relying on storytelling to help sell your product or service. People find it easier to relate to people like them.
The financial benefits of using UGC should be obvious. It is content that users entirely create, and all you must do is figure out which to use in promotions. It worked wonders for Air France by increasing their click-through rate by 11% for digital ads simply by using UGC over branded images.
UGC effectively kills two birds with one stone by saving time and reducing or eliminating the cost of generating the images or videos used to promote a brand. Travel brand Busabout, for example, saw a 350% increase in its social media audience using UGC while significantly decreasing its content creation costs.
It is sort of like having your customers do the work for you. If they like your brand, though, they probably don’t mind.
People are more likely to trust people they know rather than impersonal brands. It’s using the psychological tool of social proof or word-of-mouth advertising. 79% of consumers say UGC influences their purchase decisions, and two-thirds trust online consumer opinions. That is why reputation management is so important.
How Can I Get More User-Generated Content?
Tracking what your customers are saying about you is very helpful. You may be able to find something that someone is creating without any effort on your part. Of course, asking them if it is okay to use it is essential, especially if it is a photo or video.
An ice cream shop could have a contest to come up with the summer’s featured flavor. After gathering the submissions, the shop owner could create a poll and submit it on social channels. The story of the winning customer’s appreciation of the ice cream shop and how they chose the flavor could be great UGC.
Video testimonials are a compelling form of UGC. Asking customers to send a video is a good starting point. Calling them and rekindling the relationship is crucial. Follow up with an email after a couple of weeks.
Tip: Collect your user impressions at highly emotional times, like when they purchase something from you or open a box with your product. Send an automated email after a purchase asking them to rate their experience. Or put a QR code to a review request landing page inside the box so they can’t miss it—a great way to get an authentic review.
If done correctly, UGC can be a very effective tool in your marketing mix.