Complete Guide to User-Generated Content: For Social Media Marketers
What is this? why people are talking about UGC on social media day and night? Should I know about it? Is it good for my brand?
If you are also like this. Then you must have heard about something called UGC and how big brands are using it to get more customers and gain more trust.
We will discuss all UGC in this article. What it is? How it can help you? Why you should use it? and how to use it? You will get all the answers at the end of this article. Stay with me, buddy. You are going to learn something amazing in a matter of minutes.
What is UGC?
UGC or User-generated content is nothing but content created by your users/customers. It can be video, audio, photo or text. This amazing type of content not only comes for free but also help you to increase your credibility online.
Here we are talking about UGC in social media. So, it can be anything like a post, a video, unboxing, testimonial or review created by your users or customers.
If you are social media marketer and don’t utilize the UGC for your clients you are missing out on a very easy and effective method to get more reach, engagement and new customers.
There are still many people not including UGC in their social media strategy. I hope that this article gives them enough reasons to do so. We will also discuss how you can include UGC into your social media strategy and where does it fit into it.
First, let’s see why you should use UGC?
Let’s change our perspective from marketer to user/customer for a minute and see this scenario.
If you see your friend posting about his new shoes on Instagram you must think that it should be a great product if my friend is bragging so much about it on social media. Let me buy it too.
This is how we human beings think. There is nothing wrong with it. But, we as marketers should know how our target audience think and how do they make buying decisions.
Here, the post your friend put on his social media handle is user-generated content or UGC. All the people in his profile or his followers will see that post.
Your friend is helping that brand to advertise its product without even knowing it. And that is our ultimate goal.
As the company is not paying anything to your friend for putting that post and your friend is posting about it simply because he liked it so the authenticity and trust it builds are more effective than paid advertisements.
Some facts for UGC:
74% of consumers turn to social media to make buying decisions.
According to a study done by Comscore, brands see a 28% increase in engagement on user-generated product video compared to professionally made product video.
75% of marketers know that UGC makes their content more authentic.
These facts are pretty amazing, right? You might think why it is so effective? Like what is it that makes UGC so effective?
Why UGC is so effective especially on social media?
In the last 10years, almost everyone knows something about marketing and advertising. Our media and education have thought them that people like us(marketers/advertisers) can turn an ugly duck into a beautiful swan with some little tweaks and photoshop.
Don’t understand? Have you seen that delicious looking burger ad on Facebook?
But, when you buy it it’s totally different from what you show in the ad.
If you want to know how you can make your burger look great for ads then check out this video.
Anyway, the thing is people or to say your customers are not your average joe anymore. They know the tactics we marketers use to promote our products. They don’t trust us anymore now.
The authenticity of our ads is not that high these days. And that’s when UGC comes into the picture.
People don’t trust us but they still trust their family members, friends and other customers as well. so, when any one of them is endorsing or showing off the product it gets more attention compared to our normal advertisement.
People nowadays use social media almost daily. They are becoming savvier in knowing which companies are using those old school marketing tactic(making a burger look great with hair spray and shit) and which are more transparent and authentic.
Authenticity is something that you get by default with UGC and that’s one reason why it’s effective.
Advertising and making a burger look really cool can cost you a lot of money.
On the contrary, UGC is mostly free or unpaid. Customers or users do it for various reasons such as sharing their experience of the product, build connections, help others to decide if the product is good or not or simply showing off their purchase. (I do for this reason sometimes : )
Have you heard about influencer marketing? It’s a different topic altogether but the concept is the same.
In that influencers are those people who have a large base of followers and have a sort of community of their own.
Brands or companies give them some deal to feature their products on their profiles. It’s paid mostly and users know that it’s a promotional post. But, the concept is similar to the UGC.
Since it’s cost-effective and most of the time free the ROI on it is very high. So, you can also consider that as a plus point in why UGC is so effective.
How to leverage UGC for social media?
Now, that you know what is UGC and why it’s so effective you must be thinking that how can we leverage it for our social media campaigns?
Even if you didn’t know anything about UGC before after reading this you will be able to use it for your social media or for your clients’ social media.
Without further blah..blah let’s see how you can use UGC for your brand or company.
Before you know where to use UGC in your social media strategy you need to know the types of UGCs.
Types of UGC in Social Media
If we look into individual variation of UGC as per the social media channel then it will be endless.
So, we are looking for major types of UGC that you need to know about.
- Image/Video Posts
1- Image/Video Posts
Images and videos posts are the most common and easy to spot. Customers can take a photo with the product and post it then it’s a UGC.
The customer can create a video where he/she is doing something using the purchased product that is also a UGC.
You will see these two type of UGC very often on social media, especially for big brands. It can be a Facebook post, Instagram Post, LinkedIn post or a post on any social media for that matter.
Customers like to express their feeling about products on social media.
How’s their experience with the product? Does it do what it’s made for? How good is the quality of the product? Is it a good option to go with compared to other products in the market? etc.etc.
When customers share their experience and something about the product it becomes a Review type of UGC.
Same for this, it can be a written review. Or review with image/video.
Most people online check the product reviews before purchasing it. So, this is a very effective piece of User-Generated Content for any company. Facebook even has this review feature on pages.
If you are using social media then you must know that this is a very popular feature in most of the major social media platforms.
