One thing marketing professionals are leveraging for their brands these days is user-generated content (UGC). This content can be anything from images to videos to reviews made and posted by loyal customers and followers of their brand. Sometimes called consumer-generated content, UGC is found on the social media channels of popular and even not-so-popular brands.
The main reason behind UGCs is the satisfaction customers feel with a product, hence the affirmation via images, videos, and testimonials. Brands love these because of their positive effect on their name and bottom line. It also helps people who aren’t customers yet notice them and consider trying their products out.
However, not everyone understands the power and dynamics behind user-generated content and how to put together a UGC campaign. Some people think of it as simple marketing using a common hashtag, while others see it as images posted by an influencer or two. This lack of understanding of what UGC marketing campaigns actually are and how these can be used properly will result in brands wasting great marketing opportunities.
To help you see the power of user-generated content campaigns and how these can boost your marketing efforts, here is a primer with great examples from which you can gain ideas.
Before you can understand the logic behind a UGC marketing strategy and what it can do for your brand, you should first understand what UGC is, its types, and what a UGC marketing campaign entails. By definition, user-generated content is created by users of a brand or product to show how much they love or appreciate it. These users create content spontaneously, and they don’t get anything for doing it, making them organic content creators rather than paid influencers.
With this definition in mind, you can easily ascertain that a UGC marketing campaign focuses on or uses these organic posts from satisfied customers. There are many kinds of UGCs you can maximize to help promote brand awareness and, by extension, to increase your revenues. These types include the following:
Other UGCs you can also utilize for your UGC marketing campaigns include case studies, Q&As in forums or on your own site, and interactive events using hashtags. You can curate and repurpose the first four UGCs on this list for your marketing needs. Case studies can be used by eCommerce platforms to showcase the reliability of their products, while Q&As can help answer questions customers have about a product.
You can use all these for your UGC marketing campaigns. You just need to figure out where you can optimize them and when.
Some people may question the need for UGC marketing campaigns, while others have already embraced the idea. For those who aren’t keen on jumping on the UGC marketing bandwagon, here are some good reasons you shouldn’t ignore such a digital marketing tool:
When people participate in certain online events, they are brought together to support a brand. This is your brand’s community. When people post about your products and many others see these, they’re encouraged to try your product as well. When they’re satisfied with what they’ve tried, they too will post their own UGC, thus resulting in the community’s growth.
With satisfied customers who post UGCs comes brand loyalty, particularly when you acknowledge that you see their efforts in showing the world that they’re happy with your brand. This is cemented even further when you use UGC content they make in your own digital marketing strategies and post these on social media platforms for everyone to see. This shows them that what they say and what they do matter to your brand, which in turn helps establish brand loyalty.
The reality of UGC is it comes from real people and not celebrities or endorsers who are paid to promote the brand. UGC is made by satisfied customers, so other people tend to trust such content more than they do posts by influencers and famous people. This is called social proof and it proves that the brand can be trusted since ordinary people are saying they trust it.
If you want to increase the profits your company makes, leveraging UGC content is one way to do it. Studies have shown that content made by loyal customers carry with them a huge influence on other would-be customers, whether via TikTok videos, tweets on Twitter, or images on Instagram. Up to 90 percent of shoppers say that UGCs do hold some sway on them when they make purchasing decisions.
Let’s face it. When you hire celebrities and influencers to help promote your brand, you have to pay them to do this. Whether in cash or in kind, this can spell quite a bit of money out of your marketing budget. When you use the content made by customers in a UGC marketing strategy, you end up spending less. You also end up utilizing people who actually love your products and your brand, which adds authenticity to your name.
You have to admit, creating content takes a lot more time and effort than curating it, particularly if you use tools like Archive that help speed up the curation process. You don’t have to constantly wrack your brain for ideas on what content to create and instead focus on the marketing part of the job. It’s a win-win situation when you’re able to create a digital marketing strategy by curating UGC and creating a successful UGC campaign with it.
Now that you know what a UGC marketing campaign is and why it’s important to your brand, the next thing you need to do is to start developing one. Here are a few tips that can help you and your marketing team create an effective and surefire UGC marketing campaign and strategy.
It may seem like using all avenues to get the most attention is the way to go but it’s not. Just like with accessorizing and wearing perfume, the concept of “less-is-more” works well here. Focus on the platforms that most of your customers use and you can create some of the best UGC marketing campaigns for your brand without exhausting all ideas at once.
