Why Your Brand Needs User-Generated Content

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UPDATED October 4, 2022
Written By Milliscent Lucio

One-dimensional marketing strategies are a thing of the past. User-generated content has replaced traditional forms of marketing as the most effective way to interact with customers. This is especially true in an industry that’s dominated by a social media-driven, tech-savvy generation. When it comes to selecting the brand that they believe is best for them, the next-generation population can be extremely discerning. In fact, word-of-mouth can substantially impact their buying decisions. Businesses need to take advantage of the benefits of user-generated content to maintain their relevance in the market, raise their visibility, and, most importantly, ensure their sustainability in the long run.

Still unfamiliar with the concept of user-generated content? How can you make the most of UGC to boost your online competitiveness? If any of these questions ring a bell, then you're exactly where you should be. This blog will focus on the various benefits and risks of user generated content in marketing.

What is User-Generated Content?

What is User-Generated Content?

User-generated content (UGC) refers to any type of material that is created, posted, and shared on internet platforms. UGCs are based on user experiences, perspectives, points of view, and reviews. Say, a user might share their experience with a newly opened boutique on their Facebook accounts. An influencer might upload an unboxing video of their brand new phone on YouTube or TikTok. Perhaps a user decides to rant about a negative experience with a specific product. Essentially, anything contributed by users on the internet is considered user-generated content.

Since it is based on real-life experiences, UGCs for marketing have the ability to show your brand’s reliability and authenticity online as opposed to the traditional ways of promoting your brand.

Types of User-Generated Content

Now that you understand what user-generated content is, you should be aware that it can take many forms. There are several applications for each type of user-generated content. Knowing each of them is critical. Here is a list of the most common types of user-generated content. Let us go through them one by one.

1. Social Media Content

Now with close to five billion active users, it is safe to say that social media content is your bread and butter when it comes to online advertising for your business. Given that the vast majority of online users rely heavily on what other users have to say about a particular brand—where the "see is to believe" idea is extensively emphasized. When people see content published on their social media accounts by someone they know or follow, such as a celebrity or influencer, they get engaged and influenced by that content. Even more so if they can relate to the topic. Such pieces of content become valuable assets for your firm. In turn, you can use it to boost visibility across a variety of internet channels. Improved internet visibility makes it easier to increase your conversion rates.

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2. Customer Testimonials & Reviews

One of the most influential types of UGCs are testimonials and reviews. When a customer reads reviews and comments about your business online, particularly on review websites like Yelp, Tripadvisor, and Google, they may form a very different impression of your organization than they would otherwise. Even comments made by trolls can be enough to turn away potential clients with just one snarky remark. In addition, these kinds of testimonials from customers bring to light the fact that your business is a credible and reliable brand.

3. Videos

Social media channels and video-sharing platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube are the primary sources of video content. With over a billion active users, these channels generate the most video-based UGCs of any similar site.

In addition to advertisements on TikTok and YouTube, influencer marketing has a significant impact on the ways in which businesses can promote the things they sell. If a YouTuber (not necessarily popular and or paid for) creates an unboxing video for the latest model of a specific cosmetic product or electronic device, it increases buyers' awareness of your brand while instilling a sense of anticipation and desire for the product in their viewers. Video content such as unboxing videos or product reaction videos allows businesses to market their brand easily and with little to no expense.

4. Blogs

You might think that the use of blogs to promote your brand is only suitable for B2C interactions. It would seem to be the case at first glance. What you fail to realize is that business owners operating in the B2B industry are hunting for good reads! For instance, if you wrote a how-to blog and it was featured in a round-up material or a webinar, you get to successfully advertise your business without breaking a sweat.

5 Benefits of Using User-Generated Content

Why is user-generated content so important, you ask? We’ve done the research! Here are a few reasons why use user-generated content for your business.

1. Using UGC is Cost-Effective

Since UGCs are created by internet users, there is no cost associated with using them. This is beneficial if you are working with a limited amount of money.

2. Strengthens Customer Loyalty

Actively promoting your followers' online content shows your appreciation for them, making them more receptive to your brand's services. For example, you highlighted a specific user's post with a specific hashtag. That user is likely to feel valued as a result of your brand showcasing their content. As a result, the sensation of recognition established by that activity motivates customers to remain loyal to your company.

3. Accentuates Your Brand’s Authenticity

Showing your appreciation to your supporters by presenting their experience-driven content to the masses allows you to bridge the gap between your company and its target audiences. It makes your brand more approachable, less distant, and ultimately demonstrates how reputable and authentic you are as a brand

4. Allows You to Promote Your Brand with Less Effort

User-generated content is created by, well, users. To put it differently, you won't need to put in much work to generate your own content because you'll have supporters on your side who will do the work for you (for free!). This is especially important to keep in mind if you are falling short in the artistic department.

