Content marketing has evolved a lot in recent times with the importance of content rising heavily in marketing campaigns be it the global brands or even the local brands.
If you think about it, every marketing campaign on any channel or platform is driven by the content be it any form. So much that aesthetics of content are the defining factors of a successful marketing campaign.
There have been many innovations and strategies around content marketing that brands leverage to drive results and growth. User-generated content marketing is the outcome of one such combination of innovation and strategy.
So, let’s discuss in detail about the importance of user-generated content marketing and more.
What Is User-Generated Content?
User-generated content as the name suggests is a category of content that has been created and shared by the social media and digital users on these platforms.
In the marketing context, user-generated content becomes more specific where the content is basically any form of content that has been created and shared by users (customers) of a brand about its products/services quality, brand images, customer satisfaction, value for money, etc.
The content is shared by users based on their real experiences, ideas, opinions, feedback, reviews, etc.
This is also the highlight of such content as these elements make it the most reliable, realistic, authentic, and trustworthy form of content about a brand or business.
Reviews, product photos, video reviews, etc. are all part of the user-generated content and most users tend to share this content voluntarily with an internal intention to make other people aware of the brand.
UGC and Content Marketing
As the world moves towards digital media and online commerce, more and more brands are resorting to effective content marketing strategies as the content is the most crucial element on the digital media.
So much so that even on social media platforms, there are over 3.5 billion active users globally and on average they tend to spend around 2-3 hours daily on these platforms. And all that these users do mostly on social media platforms is to consume CONTENT.
You can easily say the content is what consumers look for on digital media, content delights the users, it engages them, it influences their purchase decisions, content shapes their online behavior, and much more.
Thus, for the brands, it becomes crucial to create and distribute content that can attract & engage the maximum audience from this digital marketplace.
Having such an important role, content needs to fulfill certain criteria to be used in the brand’s content marketing strategy such as trustworthiness, value, relatability, engagement factor, etc.
User-generated content marketing fulfills those criteria perfectly as it is real and diverse. Therefore, many global brands have also started incorporating user-generated content in their content marketing strategies.
Here are some of the reasons why user-generated content is the perfect choice for content marketing.
Benefits Of User-Generated Content Marketing
1. Authentic and relatable content
There was a time when marketing campaigns were just about promoting the brand and its products/services.
But as time progressed, the need for inclusion of valuable content started increasing as the marketing became spammy and misrepresentative.
Therefore, the need to display authentic and relatable content was high which could provide real actual information.
Whereas user-generated content is shared by users based on their real experience and this makes it the most authentic form of content.
Also, it is highly relatable to the audiences as it is created and shared by similar users. This authenticity and relatability are not possible with the branded content as it is with users’ content.
2. Builds trust and showcases credibility
As we discussed the authenticity of the content earlier, similarly, it is essential for the content to be trustable and reliable so that the users are interested in engaging with the content & more likely to invest in your brand.
User-generated content is driven by the real experiences and reviews of the actual customers of a brand tend to show the real picture about its quality, product/services worth, value for money, etc.
These elements being shared by real customers that too without receiving any incentives make the UGC the most trustworthy and reliable content that showcases the credibility of the brand.
So, this helps in building trust and credibility about the brand that increases the growth and success possibilities.
3. Highlight Brand Advocacy and Loyalty
Brand advocacy can be understood as when the customers talk positive and highly of a brand voluntarily based on their experiences and satisfaction. User-generated content marketing helps in showcasing such powerful brand advocacy to the other potential customers.
The brand advocacy or positive word of mouth about the brand helps in building trust and increasing conversions for the brand. Also, it helps in building brand desirability as well.
Brand desirability being when brand advocacy is high and user-generated content shows customer loyalty that leads to the users being attracted and interested to associate themselves with your brand. User-generated content builds this desirability through advocacy.
4. Magnify Your Reach and Brand Awareness
It is an important goal for the brands and marketers to reach a wide audience through their content marketing strategy and user-generated content lets you achieve that perfectly over the social media platforms.
So, when you share user-generated content on your social profiles or through your campaigns, it attracts the users to engage with your content and better content motivates the users to share it with their networks.
So, this is a chain reaction where the user-generated content leads to wider reach and exposure for the content causing the magnification of brand awareness on these platforms.
5. Original and Fresh Content Hub
Talking about the content marketing strategy, all the brands and content marketers know the value of having a hub or a constant stream of original and fresh valuable content that can be leveraged in marketing.
