The iconic phrase “content is king” is more relevant than ever. And when it comes to modern digital marketing, the saying can be even more specific: user-generated content is king.
UGC is a fantastic marketing tool for both B2B and B2C companies. Sourcing it may cost you next to nothing, but it can become a significant game changer for your marketing success.
This guide will show you seven easy and effective ways to use UGC in social media marketing and other promotional efforts.
What is UGC, and why is it so beneficial for brands?
UGC (user-generated content) is a very straightforward term. It is online content created by regular users voluntarily for/about a brand.
- photos and videos;
- reviews and testimonials;
- FAQs and Q&As;
- Blogs and podcasts;
- Comments and discussions, etc.
UGC is a true goldmine for marketers. Here are some fantastic benefits your brand can reap with UGC:
- UGC reflects a brand’s authenticity. Consumers are three times more likely to find a brand authentic if it incorporates UGC in its marketing strategy than when it relies only on professional ads;
- UGC drives quality traffic to your website. Users spend 90% more time on web pages that include UGC. It also increases the number of return visitors by up to 20%;
- UGC boosts conversion rates. According to case studies, UGC can increase conversions by 1-7% in various business niches, from clothing to consumer electronics;
- UGC is cost-effective. The beauty of UGC is that users create it out of their enthusiasm – you don’t have to pay for content generation. And it often performs even better than paid ads.
The list can go on and on. But don’t take our word for it – make UGC part of your marketing strategy, and you’ll instantly boost your brand growth. Check out these seven actionable tips on how to do it smartly, even if you’ve never dealt with UGC.
Top 7 ways to use UGC to grow your brand
Organise hashtag contests
Hashtag contests are an excellent source of audience engagement, brand awareness, and online community building around your brand.
- Create your unique brand and/or campaign hashtag and run a contest among your social media users. Encourage them to create social media posts using your hashtag. In exchange, award the authors of the best posts with a prize. It can be your branded product, a special discount, or any other perk you may offer.
Hashtag contests are VERY popular with social media users. It means wider audience reach, higher click-through rates, and lots of great UGC coming your way from enthusiastic followers.
Use customer testimonials for social proof
Testimonials can impact people’s buying decisions more than any professional copy or ads. This type of UGC helps build trust between your brand and potential customers. It’s almost like a small customer referral program where your brand can successfully benefit from the new type of word-of-mouth.
When consumers see that other people have already had positive experiences with a brand, they feel more confident about choosing it. This is exactly what social proof does – it turns doubtful visitors into real customers.
Leverage the persuasive power of testimonials by making them more visible to online users:
- create a separate page on your website dedicated to user testimonials;
- place the best testimonials on your homepage;
- gather video testimonials and post them on your social media profiles;
- turn longer testimonials into customer success stories and publish them in your blog.
Enrich your product pages with quotes from customer reviews
A single review can boost conversion rates by 10%. Go ahead and take advantage of reviews right where they belong – on product pages.
- Browse user product reviews from your website and review aggregators (Google, Yelp, etc.). Choose the best ones and add them to your product pages.
Pro-tip: display visible ratings on your product pages. A typical 5-star review system is a great visual that customers find trustworthy and convenient.
Use customer photos to complement product descriptions
Product descriptions are an essential source of information for potential buyers. UGC can be a valuable addition to your PD pages and serves a subtle yet crucial purpose. Visual UGC shows that your product’s real-life quality and usability match those in your ads and descriptions. In this stage think about increasing photo resolution for your customer’s photos and effectively support your message with social proof.
- To leverage this benefit of UGC, add real user photos to your product web pages. You can source photos using branded hashtag search of your previous social media UGC campaigns.
Incorporate UGC into your email marketing strategy
If you want to diversify the use of UGC in your marketing efforts, email is one of the best channels to turn your attention to. Email marketing is a time-tested tool (especially for B2B brands), and throwing UGC into the mix will increase your email’s impact on potential and current customers.
- include customer photos and user reviews in your email offers;
- advertise UGC contests in your email newsletters;
- add visual UGC to your abandoned cart emails.
Use UGC in your ads
Ads can make or break your marketing campaign. Modern consumers are very picky when it comes to advertising content, and they see right through low-quality or inauthentic ads.
And here’s where UGC can come to the rescue – again. More than 30% of consumers claim that UGC ads are more attractive and memorable than traditional branded ads. Why not tap into this potential of UGC to boost the impact of your ads?
- UGC ads are especially effective when you run them on social media. Think about in-feed TikTok ads, Facebook video ads, or in-stream ads on YouTube, to give you a few examples.
Accumulate a content database to use in future marketing campaigns
Lastly, always look ahead when you work with user-generated content. By now, you know that UGC is an incredible marketing tool, and the more UGC you have at hand, the better you can use it for various marketing purposes.
Start building your UGC database to come back to it whenever you need authentic user content for your website, ads, or social media:
- encourage customers to create UGC using your branded hashtag on social media;
- save and collect the UGC generated during hashtag challenges and contests (even from the users who didn’t win);
- regularly check your brand’s page on different review aggregator sites;
- ask your most loyal customers for testimonials, etc.
Pro-tip: whenever you want to share or repurpose UGC for your marketing purposes, secure the user’s consent first. Directly ask them whether they agree to have their content features on your social media/website. Otherwise, you might risk facing copyright issues.
UGC is the Jack of all trades when it comes to marketing. It boosts your brand’s authenticity, increases brand trust, and helps grow conversions and sales – you name it.
The trick is to find the best ways to introduce UGC into your marketing practices. Experiment with tips and tactics to determine what works best for your brand and audiences.
However, don’t overdo it. If you stuff all your ads, emails, and social media posts with UGC, consumers can quickly grow tired of the volume of content.