Defining What is User-Generated Content and Its Marketing Potential

What is User Generated Content and Why It Matters for Your Brand-1
UPDATED June 7, 2024
Written By John Calongcagon

Does your business have a new product or service that needs promotion? Chances are you will strategize with your marketing department to create an ad featuring professionally taken photos and copywriting. However, doing so doesn't guarantee that your new product or service will be noticed.

While professional ad copy still has a spot in the strategies of many marketers, user-generated content (UGC) is gradually taking center stage. Around 85% of consumers consider visual UGC to be more convincing than brand photos or videos. Similarly, nearly 90% of shoppers read reviews before making a purchase,

UGC has become a cornerstone of online marketing strategies for brands across various industries. But what does UGC stand for, and why is it crucial for your brand's success?

Understanding User-Generated Content

Understanding User Generated Content-1

What is user-generated content?

UGC is any content created by individuals rather than the brand themselves. For example, you have a blog post about your new product. The blog post is the brand content, while comments by online users are UGC.

Consumers consider UGC as more authentic and relatable than brand content. Brand content is designed to convey specific brand messages and promote products. As such, they are often perceived as biased towards portraying the brand in the best light.

Conversely, UGC reflects users’ genuine experiences and opinions. Although UGC is less polished compared to brand copies, it carries a sense of authenticity that resonates more with other consumers. UGC offers an organic and real-world perspective that can influence customers' purchasing decisions.

UGC content creators may voice out opinions through various forms of media, including:

Social Media Posts

    Photos, tweets, and status updates shared by customers mentioning or featuring a brand.

    Reviews

      Product or service reviews on websites like Amazon, Yelp, or Google Reviews.

      Blog Comments

        User comments on blog posts that share personal experiences or opinions about a brand.

        Photos

          Images posted by users showcasing a product in use, often tagged with the brand's hashtag.

          Videos

            User-created videos, such as unboxings, tutorials, or testimonials, posted on platforms like YouTube or TikTok.

            Benefits of UGC for Online Brands

            The Benefits of User Generated Content for Brands-1

            UGC offers numerous advantages that can significantly impact a brand's success, such as the following:

            Enhanced Consumer Trust

            Showing genuine customer experiences through UGC cultivates authenticity and trust. Consumers are more likely to trust real people over polished advertisements. Thus, 79% acknowledge UGC as the driver of their purchasing decisions. 

            For example, Coca-Cola's "Share a Coke" campaign, which featured personalized bottles, increased consumer engagement and trust as customers shared their personalized experiences online.

            Higher Customer Engagement

            UGC boosts engagement rates on social media platforms by encouraging active participation from users. Content shared by customers often receives more interaction than brand-produced ones because it feels more personal and relatable. 

            For instance, GoPro's "Photo of the Day" campaign encouraged users to share their best moments captured on GoPro cameras. This campaign increased GoPro’s reach and engagement as UGC that mentions the brand flooded social media sites and web streams.

            Cost-Effective Marketing

            Using UGC is more cost-effective than traditional advertising methods. Creating high-quality brand-generated content can be expensive and time-consuming. In contrast, UGC provides a steady stream of content created by consumers at no additional cost to the brands. 

            For example, Tourism Australia's "Best Jobs in the World" campaign generated massive amounts of UGC. As a result, the campaign significantly reduced the need for costly advertising while still achieving global reach and engagement.

            Tips on How to Encourage and Curate User-Generated Content

            How to Encourage and Curate User Generated Content-1

            Not all customers feel the need to share their opinions or thoughts about your brand or your products. To prevent your user base from being passive, it is important to motivate them to share UGC.

            Here are some ways how you can encourage and curate UGC:

            Incentives

            Among many ways to encourage users to share content, contests are a top strategy. Brands can invite users to share their content for a chance to win a prize. For example, a photo contest asking users to submit their best picture using a product can generate vast UGC.

            Another popular incentive strategy is reward programs. Users can earn points or discounts for sharing content or writing reviews. For instance, a restaurant offers discounts or free drinks when customers share a photo of them in the restaurant.

            Creating incentives and challenges for users requires extensive UGC moderation services. A user-generated content moderator can help your company ensure that users joining your contests comply with the contest guidelines and your community standards. Having a reliable UGC moderation service can also assist your team in filtering participants and choosing the winner.

            Hashtags and Challenges

            Branded hashtags and challenges play a crucial role in aggregating UGC. Hashtags make it easy to find and curate user content across social media platforms. A perfect example of using hashtags is Coca-Cola's #ShareACoke campaign. The brand invited users to share photos of personalized Coke bottles, resulting in a massive influx of UGC.

