Engagement is the bread and butter of social media marketing, and what better way to drive engagement than user-generated content (UGC)?
User-Generated Content: What It Is and Its Benefits
User-generated content, as the term suggests, is any content created by people rather than brands. It can take any form: images, videos, reviews, etc.
Incorporating UGC into your social media strategy provides a win-win situation for both the brand and the target audience: brands can organically reach and connect with followers while also being able to have their products/service promoted, and in turn, audiences get recognized, appreciated, and featured.
Statistics also support the benefits of UGC to brands:
- 79% of consumers report that user-generated content has a huge impact on their purchasing decisions
- 93% of marketers believe that consumers trust content from “real” people more than what they see from content created by brands
- Engagement is 28% higher with user-generated content
- Websites with UGC see a 20% increase in returning visitors
Tips for a Successful UGC Marketing Strategy
1. Set your goals
Develop clear goals for your content strategy with UGC. This will set the tone and the direction, and provide you with clear metrics to gauge the success of your efforts.
It’s not a hard-and-fast rule, but your UGC marketing is best aligned with your overall social media marketing goals. Some examples include:
- Building brand trust
- Educating customers
- Boosting brand engagement
- Increasing conversion rates
2. Establish what content you’re looking for
As a related point, you also have to be clear on what types of content you’re most likely to share; otherwise, your brand’s reputation might be at stake. For example, some users may inadvertently create misleading content that may damage your brand.
It’s best to be specific in what you’re looking for: the do’s and the don’ts, the hashtags they should use, the format, etc. This makes it easier for people to know what you want.
Adapt your content strategy as well to the platform. What may work with one platform may not work with another:
- Facebook: Far broader when it comes to formatting — longer videos, longer posts, etc. Facebook is a great space for sharing brand testimonies.
- Instagram: Square images and short videos thrive well with Instagram. IG Stories is also a great feature to use, though you also have to be mindful of the time limit (24 hours).
- TikTok: Short videos with snappy content and well-chosen background music are all the rave on TikTok.
- Twitter: Be mindful of the character count limit. Horizontal images look best on Twitter as well.
3. Discover user-generated content
Social listening plays a key role in UGC content marketing. A classic strategy to use is to establish branded hashtags for your campaigns. This not only makes it easier for you to find content but also cultivates brand recognition.
Pay attention as well to brand mentions and other relevant keywords, within or outside your “circle” — you may get ideas from other user-generated content that may work well with your goals and strategy.
4. Properly recognize the efforts
It’s important to understand that UGC marketing is all about collaboration. Always give proper credit to the original creator and cultivate a sense of community when sharing other’s content — make your followers feel involved and seen.
If budget permits, offer something of value to them in return. However, in one study, it’s been found that 60% of social media users are compelled to contribute their content to brands simply for “likes” and the chance to be featured. Only 32% reported that they were motivated because of the prize.
If you wish to include an incentive program, understand and know your target audience first. This way, you’ll know how best to recognize their efforts and what rewards matter to them the most.
Leveraging user-generated content for social media marketing is both cost-effective and time-efficient if done the right way. To summarize, set your goals and know what you’re looking for, and then focus on community building. Establishing an authentic bond with your followers is key to any marketing strategy, and UGC provides you with a fertile ground to create that very connection.
To learn more about social media, content creation and digital marketing as a whole, visit our blog at https://www.ilfusion.com/blog.