User-Generated Content

Illustration by Sophia Alem

by Kennedy Rushing

In the age of social media and influencers, more people than ever are going online to discover and learn about new businesses and products. Unfortunately for businesses, most social media users find online marketing tactics untrustworthy or annoying.

About 64% of consumers believe social media advertisements are untrustworthy and 74% of consumers actively try to avoid advertisements.

As social media continues to rise in popularity, businesses must find ways to engage their audience and leverage these platforms in an authentic way.  Turns out, your followers and customers themselves are a great marketing tool!

About 79% of consumers say that online reviews or other forms of content created by customers about a brand impacts their purchasing decisions. And around 88% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know more than any other source.

People trust other people more than they trust brands. Businesses can take advantage of this by incorporating user-generated content into their social media strategy.

What is User-Generated Content?

User-generated content, or UGC, is content produced by a business’s followers or customers promoting the business. UGC can come in the form of videos, posts, images, written reviews, blog posts, or even podcasts. If the content features your business and was not created by anyone from your business, it is user-generated content.

UGC can range from product reviews posted on YouTube to Instagram posts featuring a person casually using a product or service. It is important to have people talking about your brand and sharing it with others online in an unbiased way. User-generated content has the potential to not only promote your business, but to help it garner a high level of respect and trustworthiness among the public.

Why is User-Generated Content Important?

User-generated content creates a sense of authenticity missing from traditional advertising. People engaging with user-generated content understand that the messages are coming from a real person – not a business. This means potential customers will be more open to trying your product or service and can relate and identify with the content with greater depth.

Additionally, one of the biggest advantages of user-generated content is its cost-effectiveness. Unlike influencer marketing, UGC is not sponsored. Content creators get no compensation for talking about your brand in this form, making user-generated content one of the most authentic and trustworthy ways to spread awareness for your business or brand.

How to Leverage User-Generated Content

Let Your Business Shine

It might seem simple, but one of the best ways to increase user-generated content is by letting your product speak for itself.  You can do this by making sure your products are innately interesting, engaging, and shareable.

A great example of this is food influencers posting pictures of beautifully presented meals or raving about a unique culinary experience on social media.

Start a Trend

Another way to generate UGC is by creating a fun trend online. This can be done by making a new hashtag, creating a funny voiceover or meme, or by posting a fun video that people can recreate.

Just look at Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign, in which Coke released limited edition Coke bottles with people’s names on them. This campaign had people around the world rushing to find and post pictures of Coke bottle’s featuring their name. On social media, the hashtag #ShareACoke was trending. Not only was this campaign fun for the public, but Coke garnered a lot of UGC.

Repost Content

If you want to create more traffic on your business’ social media accounts, you can choose to repost user-generated content. Not only does this highlight your business, but it allows the content creator to be highlighted as well. If you choose to share or repost user-generated content, make sure you credit the original creator.

Use User-Generated Content to Increase Engagement

User-generated content is a great way to promote your brand in an authentic way. Getting people to talk about your business and share it with hundreds of people online not only helps grow brand awareness, but engagement as well.

As people leave comments on a post, upload a cute image of your product to their feed or take part in a trend, they are promoting and engaging with your brand. The sense of trustworthiness and community generated from UGC is unmatched by any other marketing tool .

Do you need help promoting your business on social media? 1893 Brand Studio can help you develop a strong social media marketing strategy that will increase brand awareness and audience engagement.