By John Surdakowski,
Jan 21, 2020

User Generated Content

User Generated Content

Fish tacos, post.

New shoes, post.

Random dog across the street must post!

We live in a world governed by the internet.  Oversharing has become the new normal by over 80% of Millenials who use social media daily. But oversharing can be beneficial to your business. Individuals post about their daily lives from food to travel to clothing and accessories, creating user-generated content that can be utilized by your brand.

What is user-generated content (UGC)?

User-generated content is content created by your customers without any incentive. This can be repurposed as a campaign, on social media, as well as a highlight for your website. 

Benefits of UGC

To put it simply, customers trust other customers. Why not let your customers do the work for you? Your customers are your biggest influencers; they are creative, loyal and have a genuine voice that can drive sales. 

Customers want authenticity from brands, this is achieved faster through customer testimonies rather than brands self-promoting on their merit. UGC can easily contribute to your marketing efforts and help build a content library. 

The Facts

UGC is been proven to be beneficial for business. Customers actively seek reviews from other customers before making a purchase. 

  • 79% of customers agree that UGC influences their purchase decisions
  • Millennials (25+) contribute to 70% of all UGC
  • Ads that feature UGC have a 5x higher click-through rate
  • Customers are 2.4x more likely to believe a review from a customer over a brand
  • On-site customer reviews can increase conversions by 74%

Where to find user-generated content.

Social Media

Social media is a great place to start. UGC can be easily found on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, by searching hashtags or brand mentions.

Your website

This may seem obvious, but many companies do not offer a review option on their website. Whether your customer appreciates or disagrees with your product, most customers prefer to go directly to the source to share their experiences.

Reddit

Reddit is a discussion website with an engaging community where individuals share their raw perspectives on numerous topics including experiences with businesses. This can be valuable for tracking industry trends and getting insights for your business. 

Best UGC Practices

Website Reviews

Naturally, people look to others for recommendations. This is especially important for digital brands and brands with few locations. Seeing is believing and without the option of a physical retail store for affirmation of your products, customers look to reviews as verification. 

Benefit:

Pax, a cannabis device retailer, displays reviews on the first page of the website from notable sources to customer appreciation reviews. Due to the sensitivity of the cannabis industry, the UGC that can be created from using their products can be conflicting. Pax chooses to display tweets as an alternative. Interested new leads can instantly see what others who have used their products think about it. 

  • Boost sales

Bring the reviews to your customers, offering reviews directly on your website can allow users to make quicker purchase decisions, leading to higher conversion rates. Having reviewed on your website can be an advertisement strategy by bringing a potential customer one step closer to making a purchase.  

  • Increase engagement

When your customers leave reviews this is a chance to engage with your customers and build relationships. This conveys the message, you value their opinions. 

Having reviews can make potential customers more confident and reassured about their purchases But negative reviews can deter new customers from trusting your brand. 

Disadvantage: 

“All press is good press”, this may not be necessarily accurate. If there are negative reviews associated with your brand, potential customers will be hesitant to try your product/service. 

  •  SEO

Reviews can add long-tail keywords when customers leave detailed reviews, boosting your ranking easily. Too many negative reviews have the opposing effect, lowering your search ranking on Google. 

  •  Recovery

With an abundance of negative reviews, it can be difficult and costly to recover. Brands spend more money in efforts to enhance their brand perspective than maintaining it. 

No business is perfect, negative reviews are unavoidable, but this leaves room for reflection. Use negative reviews to pinpoint the gaps in your offerings. It isn’t necessary to tackle every bad review, but it only takes one outstanding review to change the conversation. When a negative review is given take the time to reach out to the customer and personally right the wrong. This may not create a loyal customer but can give that customer a new perspective of your brand. This can make a great success story and can do more for your brand than a negative review. 

Pro Tip: Don’t take negative reviews personally. Avoid responding to a negative review right away. Take time to construct an apologetic response, addresses the problem, and offers a solution. 

Social Media

Social media can be a great way to showcase and inspire brand loyalty. Individuals who take the time to drive attention to your brand are usually your most prominent promoters or detractors. 

For the customers who are your biggest fan, show them you appreciate the love by returning the favor and feature them on your social networks.  Always request permission from the author beforehand and credit them for their work. 

TomboyX, an Avex client, has successfully incorporated UGC into their content strategy. The promotion of inclusion is their status quo, it only makes sense to include their customers in their marketing efforts. Customers show off their favorite products while Tomboy X’s brand perception is being nurtured. 

Running Campaigns

Although user-generated content is welcomed, do not be afraid to steer the conversation to reach your marketing goals. This can be done through a campaign or a detailed post. 

Create a post that gives specific guidelines for what you are looking for. Try to avoid sounding too pushy in your request, ultimately this is to benefit you. Start a hashtag to track the post of your customers, and share the post(s) that align best with your brand and the goal of the post. 

Starbucks created a campaign inviting customers to customize their classic white cup, this campaign drove sales. Starbucks needed minor marketing to promote themselves because customers were eager to be featured on a platform that receives thousands in social media visits daily. They featured the designs chosen on their social platforms, showing customer appreciation for taking part in their campaign.

Businesses that share UGC are more likely to see further engagement and new contributors. Putting more eyes on your business and building brand loyalty. 

Take Away: 

User-generated content can add to your content library and can pique the interest of new customers. Take advantage of the customers you do have and leverage their loyalty to inspire others to promote your brand as well. Even if you do not utilize the UGC, it can give your business unbeatable insight about your brand.