Social media strategy has become a core component of today’s digital marketing plans.
If you have found consistent strategies that work for you, then you have done a lot of the work. However, if you haven’t heard of the term user generated content, consider adding that ingredient to your plan. It has become a great way for brands to put power back into the hands of consumers, while replacing traditional advertising tactics with successful results.
The best part? Your audience will be the ones in charge of creating the content.
If you have yet to integrate user-generated content into your social media strategy, then it’s time that you start looking at ways that it could benefit your digital marketing plan.
What is user generated content?
The term user-generated content (UGC) is the content an existing customer, user, or social media follower creates to document their personal experience with your brand. It can include Instagram posts, reviews, blog posts, even a Tik Tok or Youtube video…all made independently by an outside creator with their own personalized message.
When people are able to write reviews, comments, blog posts, or create videos about your brand, it allows for a more transparent experience for consumers. Giving people the power to talk about your brand as if they were recommending it to a friend makes customers feel more comfortable in making a purchase (and allows you as a brand to continue the conversation by engaging with them).
In a survey by Crowdtap and Ipsos of 839 million millennials (a group that has had a steady influence in purchasing power) results found that the group preferred user generated content over traditional media overall. It was reported to be 20% more influential than other media types when it comes to millennial purchases and 50% more trusted.
How many of you have ever looked up reviews before purchasing a product or heard about it from someone that you trust?
When we as consumers are able to share our stories about a brand or read about others’ experiences, it allows for a more trustworthy relationship with that brand.
User-generated content is authentic, relatable, and gives your consumers an opportunity to play a part in your brand. When your audience sees people (similar to themselves) talking about your product or service, it makes them feel more connected to the brand. Compare this to a staged advertisement made by a company in-house. Both can be effective, but in integrating user generated content with your regular content, you ensure that your audience has a voice in representing the brand. A trait that has proven to be valuable when it comes to consumer interest.
When customers are able to see other consumers actively participate in the brand, it creates a sense of community that couldn’t be provided by traditional media. Now, anyone who wants to create content for a brand or write their own review can do so from the comfort of their home with the help of a phone or computer.
This content is not only crucial to the success of your marketing campaign, but it’s also a valuable asset for repurpose. You can use their content on your platforms, such as your social media channels, website, and branded properties with permission from the creator.
If your users are publishing content on their own blogs or social media, then having backlinks to your website can also improve your brand’s SEO ranking.
It Requires Minimal Effort On Your End
I use the term minimal effort broadly speaking…because there will be work involved in any marketing campaign, especially when it comes to driving engagement. However, in comparison to creating the content firsthand, you can leave the creative direction and finished product up to the creator.
In order to maintain brand engagement with your audience, you also have to put effort into engaging with them. Online platforms have changed the marketing game, as companies are able to have conversations with consumers and connect directly with their audience.
A great way to get started is to regram content from people who follow you. Another way is to encourage followers to share their photos with a specific hashtag for a chance to be featured on your social media or website. The more that people engage with your brand, the more material you have to work with.
It Gains Audience Insights
Analyzing the content your audience shares can give you perspective into your demographic by seeing not only what they create but what they are saying. When customers share their experience, it allows you to see firsthand what their experience is like and what you can change or improve. This helps you better understand your audience and what they find engaging. If you are looking to up your data driven marketing strategy, these insights can help generate leads and increase sales.
The best way to get your target audience to engage with content is to understand what types of content they resonate with.
It Creates Unique Content
Imagine bringing in 50 different creative directors to each create an image for your brand. That’s essentially what content creation does, it helps diversify who gets to create your brand imagery.
User generated content gives opportunity to many different visions and voices by letting the people who love your brand represent it in what way they see best fit.
Content courtesy of Michelle Finn, Founder of Pop Design Shoppe
CONTRIBUTING AUTHOR, MICHELLE FINN
Michelle has a strong marketing background in a versatile set of roles including social media, events, and field marketing. She fell in love with design and combined it with her skills to create her business, Pop Design Shoppe. In the future, she hopes to continue her work within design or the arts (including interior design, fashion, the visual arts, and event design). She wants to continue working on projects that create impact. Her perfect day includes a morning workout, sunny day at the beach (preferably with her dog joining) followed by an evening out with friends at an event.