            Challenges can also drive participation. Remember the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge? The challenge went viral and raised awareness and funds for ALS. This strategy not only collects UGC but also boosts engagement and brand visibility.

            However, hashtags and challenges are prone to misuse. Thus, implementing UGC moderation solutions is imperative to ensure that participants use the hashtag appropriately.

            Active Engagement

            Engaging with users who create content is crucial for promoting a sense of community and loyalty. Brands should actively interact with and acknowledge users' contributions, including liking, commenting on, and sharing user posts. Featuring UGC on the brand's official channel can also encourage users to share more content related to the brand. 

            Moreover, personalized thank-you messages or shoutouts can also make users feel valued. Hosting live Q&A or Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions where users can interact directly with the brand can further enhance engagement and promote UGC creation.

            During live sessions, UGC moderators can keep the comment section safe and respectful. Moderators can remove inappropriate comments, issue warnings for unruly behavior, or remove harmful users from the live chat.

            Integrating User Generated Content into Your Marketing Strategy

            Integrating User Generated Content into Your Marketing Strategy-1

            Your business can greatly benefit from UGC-driven marketing. It reduces costs for brand promotions and strengthens online presence and visibility.

            Here are some ways you can leverage UGC for your marketing strategy:

            Showcase UGC on Website

            Featuring UGC on your website can enhance credibility and engagement. Adding customer photos and reviews directly on product pages can help potential buyers see how the products perform. Showcasing real-life usage of your products can help customers make informed decisions and increase the likelihood of purchase.

            Adding UGC in blog posts can drive traffic and promote community engagement. Highlighting customer stories, testimonials, and reviews can provide valuable insights and authentic perspectives that resonate with readers. 

            For example, a beauty brand could feature customer stories about how their products improved their skincare routines. Doing so provides relatable content that builds trust and encourages further engagement.

            Utilize UGC in Social Media Marketing

            Incorporating UGC into social media posts, stories, and ads can boost your brand's authenticity and engagement. Sharing customer photos and videos on your brand's social media accounts builds a sense of community while filling your content calendar. More so, it helps humanize your brand and build audience trust.

            Using UGC in stories can drive higher engagement rates due to their temporal and interactive nature. Brands can create story highlights featuring UGC to keep it accessible even after 24 hours. Additionally, showcasing UGC in paid social media campaigns makes the ad perform better because they appear more authentic and trustworthy. 

            Meanwhile, reposting UGC in social media platforms requires careful consideration. You should always request permission before reposting content and give credit to the original creators by tagging them or mentioning their handles. Thanking the user for their contribution or sharing a brief story behind their post can make the sharing more personal.

            Leverage UGC in Email Marketing

            Besides social media marketing, UGC can enhance the click-through rates of your email campaigns. Featuring customer reviews and photos in your email newsletters adds authenticity and provides relatable content for subscribers.

            Highlighting user stories or customer reviews in dedicated email sections can create a deeper connection with your audience. Include reviews or testimonials from beta testers when introducing new products to provide social proof and build excitement among your email subscribers.

            For promotional emails, highlight how existing customers use your products and benefit from them by incorporating UGC. You can invite customers to share photos of them using your products using a specific hashtag for a chance to be featured in the next newsletter.

            Building a Strong Online Presence with User-Generated Content Moderation

            What is user generated content and how it buils succesful online presence

            UGC is a powerful tool to increase your brand’s online presence and achieve sustainable success. You can build user trust, engage your audience, and drive conversions by showcasing real customer experiences in your websites, social media accounts, and email campaigns.

            While UGC is highly effective, it is not without flaws. Some users may post inappropriate or harmful content that may tarnish your brand reputation. Moreover, UGC may cause quality and reliability issues. Users may post content violating community standards or intentionally spread fake information.

            Unchecked UGCs can potentially ruin your online community and brand reputation. Letting inappropriate or harmful content proliferate in your online platforms will decrease user trust and encourage unruly behavior.

            As such, it is crucial to implement robust UGC moderation solutions to effectively utilize UGC. UGC moderation can help maintain the quality and reliability of UGC on your platform. Moderators curate UGCs to prevent the spread of inappropriate material, low quality content, and misinformation.

            Chekkee offers a comprehensive user-generated content moderation solution that can help maintain the quality and integrity of your brand’s UGC. With Chekkee, you can ensure that your brand remains safe and welcoming for all users.

            Leave all your UGC moderation concerns to Chekkee, and start focusing on building genuine connections and growing your brand’s online presence.

            Protect your user base and brand integrity using reliable UGC moderation. Contact us now!

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