Social media has become the most effective tool in our owned media marketing toolkit. But the key to its viral potential is authentic storytelling. Brands on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and other platforms engage their audiences through stories that touch our emotions — and there is no better way to infuse real emotion than through User Generated Content, or UGC. A strategy that combines carefully crafted messages to inform fans and followers with the stories from these fans and followers themselves will see the greatest boost in engagement.
Social media brings together the ability to push messages through paid advertising, with a channel to distribute third party endorsements through UGC.
Let’s get down to the details.
What is UGC?
UGC (User Generated Content) is any original content, created by the consumer/purchaser of your product or service, that is used to promote a company. UGC can be shared in the form of posts, stories, blogs, videos, podcasts, and more.
Why use UGC?
UGC gives consumers that little push they are looking for to get them to seal the deal. According to the article, 21 Stats That Prove Your Brand Needs More User Generated Content, “In 2017, only 86% percent of people cared about authenticity when it came to deciding which brands to support. Today, 90% of people want the brands they support to be authentic.” When consumers see a first hand review from a customer, they are more likely to trust a person’s experience than one company’s ad, out of millions of others, trying to sell their product. It’s also important to find relatable examples, people are more likely to listen to and follow people who match with the desired market. So you want to find people who fall within the right demographic to share their experience.
Our world is becoming more digital by the second. According to the article, Finding Brand Success in the Digital World, consumers see an average of 4,000 to 10,000 ads a day. Because there are so many ads created by companies promising they will “give you all your desires,” you have to market authentically. People believe people, and there is no better way to show authenticity than through other peoples reviews. Louis Foong discovered that 35% of millennials say UGC is more memorable, as compared to your average media. People are more inclined to remember an honest opinion from someone they trust.
- It’s Free!
One of the major benefits of UGC is that, though it takes time to curate, there is no cost! UGC comes from doing good work and providing good customer service, motivating your audiences to post positive comments and reviews. Get your consumer’s permission to share their post or comment, then push it out for others to see. Not only is it great, authentic content, the person you highlight will likely be flattered that you noticed their comment and engaged back with them. Ultimately, it can save you time and energy (and money), and can really boost your company’s reputation and digital presence.
How do I get UGC?
So the benefits of UGC are clear…. But how do you find it? Being proactive is one way to not only get good reviews, but fill the UGC pipeline. Once a customer makes a transaction on your website, have a triggered email or web message that reminds them to leave you a good review or post about their experience. Then follow up with a thank you and request to share their comments.
- Social Feeds
One of the easiest places to find UGC is by looking to see if your followers have posted any photos of their experience with your destination, district or brand. Make it a habit to do a regular review of your feeds for content. (And keep a running log of any reviews or comments that come in as you are monitoring and engaging on a regular basis.)
- Your Tagged Photos
Be on the lookout for any photos you’re tagged in and repost them. Instagram allows you to create a highlight icon at the top of your page showing the testimonials in one story.
- Hashtags/Location Tags
Create hashtags and consistently remind your followers to use them when posting content on your feeds. Make it fun — you can have a contest for a randomly selected post using your hashtags to win a prize.
The long and short of UGC is that it’s easy to implement once you get a plan into place, and the result is a better, more authentic and engaging channel that makes your content fun and shareable! Remember – your followers are on social media to be social. Give them what they want and your brand will also benefit!
If you’d like to find out more information or need any help with UGC, feel free to contact [email protected] for more information.