In the world of digital marketing, there are plenty of ways to capture your audience’s attention. One of those is through User-Generated Content (UGC). In this unique form of marketing, your audience does most of the work for you, making it extremely cost-effective. Most markets are saturated today, and with the massive prevalence of social media advertising, spam messages and pop-up ads, customers lack trust in the information brands give them. But they’ll happily listen to the opinions of friends, family and other shoppers, which is exactly why UGC needs to be part of your marketing strategy.
What is User-Generated Content (UGC)?
In really simple terms, User-Generated Content is exactly as the name suggests. It is any form of online content that mentions your business. But the trick is that your customers and audience create the content.
UGC can be videos, posts, comments, product reviews or anything else in the online sphere. You’ve no doubt heard of ‘influencers’ and the impact they can have on a brand’s marketing. Essentially, all an influencer does is create UGC for a fee.
As an example, you watch a YouTube video reviewing a product. The product’s creator has likely given it to the influencer for free in exchange for a review. Not only does this effectively create a backlink to your website for SEO purposes (if the influencer includes one), but it also encourages the influencer’s viewers to consider your brand.
But you don’t always need to pay for UGC. Here are some clever ways to get user-generated content to advertise your brand.
How to get UGC
There are numerous ways to get user-generated content for your brand, and the best sources are social media platforms. Let’s explore how to get users talking about your products and services more regularly.
Before any type of marketing campaign, you have to understand your goals. Do you just want people to share pictures of your products? Or do you want to collect a heap of UGC that you can re-share across various platforms?
When people share content and tag your business (or use your preferred hashtag), you can do any number of things with it, including:
- Re-post to the same social platform and tag the content creator
- Share to other social media platforms
- Upload to your website as social proof
Once the content is created, you can use it however you like. But this is where your goals come in. You need to understand the social platforms you should use for certain types of content. A brief guide is below:
- Facebook: Videos, reels, blogs, photos and more
- Instagram: Photos, videos, reels, stories
- LinkedIn: Blog posts and more professional content
- Twitter: News articles, gifs, photos, short videos
- Pinterest: Images, tutorials, infographics
As each platform has a different audience and style, make sure to target your UGC strategy accordingly.
Before you start any type of UGC campaign, it’s important to create and use branded hashtags on all of your posts. Ideally, you should also include these hashtags in your social media bio. This shows everybody who interacts with your profile how to share UGC. Importantly, this helps to build your brand but also makes it easy for you to check for customers sharing your hashtag regularly.
We recommend choosing your preferred hashtag and posting it to all of your social media bios. We’ll touch on direct upload UGC shortly, but you can also include links for this in your social media bios.
Direct upload UGC
One way to access plenty of UGC is to encourage people to directly upload content to your website or social feed. You may need some specialist help to set this up, but once done, you can review all UGC easily and choose which ones to re-post or include in your website testimonials.
Of course, encouraging people to directly upload content is one thing, but achieving it is something else. You should regularly (but not too often) remind customers to upload their photos or videos using hashtags and other social tags.
Let’s look at some other ways to entice your followers and customers to post UGC content, either by direct upload or using tags.
It’s an old method in digital marketing terms, but it’s still effective. Customers who have just purchased something from your business are more open to interaction. It’s the perfect time to send them an email to check in and see if they’re happy with the purchase. Timing is everything, though. Give them enough time to receive and use the product, but not so long that the purchase gets forgotten.
You can encourage users to share videos, photos or social media posts about their purchase, even if it takes a little coaxing. Offer a 20% discount off their next purchase, or enter them into a regular monthly prize draw for customers who share UGC.
Even though many people ignore emails, this is still a productive way to gather UGC because you can provide all of the appropriate links, making it easy for customers. So, making it easy for customers is crucial, whether it’s a link to your direct upload, sharing buttons for social media or even a Google Review link.
Social media competitions
Everybody likes a prize, especially through social media. Your customers probably spend a lot of time on social media, so it’s relatively easy for them to enter competitions. All you need to do is advertise a competition and a prize. Ask users to submit their photos, videos or other UGC for a chance to win. Voila! Instant UGC for you to use anywhere.
Finally, why not try to use influencers to create your UGC? Depending on the influencer, this is a little more expensive, but it can generate a lot of online traction. You can also go to the next level down, being UGC content creators. The concept is basically the same, but many companies have started seeking out everyday people to create UGC rather than popular influencers. It costs less, and the impact may not be as broad, but it’s a good place to start if you’re on a budget.
If you’d like to kick-start your user-generated content or digital marketing campaign, contact us at RealClicks today. We offer customised marketing plans and strategies designed to take your business further.