How User-Generated Content Provides Brands with a Competitive Edge and Helps them Optimize their ROI
User-generated content (UGC), alternatively known as user-created content refers to any form of content such as images, video, text, and audio that has been posted by users on several online digital platforms including diverse social media channels. Such pieces of content created by individual people play a vital role in enhancing the equity of a brand and are also beneficial in strengthening the overall online reputation management (ORM) architecture of the brands.
Benefits of User-Generated Content (UGC)
One of the prime benefits of user-generated content is that it serves as excellent social proof. Once the content from real customers is at your disposal, it increases the credibility of your brand and brings the brand's promises into perspective. User-generated content (UGC) testifies to what extent the brands have lived up to the expectations of their customers or target audience groups.
User-generated content (UGC) is vital for brands as it is the vote of confidence for the brands from their prospective & existing customers.
User-generated content (UGC) offers the following specific benefits to brands:
1. Customer-Centricity and Customer Success Become Paramount as Customers are Both at the Front and Centre
User-generated content is a win-win for both the brands and their target audience groups. When brands employ the content prepared by their target audience groups, they are at the following benefits:
- They’re letting the voices of their stories heard
- They’re allowing the messages to come from individuals, rather than from brands
- Marketing is a collaborative endeavor between the audiences and the brands and brands are marketing with the target audience groups
- As people advocate the brand, brands get the spotlight & benefit from some positive word-of-mouth-marketing (WOMM)
2. User-Generated Content (UGC) Provides Social Proof
User-generated content (UGC) serves as excellent social proof. As real individuals post about your brands, your social credibility is enhanced.
According to Hootsuite, “user-generated content (UGC) is amongst the most powerful tools in today’s marketing arsenal. It’s proof that you have dedicated fans, products worth talking about, and a social network that will appreciate great content."
3. User-Generated Content Inspires Trust
UGC is clear and compelling and is trusted by brands and people across all ages and demographics.
According to a study by Crowdriff.com, 47% of millennials and 36% of baby boomers trust UGC whereas 25% of both demographics said that they trust branded content.
People trust user-generated visuals more than other types of content. User-generated videos on YouTube get 10x more views than branded content. When it comes to content customers trust user-generated content more than other branded content.
4. User-Generated Visuals can Supplement Branded Content and can Stretch your Budget
Marketing budgets are always stretched thin and resources are always limited. Fortunately, user-generated content (UGC) is affordable and doesn’t leave a dent in the department budget. As the images are directly being sourced to fans on social media no cost is involved.
Millions of people are sharing photos and videos on social media and marketers can tap into these resources at scale. User-generated content (UGC) can be used alongside branded or commissioned content to improve brand engagement when user-generated visuals and professional content both are used for promotion.
5. User-Generated Content (UGC) is an Important Social Signal that Conveys that your Brand is Open to Conversation With Audiences
Brands that highlight UGC can build a deeper, more authentic relationship with their customers. Sharing user-generated content (UGC) on branded social channels makes people in marketing feel seen and heard.
Brands who encourage their customers to share their experiences, in a way encourage them to share their authentic experience in more accountable, open, and authentic ways.
6. User-Generated Content Marketing Helps Cut Through the Noise
User-generated content (UGC) is a way for marketers to cut through the clutter and allows them to declutter through the unnecessary noise on the platform. User-generated content isn't purely promotional content but a more genuine one. User-generated content (UGC) helps marketers boost the effectiveness of their ads.
A study by CrowdRiff substantiates that employing the user-generated photos in ads can actually boost the click-through rate (CTR) by as much as three times.
Brands need to rely on customers & deliver brand messages to other customers. This is an effective way for brands to successfully reach their customers through several social media platforms.
Advantages of Employing User-Generated Campaigns
User-generated content campaigns are effective ways for marketers to foster authentic social conversations with their customers and therefore, they are becoming increasingly popular among marketers.
The use of UGC campaigns allows marketers to optimize their organic reach so that their messages can reach customers as well as can directly engross the customers directly into the conversation.
Several brands have already successfully employed user-generated content (UGC) to their marketing advantage. Some examples are the "Share a Coke” campaign by Coca-Cola, and the “White Cup Contest” by Starbucks.
Marketers can implement the following tips to make their User-generated content (UGC) strategy a grand success:
1. Align Target, Behavior, and Channel
When leveraging user-generated content (UGC) campaigns, marketers must first evaluate the channel demographics to assess whether the target demography being targeted by them is engaging enough for the channels on which they have been planned to be published.
Demographics influences the channel preferences of the brands. For example, older audience groups who are 65 years or older are expected to use Facebook whereas younger audience groups in the age group of 18-24 years prefer Instagram. Also, Snapchat is a popular platform among younger audiences.
Discovering the social networks that are important to certain demographics and are inclined to their buyers’ preferences is the first step to launching a successful UGC campaign.
Identifying the motivations, attitudes, and behaviors associated with different demographics allows marketers to figure out the incentives and call-to-action that resonate with the target audience groups.
Effective user-generated content (UGC) takes into consideration where their target market resides on the social media platforms and when they should be asking for content from the users.
2. Employ Gamification Techniques
Gamification can be used by brands to motivate their customers, create a buzz around their products or services on several social platforms, and enhance the overall content generation experience for the target audience groups.
Integrating gamification strategies into brands' marketing strategies leverages the innate emotional quotient of the target audience groups and provides them with a suitable reward by tapping into their desires and impulses.
Gamification is about making content sharing entertaining and rewarding and is popular amongst the target audience groups as it allows brands to incentivize their customers with great incentives and recognition that serves as a prime drive for them to create engaging content.
Some popular examples of the use of gamification by brands in creating user-generated content include the following:
- The “White Cup Contest” by Starbucks sources social submissions and recreates the winning design which powers the reusable cup available for purchase.
- Nike used the gamification techniques to create the Nike+ community which inspires the user-generated content (UGC) continually allowing users to compare and compete with their friends & acquaintances on several social media platforms.
Gamification makes content creation & sharing an intriguing process.
3. User-Generated Content (UGC) Inspires Confidence and Reflects Authenticity
User-generated content (UGC) campaigns are created by customers and hence it plays a crucial role in igniting an element of trust amongst the target audience groups. The positive word-of-mouth employed by the users, coupled with the other testimonials in the form of images and videos allows markets to design brand campaigns that are more authentic and build greater brand loyalty.
To sum it up, user-generated content is an invincible armory in the arsenal of the B2B marketers that allows them to develop entertaining, and engrossing campaigns for their target audience groups that they find more creative, fun, and authentic.
At the end of the day, user-generated content (UGC) helps brands establish more meaningful, conversational, and interactive connections with their target audience groups, in ways that are more authentic, captivating, and long-lasting. Never before brands had discovered more impactful a way to cash in on the content produced by the target audience groups as well as the potential groups of customers who're either brand loyals or fans.
And we hope you would find these tips insightful and impactful in making the best use of your user-generated content (UGC) to bolster your ROI, as well as, to gain a competitive advantage!