User-generated content (UGC) is the original content that is created by the audience of the brand. This content can be anything, from comments on a blog to photos and videos. The company can use it for their own purposes — on the site or in social networks to promote the brand, and often the UGC is much more efficient than conventional content.
The use of UGC is beneficial to both parties — companies, and users. The company benefits from a fantastic amount of fresh ideas and unique content, for the generation of which it could take many sleepless nights. In addition, most often the user content does not require a serious cash investment. And to users, the creation of UGC allows them to collaborate with their favourite brand, express themselves creatively, get various rewards and discounts for it, and even make some, even small, changes in the company. Unlike usual advertising campaigns that are focused on sales, campaigns using user content are based on honesty and sincerity.
Pros of user-generated content
1. Audience's confidence in the company
One of the most important bonuses that can be obtained with the use of user content is the trust of users. When you show interest in some of their thoughts, ideas, feelings, show your openness, attention and respect for them, you will cause in people a huge confidence in your company.
2. Reaching new users
When some people start to trust you, others will see it, and there is a great chance that they will be interested in your company. Here comes into effect the phenomenon of social proof, which you have probably heard of more than once.
According to a study conducted by Nielsen, 92% of users trust the content shared by their friends and relatives, more than any other messages from the brand itself. The second most important source is considered to be the opinion of strangers about a particular product.
Social proof has a strong influence on people, and with the help of it, you can significantly expand your audience. People tend to believe other people more than brands and companies. Thus, UGC allows not only to strengthen relations with existing customers, but also to reach new users.
3. The viral potential
Most likely, the virality of user content will be greater than that of ordinary content, as people tend to share their creativity with friends, relatives and acquaintances.
4. Positive impact on SEO
UGC also has a positive effect on SEO. KissMetrics revealed that if we consider the top 20 brands in the world, their results in the ranking are higher by 25% due to successful user content. This means that a large amount of organic traffic and content is associated with links to the site (mainly backlinks).
5. Encourages users to make a purchase
The most difficult task for brands is to make people buy their products. According to the report of L2 Inc, when a user in the process of thinking over the purchase faces UGC, it increases the conversion rate by 4.6%.
The main types of UGC
Comments help to identify whether the product or service is helpful or not, whether people managed to find what they had expected.
Think about the process of making a purchase online. You visit a website, open the page with a necessary product, scroll down to find clients' reviews. We do it unconsciously. Why do we look for them? We want to discover customers' experience in dealing with this or that company, if they received what they ordered, if the shipping caused any problems if a product satisfied their expectations.
3. Photo review
We want to discover the way our product looks like in real life without ideal lighting and presentation since very often a product on the website and in real life may differ.
4. Video review
Video review is another great kind of UGC because it allows to see how the product is used in real life. It is especially important for gadgets and household appliances.
5. Ideas for new design
UGC is a good variant when you are in search of new and fresh ideas for your products' improvements. Use social networks and ask your clients to create a new design for a reward. We offer you 2 nice examples of such practice.
Starbucks offered their clients to create a new design of their white cups, to post them for collecting likes and shares. As a result, 4000 people participated and the number of clients grew by 5 times.
Heineken also asked their clients for new ideas and used them successfully.
How to start collecting UGC?
1. Analyze your target audience to find better places for UGC
If your target audience consists mostly of young people, use social networks like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. If you work with both youth and adult people, create a special place on your website for leaving feedback. Its interface should be user-friendly causing no problem to leave a review. Offer your clients to leave their feedback after a purchase.
2. Be creative and original
Make regular competitions for your subscribers and don't forget about rewards. Create a page on social networks and post there new arrivals, posts, questionnaires, competitions. Ask your clients for likes and shares. Another great idea is give away. People will be very pleased to get something for free and you can also ask them to make a post with a special hashtag.
Creating content of high quality takes a lot of time, money and energy. Therefore, user-generated content is extremely beneficial — with the help of it, you can save a lot of money and, without much effort, get a lot of fresh and unique ideas, increase customer loyalty and brand awareness.
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