And here we are talking about that same feature. Yes, Comments.
If you are a marketer, social media marketer to be specific. Then you must use comments to track the engagement on your social media profile.
These same comments can be used for UGC. Generally, it comes after the purchase people can share their experience in comments also.
You can use those positive comments to boost your authenticity and trust in your followers or get new customers too.
Now, we know exactly what this UGC is and what types of UGCs are there on social media and this burning question comes to mind.
How to add UGC to your social media strategy?
Same as any other type of content you create on social media. You need a goal for UGC too.
You need to know what you want to achieve with UGC. Do you want to increase brand awareness? Do you want to get more conversions?
Some common goals are:
- Increase Brand Awareness
- Increase Brand Engagement
- Increase Conversion Rates
- Build Trust
- Save time in creating content (yes, this is also a goal)
Once you have your goal you will know which type of UGC you need to create in order to achieve that goal.
Suppose, you want more brand awareness then you need to work on a normal and common type of UGC which is a simple photo/video where the customer is using the product.
The second thing you need to decide before jumping into it is which channel is the best for your goal and brand.
You don’t need to create UGC on every social media channel you are present on. You need to choose the channel which aligns with your goals.
A simple example of this is that companies offer something in exchange for doing some small tasks such as following their account, sharing the post, tagging their friends and something else depending on the goal they want to achieve. (on Instagram)
It can be called a Giveaway or contest. This is the best method to get UGC for your brand. Yeah, it might look promoted but still, it’s a great way to get more awareness.
Now, suppose you want to increase conversions or sales for that you will need reviews which is also a type of UGC.
In this case, you might want to ask for comments or reviews on your social media posts. Ask them to post images/videos about their product and how they use it?
This is very common on all major E-com platforms. If you have bought something or anything at least once from Amazon then you must have received an email asking for your review about the product.
What they are doing here is creating UGC for products to increase sales and conversions.
These are just some common examples I am talking about there are various ways you can generate UGC for your brand in social media.
Now we will discuss exactly…
How to create UGC?
Most of the UGC can be found on your companies social media profiles.
such as comments and reviews. For other types of UGC, you need to look out for your brand mentions and hashtags related to your brand or company name.
Many people posts about the product and tag the company’s social media handle in the posts.
You constantly need to keep track of your brand hashtags and see if your customers are posting anything by tagging you or mentioning your hashtag in the posts.
Run a Contest or Giveaway
Now, if you want any custom UGC from your customers then you need to ask them to post that particular type of content.
The best way to do so is to run a contest or giveaway. You will see most of the brands organizing a Giveaway or Contest once in a while.
Generally on holidays or festival days. Some days are very popular for this such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday or Christmas. It depends on your locality and business type also.
Some of the best example of content and Giveaways you can see below. From this, you will get an idea of how to organize content or giveaways. But, the most important thing is to properly plan the content before going live with it. Otherwise, you can be a good target for internet trolls.
Things to keep in mind for UGC
Now, you know almost everything about UGC. what it is? why it’s so effective? Types of it and how to create UGC? There are many cases where I have seen this gone wrong and for that, I have defined some best practices to follow when we are working on UGC.
Before you jump on creating UGC and start implementing things you have learned so far. I would recommend you to read the following things so you can avoid making mistakes that can create problems later for your brand or company.
1) Plan Your Content/Giveaways
I have seen some of my contest and giveaways went in a totally different way than what we wanted them to because we didn’t plan it properly.
You need to be clear on what you want from this contest. what you can give? Is it valuable to your customers? what you want your users to do?
Once you have the answers to the above questions you need to make proper guidelines for users to follow in order to enter the contest and usage hashtags.
You need to clearly put those guidelines in your posts where users can read them. You also need to clearly define the timeline for the contest otherwise it will run the whole year. once the contest timeline is over you need to mention there that it’s closed otherwise you might get more submissions and can be an extra task to explain to the users that the contest is over.
2) Ask for Permissions
Not all people like to be featured on your social media or any other channel. Most of the time users agree to be featured in or are okay with you sharing their post/photos.
But, it’s always better to ask them before doing so especially if you are a big company having a big following base.
3) Never Take Credits
If you are using user-generated content on your social media and even if you have their permission to use their content you should never take the credits for that content.
You must give credits to the original creator before posting it on your social media. You can also ask them how they want to be credited.
But, never post it without giving them clear credits for their content. You can simply tag them in the post and mention them as the original creator.
It says that you value your customers. This way the creators also stays excited about using your products. Not doing so can leave a negative impact on your image.
Examples: How brands use UGC?
e.l.f. Cosmetics and Skincare
EcoKaari – Humanising Fashion
KAIN TENUN INDONESIA
If you want to find more contest/giveaway posts like this. Then just visit Instagram and search for these hashtags: #giveaway #giveawayalert #contest #contestalert
You will see many posts like these. Search for some time and you find many contests/giveaways like these.
If you are still with me then you must know how important UGC is for brands. Suppose you are asking your users to do something in exchange for an entry into the contest. Whatever they do your brand name will be deeply rooted in their mind after doing that task. You are not just getting some content out of your customers but you are also building your brand.
If you are not including UGC in your marketing strategy then I hope this guide was able to convince you to do so.
If you have any questions or just want to share your views shoot them in the comments below.