As content creation is a lengthy and hectic process that requires massive investments into labor, time, and resources. This leads to high investment but the branded content is not much effective or fruitful in bringing results.
Whereas, user-generated content does not require any huge investments as it is widely available on social media platforms and it is also diverse in nature and high engagement factors.
So, user-generated content is a solution that is original in nature with fresh & uniqueness through constant creation by users regularly. So, you get access to valuable content with lesser investments and better returns.
6. Increases User Engagement
User engagement as we all know is a key performance indicator for any content strategy or marketing campaign thus it is the prime target for marketers & brands to get user engagement through their content marketing strategies.
User-generated content is the relatable and trustable content that attracts the users to engage with it. Also, its diversity makes it more engaging and intriguing.
Increased user engagement creates a chain reaction where more engagement leads to more user-generated content creation. Also, engagement is correlated with increased possibilities for conversions.
So, UGC helps you increase engagement & conversion possibilities along with more UGC for your brand.
7. Boost Conversions and Sales
Finally, all the benefits that we discussed above are all related to increasing possibilities for maximum conversions and sales. Starting with trust, over 90 percent of the people trust users’ content about a brand while making online purchase decisions.
Then social ads with UGC increase the click-through rate by up to 5 times or customer reviews can on the website increase conversions hugely or over 70 percent of the consumers seek UGC be actively before making purchases.
The combination of trustworthiness, reliability, credibility, high engagement, and interactions helps in influencing consumers to make favorable purchase decisions.
How To Leverage User-Generated Content For Marketing
Here we bring you a few ways through which you can encourage users to create content about your brand or curate and display that content as your marketing campaign.
1. Hashtag Campaigns
Hashtag campaigns are probably the most effective way to leverage user-generated content.
A hashtag campaign is when a brand creates a marketing campaign around a hashtag and executes it on social media where the users are the drivers of the campaign.
Coca-Cola’s #ShareACoke or Apple’s #ShotOniPhone are some of the most popular hashtags campaigns where brands ask users to share their experiences and ideas with the brand through their content with the products and use hashtags to share such content.
So, when users engage and share their content, it leads to valuable UGC creation (mostly positive) about the brand that helps in building brand image, trust, and authenticity, etc.
Therefore, you can use this strategy to encourage users to engage with your hashtag marketing campaigns and get more UGC for your brand.
2. Engagement and Gamification Strategy
These two probably are the best way to delight users along with your marketing strategy and UGC leveraging as engagement and gamification strategy is more user-focused.
Engagement firstly is the strategy where you can engage with your audience on who follows your brand or interact with it on social media platforms in the form of likes, comments, mentions, messages, reviews, etc.
So, responding to these as a brand makes it more humanized and trustable leading to more engagement and UGC creation.
Also, the gamification strategy is using tactics such as polls, contests, quizzes, challenges, rewards, offers, vouchers, leaderboards, other gamification elements for engagement and leveraging UGC as users will contribute and participate with campaigns for gaining rewards and recognition whereas you will get valuable content for your brand.
This will help you uplift your brand image by delivering a superior user experience that will help you build a powerful social media presence and boost your following, reach, exposure, and engagement.
3. UGC Platforms
A UGC platform or a user-generated content platform is a holistic solution that provides you with the possibilities to discover, collect, and curate user-generated content from social media and digital platforms.
You can then display this UGC as your user-generated content marketing campaign across channels such as websites, events, emails, outdoor digital advertising, and more channels.
Not just curation and display, but this tool also gives you the option to customize your UGC feed with creative elements, designs and layouts, and many more.
Along with that it also gives you the opportunity to moderate the content to remove irrelevant content as all the UGC might not be valuable to your brand.
Besides, you also get an in-built UGC rights management feature to own your earned UGC and leverage it freely without any restriction. Also, insightful analytics helps you measure and evaluate the performance of your UGC campaigns.
Moreover, you can even integrate the UGC platform with hashtags campaigns or gamification elements by curating the UGC from social media using hashtags, handles, mentions, channels, pages, etc.
User-generated content is seen as the future of marketing as the importance of content increases among the marketing ecosystem and global users.
This holistic guide aimed at explaining the user-generated content, its relevance in content marketing, how it is important followed by how you can leverage UGC in your marketing campaigns.
So, use this guide as a base to build your user-generated content marketing strategy and leverage the mentioned tools and tactics to get the maximum returns on investments and drive brand growth along with greater revenue generation opportunities.
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I am Carol, a techy content curator who loves to write anything and everything about digital tools and marketing trends.