Not only do UGCs save you time and money, but when you maximize your followers' creativity, you can continually enhance brand recognition, attract more visitors to your websites, and extend the market life of your products and services.

5. Gives You an Unlimited Source of Visual Content

This is especially true if you are relying heavily on free stock photos. The internet can provide you with high-quality content without requiring you to pay commissions. With over 1.8 billion photos uploaded online and over 400,000 hours of videos on YouTube, you will not miss out on opportunities to put your brand in the lead.

Disadvantages of User-Generated Content

Disadvantages of User-Generated Content

While it may be true that you can gain numerous benefits only by relying on the experience-based content provided by your fans, this strategy is far from foolproof. Also, there are several drawbacks associated with using it.

Below are  some of the disadvantages that are inherent with employing user-generated content.

1. Negative Content Will Always be Present

Not all of the content that is directed at your brand will be positive, even if there is no doubt that user-generated content plays a key part in leveraging your digital branding strategies. There will always be bad ones that, if left unchecked or handled, can lead to a chain reaction of problems in your operations. It may be a piece in which the author is venting their frustrations, an unsavory comment on social media, or a negative product review. Any of these could be detrimental to the success of your company, and so you must be wary when relying on user-generated content.

On the other hand, you don't have to worry too much about unfavorable user-generated content, especially reviews. Getting rid of reviews that are negative while preserving those that are positive may give customers the idea that your product is too good to be true or inauthentic.

Believe it or not, it is quite practical to leave some negative reviews alongside favorable ones to tip the scales in your favor and establish that you are credible. Also, it is quite easier when it comes to managing online reputation. Negative content can provide opportunities for progress by teaching you how to improve your weaknesses and shortcomings.

You gain insight into which aspects of your business operations require extra attention, as well as which products do not possess the necessary charm to persuade other people to give them a go. You will be able to improve your trustworthiness and shed a more favorable light on your company if you do this. Again, don't be so quick to delete inappropriate content!

2. UGC Requires Intensive Monitoring & Management

Surges of user-generated content are notoriously difficult to foresee. It is possible that both positive and negative content will appear at the same time. As such, you need someone to handle user-generated content moderation for you. Your brand needs assistance from a person who is capable of monitoring each and every piece of material submitted on a variety of web platforms. Leaving such posts unattended and unaddressed is the absolute worst thing you could do at this point. Otherwise, there's a significant risk that harm will have been done before you even get a chance to respond to it.

3. The Quality of Content is Sometimes Compromised

Since UGCs are usually created by non-professionals, the quality of the content they publish online may be substandard. These individuals are more likely to create and post content from their phones. The majority of these people will most likely generate and submit content using their mobile devices. It is best to exercise caution when choosing the appropriate content for you, particularly multimedia-based content. If you fail in this part, the results may be the exact opposite of what you had anticipated.

4. You Don’t Have Full Command Over Your Branding

Another downside of using user-generated content is that it can be challenging to establish uniformity when it comes to branding. It is in your best interest to maintain consistency with your brand; but, because you cannot demand that your users publish their postings in accordance with your specifications, it becomes more difficult to do so. The sensible thing to do in this situation is to give careful consideration to the content that you intend to share with the public.

5. Unknown and Unreliable Sources

The ability to post anything online is a two-edged sword. While one side of the blade can be used to boost the efficacy of all your campaigns, the other edge can hinder your operations. Users, and especially trolls on the internet, can easily exploit anonymity to damage your online reputation. Even more so if your business relies heavily on user-generated content from social media and review sites, where even one negative comment or review can completely swing the tide against you.

UGC is Not Bad After All

Although it remains fact that online trolls and other malicious users have tainted the reputation of user-generated content, it has nonetheless proven to be an invaluable resource for your success in this cutthroat industry. Consequently, to get the full benefits of UGC, you must first have a thorough understanding of the risks that are involved in doing so. It is essential to have a solid understanding of the inherent dangers associated with relying on UGC as this will enable you to better plan your next step once you are confronted with such obstacles.

Alternatively, if you want to give your brand the necessary manpower to perform the heavy lifting on your behalf, then the resident moderators that we have here at Chekkee are able to assist you in this endeavor!

We assist businesses, SMEs and startups alike, in establishing a more secure online environment for all of their customers by providing first-rate UGC moderation solutions. We combine the capabilities of artificial intelligence with the knowledge and experience of humans to carry out in-depth content evaluations on a broad range of user-generated content. In addition, our moderation service comes with built-in statistics and reporting that will assist you in keeping tabs on all user activities across all of your online platforms.

Protect your brand and followers against malicious user-generated content, employ our content checking services today! Learn more about our world-class services, Contact us now!

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