What Is User-Generated Content and Why Is It Important
One of the most effective content formats that you can use to promote your brand online is user-generated content (UGC). In fact, according to recent surveys, 85% of consumers find visual UGC more influential than brand photos and videos, and 25% of search results for the world’s biggest brands are links to user-generated content.
But what is user-generated content exactly?
This article will explain what user-generated content is and why you should include it in your influencer marketing campaigns. Specifically, we will discuss how UGC can enhance brand authenticity, build community engagement, and increase campaign reach and impact.
What Is User-Generated Content?
Let’s start with the basics: What is user-generated content?
User-generated content, also known as UGC, is original content featuring your brand. However, instead of being created directly by you or someone you are affiliated with, it is created by your customers or fans and shared by them through social media. This content might be a picture, a video, a blog post, or a testimonial.
Although campaigns to encourage the creation of user-generated content can be launched directly by brands, UGC is most commonly used as part of a larger influencer marketing strategy. Collaborating influencers encourage their followers to create their own brand-specific content and share it through their social media channels. Each sharing follower then, essentially, acts as a secondary brand advocate for your brand. As a result, your brand can reach an even larger audience and you can potentially convert more online users into customers.
Why Is It So Important?
We’ve answered the question, “What is user-generated content?”, so now let’s explore why it’s so important and how it can boost the power of your influencer marketing campaigns.
Enhance Brand Authenticity
Brand authenticity has never been so important. Consumers are increasingly favoring companies that are transparent, consistent, and genuine in their communication. As a result, the only way to stand out from the crowd and attract customers to your brand is to promote honest and authentic content.
You don’t get more authentic and unbiased than content that has been created by non-affiliated customers!
User-generated content can also help you develop more authentic relationships with your customer base. How? Firstly, it gives your customers a voice and helps them feel seen and heard. Secondly, people are much more likely to trust a brand that has been recommended by a friend or peer than paid advertising promoted directly by a brand.
Build Community Loyalty and Engagement
User-generated content can be a great way to build a loyal and engaged online community. By giving your customers a voice, as we mentioned in the last section, you are making them feel that they are a part of your success, not just a spectator.
User-generated content is also a great platform for starting conversations between your brand and your customer base and showing them that you value their opinions of your brand. All this helps to increase engagement and customer loyalty and develop brand affinities in your target market.
Increase Campaign Reach and Impact
For most brands that invest in influencer marketing, one of their main objectives is increasing their reach. You want a campaign that will help you expand into a larger share of your niche market so that you can engage and convert more customers.
User-generated content is a fantastic tool for this.
The more fans and customers that create and share content related to your brand, the greater your reach will be. Moreover, because this form of content is seen as being authentic, the UGC shared online is likely to make a much bigger impact. Why? Because this enhanced authenticity provides you with social proof that people can trust and buy into. All this helps you secure your reputation as a credible and valuable brand. As a result, you can positively impact the buyer’s journey and speed up the purchasing process.
Boost Credibility and Consumer Trust
We’ve already touched on credibility and consumer trust, but the impact of user-generated content on these aspects is so big that it is worth mentioning again.
Working with the right influencer on a UGC campaign can help you enhance your brand reputation and develop trust and credibility in the market. This is primarily because user-generated content is more often seen as genuine and unbiased, as we saw above. In fact, 47% of Millennials and 36% of Baby Boomers trust UGC. In contrast, only 25% of both demographics claim to trust branded content.
User-Generated Content Is Cost-Effective
Finally, user-generated content is a highly cost-effective form of digital marketing. In fact, it will barely cost you anything. Instead of spending money on expensive marketing agencies to promote your brand, with UGC, your customers do all the work for you, for free! In fact, provided you work with a quality influencer that your target audience follows, then you’ll probably find that many fans are excited about the idea of forming a part of your branded content strategy.
So, there you have it. Now that you have answers to the questions, “What is user-generated content?” and “Why is it important?”, you’re ready to start developing your own influencer campaigns to inspire followers to create UGC. Good luck!