The Power of User-Generated Content and How to Get It

The average person isn’t just consuming content. They are creating and sharing it at a rapidly growing rate. Every month, the average Facebook user will create 90 pieces of content a month. Over 500 million tweets are sent every day, and around 3.7 blogs are posted.

People post over 95 million photos and videos per day to Instagram, which could also explain why Instagram recently rolled out a feature to upload up to 10 photos and videos in one post. Thanks to the proliferation of mobile devices and social media, the average person is generating a ton of content. In the marketing world, this is referred to as user-generated content (UGC).

What is user-generated content?

User-generated content, also known as consumer-generated content (CGC), is anything that your users or customers create related to your brand or product. Often, people think of photos, but UGC can come in many forms such as:

●      Wikis

●      Forums

●      Podcasts

●      Blogs

●      Videos

●      Social media posts

●      Reviews

When UGC is brand-related, it could increase sales, build customer trust and produce dozens of other benefits.

Why Should User-Generated Content Be a Top Priority

On average, Millennial consumers spend 5.4 hours every day with user-generated content─that’s more than any other type. They also find UGC 35% more memorable than regular content.

1. Considered more trustworthy.

User-generated content is like electronic word of mouth. On a global scale, people trust their peers for recommendations. In fact, they seek out the advice of their peers before making a purchase.

According to a research study from Nielsen Global Trust, 83% of respondents from 60 countries reported that they trust the opinions of friends and family. Consumers, especially Millennials trust UGC 50% more than any other form of media.

2. Influences purchasing decisions.

In a survey by Wyng (formerly OfferPop), 85% of individuals said that photos and video uploaded by users were more influential than branded content. In another survey on Millennials, UGC influenced purchasing decisions 20% more than any other media.

3. Improves search engine rankings.

When users post content related to or mentioning your company or products, it leaves a trail that Google picks up. This trail can positively impact your SEO. It is reported that links to UGC comprise as much as 25% of search engine results for the top 20 largest brands in the world.

4. Takes some of the content workload off you.

One of the top benefits of user-generated content that is often overlooked is that it lightens the content load for busy business owners. Along with producing content at an accelerated rate, people are also consuming it like crazy. Based on the latest report the average American adult spends 10 hours, 39 minutes a day consuming media, a one-hour increase. Churning out high quality content on a regular basis while running a business can seem impossible.

With user-generated content, businesses can share some of the content creation responsibilities with their customers and fans. At the same time, businesses can reap serious rewards with UGC. However, you must know how to capture and use it effectively.

How to Incorporate User-Generated Content Into Your Strategy

User-generated content can be an extremely powerful tool for your company. Yet, many businesses still aren’t sure how to get it or harness it for marketing and brand success. Luckily, many companies have had effective user-generated campaigns. Here are some top examples that brands can learn from, and possibly implement in their own business. 

Create an ambassadors program.

Brand ambassadors are users that take consumer-generated content to the next level. They are often your biggest fans and promoters. Offering them opportunities to talk about your brand can help you connect to other customers and enhance your reputation.

Two brands that have paired UGC and ambassadorships well are theSkimm and CoverGirl TheSkimm is a media company best known for its daily email newsletter that sends subscribers the latest news in an easy-to-skim format. Their “Skimm’bassadors” are involved in everything from grassroots marketing campaigns and product testing to brainstorming new ideas and providing feedback to theSkimm team.

When it comes to user-generated content, the beauty and cosmetics industries are some of the most active. CoverGirl and other makeup brands have long paired up with celebrity ambassadors for their products. Recently though, they have gained media attention for diversity and inclusion by selectingsocial media stars, James Charles and Nura Afia as beauty ambassadors.

Empower users to create or innovate.

Consumers want to see your product in action. Encouraging customers to share videos and pictures of their experiences is a great way to increase engagement.

Lego has mastered the UGC game. Lego Ideas is their site dedicated completely to sharing fan creations. Individuals can upload photos of their Lego sets, and even get them produced if they garner enough support from the rest of the community. After 10,000 supporters, ideas are reviewed. If approved, it becomes a Lego set sold worldwide.

Personalize it.

One of the most successful UGC campaigns is Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke”. The campaigns was so engaging that you may remember your own social media feeds being flooded with Coke bottles labeled with names like “Ashley” and “Chris”, group names like “friends”, and emoticons.

The award-winning campaign generated a massive amount of buzz. During the U.S. campaign, hashtag #ShareaCoke was shared over 250,000 times in posts by social media users. The Wall Street Journal also reported that the brand’s soft drink sales in the United States had a 2% boost after the campaign.

Hold contests.

Starbucks’ White Cup Contest encouraged customers to customize their cup with their own artistic designs. They promoted user-generated content by giving customers the opportunity add their own personal touch to the plain white Starbucks cups and share it with the rest of the world on social media. The winning design was recognized as a limited edition Starbucks reusable cup.

The campaign increased engagement on their social profiles with thousands of entries submitted (over 4,000 entries in 3 weeks). It also gave them thousands of visually appealing user-generated photos of their brand.

When you craft user-generated content campaigns, you want to have a tangible piece of media that can potentially be repurposed. However, it is critical that you are absolutely clear and upfront with your users about how their UGC will be used by your business. You will want to create a set of guidelines, submission rules and usage rights that they must review and approve to submit content. For contests and giveaways it as a necessity.

The key to getting user-generated content is to connect with customers and inspire them to share their experiences with your brand. If you haven’t addressed user-generated content in your marketing strategy, ask yourself: How successful is your brand if people aren’t talking about it?

As user-generated content dominates the web and our lives, it is also becoming highly influential to businesses’ bottom line. Brands that embrace UGC have a competitive-edge, are viewed as more trustworthy and can build long-lasting customer relationships. Interested in starting your own user-generated campaign? Have more questions about UGC? Connect with 10twelve to learn more about how we can help you grow your business with UGC, content marketing and other services.