When putting together curated UGC for your marketing needs, make sure to utilize the right ones for the proper channels. For example, if you’re putting together a campaign for your Instagram feed, then it’s ideal that you use Instagram posts and other images from other social media sites for this. Reviews and testimonials, on the other hand, will work best under each of the product pages that are being talked about in these testimonials and reviews.
If you’re hard-pressed in finding the perfect UGC content for your marketing needs, a contest is your best bet for generating a lot of them in a short period of time. You can create a hashtag campaign on your social media accounts and promise a prize giveaway for the top 5 or 10 best images posted by your community.
You can use contests to promote a new product or to boost an old one for increased engagement and sales. This strategy can include selfies of your customers using the product and with the rule that they share content they make along with a hashtag made for the contest.
What’s more effective than a marketing strategy where your customers can buy the product that’s being featured on a customer image? Having click-to-buy functionality on images that you use for your UGC campaign helps establish authenticity and inspires others to buy and do the same. This helps your brand to generate more user-generated content for future use, and at the same time, inspires people to purchase what they see with one click.
Giving credit where it’s due can go a long way when it comes to UGC and its use in your marketing strategy. When you credit the creator of the image, video, or testimonial in your UGC marketing campaigns, you are saying that you recognize their effort and appreciation for your brand. This move also allows you to encourage them to do more and inspire others to follow suit.
Pro Tip: “The key to a successful UGC marketing campaign is how you use content of any type, including images, videos, social media posts, reviews, or testimonials.”
With information on what it takes to create an effective UGC marketing strategy on hand, here are some examples of brands that followed these tips and tricks.
One example of a hashtag contest that generated a lot of buzz was the whitecup contest of Starbucks. This was an interactive event where customers were asked to decorate their plain white Starbucks cups, to take pictures of these, and to post these glammed-up cups on Instagram with the hashtag #whitecupcontest. The prize for the winners? Their designs were to be used on future ceramic cups of the brand.
Another name that leverages user-generated content is this brand that created a huge buzz around the hashtag #thesweatlife. This had people posting images of themselves in their Lululemon outfits and using the hashtag to show the brand their support. The hashtag generated quite a huge number of UGCs, with people still posting images of themselves in their workout clothes to this day.
Another brand that made use of content created by their users is the action camera GoPro, with its ongoing hashtag campaign that simply uses the brand name. The #gopro campaign got almost 50 million posts so far and features images and videos of people in action with their product.
This women’s clothing brand not only urged their customers to post images of themselves with the hashtag #AerieReal, but also used this to launch a campaign promoting positive body image. Supporters of the brand were encouraged to post unretouched and unfiltered images of themselves in Aerie swimwear and clothing with this hashtag. With each one that’s posted, the company donated a dollar to an association that helps people with eating disorders. This campaign generated around 360k posts.
This online furniture store combines both their UGC marketing campaigns with design inspiration and ideas. The hashtag #wayfairathome gives their customers the chance to show-off how beautiful their living areas are with the furniture they got from Wayfair. This also helps others get ideas for their own homes.
As you can see with the examples above, you can get people inspired, engaged, involved, and excited about your brand with the help of UGC marketing campaigns. You get the benefits of curating and aggregating wonderful content from your subscribers and followers at a lower cost than what you would spend with an influencer, and you can also enjoy the realness of such posts.
Although curating content can be taxing and time consuming, there are tools that will help you gather them for your UGC marketing needs. One of these is Archive.
Archive can help you reel in all of the UGCs from Instagram and Facebook with ease. You can also find out when your brand is tagged on these social media platforms, even when you don’t have an event going on. Don’t miss out on any more social media posts lauding your brand by using Archive app for your UGC curating tasks.
Whether it is product reviews, video tutorials, or branded hashtags, user-generated content has taken the internet by storm. Visit Archive to see more ways to leverage your marketing efforts.
A UGC platform is a tool that helps you curate UGCs from various sources. This usually comes in the form of a web app that lets you collect posts with your hashtag and brand on it. Sometimes these apps also ask permission for you, to allow you to repost and reuse such UGC for your marketing campaigns.
There are many ways for you to improve your UGC strategy and one surefire way to do it is to follow the lead of some of the brands that are already making waves in this department. The examples mentioned above are just a few of them. Other brands that have great UGC strategies include Coca Cola, IBM, Netflix, and La Croix.
A UGC campaign is important, regardless as to whether you’re a big brand or a small brand. This type of marketing strategy allows you to connect with your customers and target audience at a different level. It also gets them involved and engaged, which helps bump up your brand’s authenticity and relatability.
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