what is user generated content?
What is UGC ?
User-generated content (UGC) is original content related to a product or service generated by individuals and not by the brand itself. User-generated content is characterized in many forms, including social media updates, reviews, blog posts, videos and podcasts. It can also be spread by customers through unboxing videos, Q&A forums or photos that promote their purchases. Another great source of UGC is Brand loyalists, as they portray their passion for a brand and are established advocates within their own community.
One of the central features of UGC is that it is highly authentic and unbiased, as it comes from a user’s personal experience with the product or the service. This makes it highly valuable for businesses and consumers, as it provides a more appropriate and loyal view of the product or service than traditional marketing methods.
How did UGC emerge, and what are its impacts on marketing?
Over the past decade, there has been a drastic change in the use of user-generated content ( UGC) as it has become an emerging power as a marketing tool, with businesses and brands of different parameters recognizing the perks it provides. This shift has been accelerated by the transforming techniques in which consumers engage with brands and draft their purchase decisions.
With the emergence of social media and other online platforms, consumers seem to have more opportunities to share their overviews and experiences with others. As a result, UGC has grabbed the place of being an extremely important source of information and inspiration for customers. Many studies have suggested that UGC gets trusted by consumers more than any other type of content, including traditional advertising.
The paradigm shift of UGC’s growth significantly impacts marketing strategies, as businesses are looking to leverage UGC to build trust and credibility with their target audience. Businesses can easily enter into the power of social proof and ‘word-of-mouth’ marketing by portraying UGC on their websites, social media handles, and other marketing materials. This increases the chance to build a trustworthy community around the brand, as well as foster deep relationships with customers.
Plus, UGC is one of the key cost-effective ways to create engaging and intriguing content that resonates perfectly with its audience. By encouraging customers to create and spread their own content, businesses can produce a steady source of content that demonstrates their products or services in a more relatable way.
Overall, the emergence of UGC has had an extraordinary impact on marketing, providing startups with new and innovative ways to link with their audience, build trust, and ultimately drive growth.
The benefits of using UGC in Marketing :
UGC advances marketing teams with one of their most important weapons in the quest for conversions: the voice of the customers. Since customers are already generating this visual content, brands are giving them the opportunity to showcase how they use the products and provide powerful social proof to their people. Brands may and should take the opportunity to leverage UGC to bring in more revenue, shorten their content creation expenses, and make a deeper connection with customers.
- UGC especially stands out to be a powerful weapon during the consideration phase of a buyer’s journey because it offers the essential social proof to authenticate the product or the services that carry the power to transform browsers into buyers. As there is a change in the culture of commerce, consumers no longer trust brands. What used to be a ‘nice-to-pursue’ approach in a marketer’s toolbox, word-of-mouth marketing, has been infinitely illustrated and multiplied in today’s digital age. If a shopper comes across customer photos, they spend an average of 120% more time on the website. This is the power of UGC. It increases revenue.
- Keeping up with the promises and demands for fresh content from each customer’s viewpoint will be highly overwhelming and expensive for brands. Instead of relying completely on professional photoshoots, companies can easily implement UGC into their marketing campaigns as an effective medium for their cost savings approach. The UGC is not only a free asset, but brands can be sure that it will match its vibe with their target audience because it was sourced from their audience.
- UGC can be shared across multiple sources, including social media, review websites, and other channels. This increases the reach and exposure to a wider audience.
- UGC helps to increase engagement with customers as well as build a better understanding of customers through their shared opinions, preferences, and behaviors. This directly affects marketing and product development strategies positively and provides a deeper understanding of the brand’s desirable audience.
Examples of businesses successfully practicing UGC :
Many businesses have successfully fostered UGC to drive growth and form strong customer relationships. Here are some successful companies leveraging UGC for a greater effect.
- GoPro :
GoPro is the company that deals with high-quality action cameras, and they have created their brand out of UGC. They encourage their customers to create and share videos of their ultimate sports activities, portraying the power and quality of their cameras. UGC has transformed the shape and growth of the brand.
- Airbnb :
Airbnb is a famous platform that provides people to rent out their homes or apartments to travelers. They have incorporated UGC to build trust with their customers by featuring photos and reviews of their properties from real guests. This helped them build credibility and trust for potential guests immensely.
- Starbucks :
Starbucks is a global brand for coffee and beverages that has prominently used UGC to form a sense of community and linkage with its customers. They enhance customers to share photos of their coffee cups on social media, which are personalized with their names and messages. The UGC has helped create a sense of loyalty and engagement with the brand as well as lure new customers inspired by the community they see.
How to encourage UGC from your customers?
Encouraging UGC from your customers could be a powerful way to build trust, engagement and growth for your startup. Below mentioned are a few of the strategies :
- Create a unique hashtag that customers may use while sharing photos or videos for your brand. This encourages your customers to participate in your UGC strategies.
- Offer incentives to your customers who share your UGC, such as discounts, free products, or shoutouts on your social media platforms. This motivates your customers to increase your UGC use.
- Conduct a UGC contest or challenge that enhances customers to create and share UGC related to your brand. This is a fun and engaging way to generate UGC. It keeps the excitement alive.
- Showcase UGC on different online platforms will increase your brand credibility and liability with your customers, as well as encourage others to create and share UGC.
Final thoughts :
UGC is a massive tool for businesses looking to drive growth and engage with their customers. To efficiently leverage UGC, businesses must encourage customers to create content and share across different platforms to incorporate it into their marketing strategies and measure its effectiveness. Overall, UGC is in the ongoing game to play an essential role in the business world, with future demands including a greater focus on authenticity and visual content, a closer relationship with e-commerce, and the rise of micro-influencers.
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