Communicating authenticity and increasing customer engagement to boost conversions are some of, if not the most, important functions social media can bring to your business. While we are often concerned with making sure all our content is on-brand and ‘adds value’ to the purpose and offerings of the business, it has become increasingly clear over the past few years that sometimes the best, most effective content may lie outside the business itself, in the form of UGC (user generated content).
So, what exactly is user generated content and what can it do for your business? UGC is original content created by those who literally use the products or services you offer, and then post/tweet about it and/or their experiences with your brand. This type of content can effectively communicate the features and benefits of your product in a way that is authentic and relatable, as it plays on the “people just like me” mentality. Studies have found that customers are more inclined to view the user generated content as organic and honest, as it is peer-generated and not direct messaging from the brand that could be misleading or exaggerated.
Some interesting statistics demonstrating this include:
– 85% of people say that UGC is more trustworthy than branded content
– 68% of people find UGC more appealing and authentic than classic product images
– 44% of people say UGC has influenced their buying decision
UGC can take many forms, from a simple retweet of a post about your brand or product, all the way to a large-scale, multi-tiered influencer activation and can be as broad or narrow as you (or your budget) choose it to be. To incorporate UGC into your content plans, consider launching contests, giveaways or community hashtags to encourage engagement while simultaneously outsourcing the creation of content that can be used across your feeds.
The benefits of utilising UGC in your social strategy include:
– Providing a better insight into your target audience, their communities and their likes and dislikes
– Giving your customers a voice and allows them to be heard
– Enhancing your brand’s search engine rankings, credibility and online presence
– Helping you to reach a broader audience
– Increased time spent on your site or social media platform
– Unique content that is specific to your brand and cannot be replicated
As best said by Apu Gupta, CEO of social marketing platform Curalate, smart brands “actively encourage customers to share their brand-oriented experiences and amplify those experiences by weaving them into their own marketing initiatives.”
Statistics adapted from SocialMediaToday.com