Every minute the web receives a deluge of user-generated content (UGC.) To help give you an idea of the magnitude of the amount of user-generated content being generated on the web, Facebook alone has 350 million photos and videos uploaded and shared every day by its user base. Oftentimes, customers share photos and videos that describe their experience with the brands they shop.
Savvy brands are taking note and tapping into the power of user-generated content; 86% of businesses already make use of user-generated content advertising in some form.
The benefits of UGC for business are threefold; it has a peer to peer level of authenticity, it expands brand awareness to the customer’s social following, and it provides immediate customer feedback on how the customer is using the product they purchased.
User-Generated Content Definition
What is user-generated content? Quite simply, user-generation content is any form of visual content created by users online and made accessible through social media. This content includes: photos, videos, gifs, YouTube videos and even Vines.
User-generated content can be either negative or positive based on your customer’s experience with your brand. However, one thing consistently will reign true: user-generated content lets customers partake in shaping brand message. But user-generated content is not something marketers should fear. Instead, it should be celebrated and leveraged: 81% of customers say that their purchase decisions are influenced by their peers’ posts on social media. Given this exposure and influence, fostering and encouraging the creation of consumer generated content should play a central role in any businesses’ marketing strategy.
Why User-Generated Content is a great use of budget for your company
Today, almost every company has a part of its marketing department dedicated to tracking social media trends. More often than not, the purpose of this is to keep brands up to date on what’s trending online and to see if and how they can participate in the conversation. In order to do so, many brands also have a team of content creators in order to keep up with content demands and to avoid content fatigue. At a time when marketers are looking to stand out in a crowded newsfeed and engage with key customers, user-generated content can be a silver bullet.
Today’s consumers have experienced a wide set of advertising campaigns across many different marketing channels-- from Snapchat to highway billboards. Yet being force-fed marketing and ads doesn’t generate trust. User-generated content does. Roughly 82% of shoppers today say that they consider UGC as extremely valuable when deciding on whether or not to buy a product. As a result, when products advertised with UGC are 2X as likely to be sold. Point blank, consumers trust in the recommendations of their peers. User-generated content websites drive more sales.
In order to scale content creation at a low cost while simultaneously driving more ecommerce sales, why not defer some content creation and distribution to your customers?Here are three takeaways:
- User-generated content has an element of authenticity; Potential buyers want their peers opinions, not that of your marketers.
- Secondly, 48% of online consumers consider UGC to be a great way to find and learn about new brands and products-- it’s great for product discovery.
- Finally, using UGC in your marketing lays the groundwork for a mutually beneficial relationship between brand and customer. Brands who reach out to loyal customers and engage with them more effectively will be considered more human.
How to Get User-Generated Content
Given the sheer volume of user-generated content present across social media channels, many marketers and advertisers have turned to their loyal customer base to showcase their brand’s products and lifestyle. These customers fall into two general categories: brand influencers and everyday brand ambassadors. The social media influencers have huge followings and typically get paid to feature brand products in social posts. But everyday brand ambassadors serve just as well if you target the right ones. Ann Handley says it best, “Don’t confuse size with influence. The key to a successful influencer program is to uncover and align with those people who have the trust and respect of their audiences--not just those with the most followers.” Find your brand influencers, connect with them, and ask them to participate in content creation and distribution. If you’re new to the concept of influencer marketing download this end-to-end guide here.
Trust is the predominant recurring theme in a customer’s decision-making process to buy. Today, products reviewed by an individual’s peers are the most trusted form of recommendation. Understanding and implementing strategies to make the most of user-generated content is essential for a company to grow its brand and to drive more sales.