UGC content is used on websites and social networks to promote a brand and is often more effective than ordinary content. What is it and where to get it? Here’s a complete guide on User-generated content to get fresh content, better customer reach and many other benefits!
UGC (User-generated content) is original content that is created by a brand’s audience. This content can be anything from blog reviews and comments to photos and videos.
Using UGC benefits both the company and the users. The company benefits by getting a fantastic amount of fresh ideas and unique content that could take them many sleepless nights to generate. In addition, most of the time the user-generated content does not require a serious monetary investment.
And UGC enables users to collaborate with their favourite brand, express themselves creatively, receive various rewards and discounts for doing so, and even make some changes of their own, however small, in the company.
Unlike conventional sales-oriented advertising campaigns, UGC campaigns are based on honesty and sincerity. At least that is the impression they give people (with very few exceptions).
What are the pros of UGC?
Let us take a closer look at the benefits of using UGC?
Audience confidence in the company
One of the most important bonuses you can get from using UGC is trust from users. When you show interest in your thoughts, ideas, feelings, show your openness, consideration and respect – you will engender a lot of trust in people.
Reach new users
Once people start to trust you, others will see it and there is a good chance that they will take an interest in your company. This is where the social proof phenomenon comes into play, which you’ve probably heard of more than once.
According to Crowdtap and Ipsos MediaCT, about half of millennials surveyed trust UGC more than traditional media. 35% of them cited user-generated content as the most memorable.
Social proof has a strong impact on people, and it can be used to greatly expand its audience. Thus, UGC allows not only strengthen the relationship with existing customers but also to reach new users.
The virality of user-generated content is likely to be greater than that of regular content, as people tend to share their creativity with friends, family and acquaintances.
Positive impact on SEO
User-generated content also has a positive impact on SEO. It increases traffic and unique links, which are important ranking factors.
Encouraging users to make a purchase
The hardest task for brands is getting people to buy their products. And according to a Stackla report, 60% of respondents said that UGC influences the buying decision and is the most truthful form of content.
Types of UGC
To help you understand what UGC is, what it is, and what it looks like, here are the types of UGC with the most interesting examples.
Here are the main types of UGC you may encounter on the Internet:
Yes, the comments that your audience leaves on your website are UGC. And it’s very important for a company’s image – if people leave feedback, it shows that they’re passionate about your business and have something to say back. In addition, users often share valuable experiences in testimonials, which can be of use not only to you but also to other visitors to the site.
Reviews are the most popular type of user-generated content when it comes to sales.
Of course, many users leave reviews themselves, but if you ask them to do so, the number of reviews may increase significantly. You can do this either on the website, on social media or in an email newsletter, for example.
Customers can be rewarded in various ways for the reviews they leave – for example, with a discount on their next purchase and other bonuses.
In very popular online shops, customers are happy to share their shopping experience, without any competition.
Reviews are similar to opinions, but they are more detailed and contain more evidence. Most often, detailed product reviews are used as this type of content, either in text or video format (they’re especially common for online electronic shops).
You can use a standard text format for reviews, or you can come up with something more original – ask customers to make a video review, take a picture, write a poem or a song about your product, etc.
Don’t forget about a thank-you gift either.
The reviews on IMBD can also be classified as this type of UGC – the film reviews published there have shaped the site’s image as one of the most ‘expert’ in terms of cinematography.
4. Design and artwork
A great way to attract new customers to your brand is to hold a design or drawing competition on a given theme. This, on the one hand, attracts many creative people to the brand who are looking for any opportunity to express themselves creatively and, on the other hand, motivates fans of the brand for new activities. And, of course, it is very profitable for the company, as it does not have to spend money on expensive designers.
To create a $1 reusable mug, Starbucks asked customers to draw their design on a white cup and send a photo with the hashtag #whitecupcontest to Twitter and Instagram. The winning design was used in a limited edition reusable mug.
This competition promoted active sales of the limited edition as well as the purchase of coffee in plain white cups in order to draw on them. The brand in this case not only strengthened customer loyalty to the brand but also increased its sales.
Photographs are one of the most distributed types of content. Therefore, they are very profitable to use as user-generated content.
A great example of using photos taken by users was Coca Cola’s “Share a Coke” advertising campaign.
Coca Cola used it not to make a statement, but to strengthen and “refresh” their relationship with their customers. They came up with a very interesting idea – to personalise each bottle of the drink with all sorts of names, nicknames and words on the labels, from which sentences could be constructed.
Customers would take a picture with ‘their’ bottle and post the photo to social media with the hashtag #shareacoke, and they could even make a Coca-Cola bottle with their own text (many used it to wish them a happy birthday or make a suggestion).
This is a great example of how an interesting idea can go viral and generate good revenue for a company.
Videos are also a very popular type of user-generated content. The choice of topics for videos is huge: you can ask your customers to make a creative video of your brand products, perform a stunt, film a moment from their life, a video about the company itself or come up with another unusual task for your audience. If you’re having a contest, make sure to share the rules for picking the best video and a prize for the winner.
GoPro, for example, posts insanely interesting, beautiful, breathtaking action videos made by users on its Instagram account.
Also, an interesting UGC campaign was conducted by Chobani. It asked fans to share their love for the yogurt they produce. Fans warmly embraced the idea and shot videos, took creative photos and posted posts on social media praising their favourite yogurt.
For example, here’s a video of them singing a song of their own composition about the product.
The participants’ tweets were posted on billboards, the best videos were posted on the website and the rest were published on social media.
Although podcasts are inferior to many types of content, they can also be used as UGC. You can ask users to share their opinions on a topical issue or come up with your own programme.
Creating a strategy for the UGC campaign
Of course, just choosing the most appropriate content type for UGC doesn’t guarantee an increase in sales. Other aspects need to be taken care of, such as: determining the platform for the call for content creation and publication, the format of the campaign (contest or simple addition to the site/social networks), etc.
So, that’s all about how UGC can help your business grow and how you can get such content. Still, there’s anything that bothers you? We’re here to get through! Drop your comments below!