The power of user-generated content

You might think your brand’s offering is something a customer will absolutely love, want and need, but how are you convincing them to convert?

Whether you’re an ecommerce business wanting to make more sales or a charity who wants to increase their organisation’s funding, the principle is the same. User-generated content should be a part of all marketing strategies - when you think about it, it makes perfect sense.

Who is a consumer going to trust when making a decision? The brand or another consumer who has also converted?

It’s a digital way to provide a positive review to the consumer’s followers and allows the brand to reinforce its authenticity by sharing the content.
Let’s dive into why it’s so important for your business.

What is user-generated content?
User-generated content (UGC) comes from people that are not directly working for your brand. It’s provided by consumers, clients, and visitors to your site – effectively anything that your brand has not created itself. UGC can come from a variety of sources; it could be a review on a product page, a YouTube video, social media comments, a story about a consumer’s interaction with a brand, a blog post, a photo or a hashtag that goes viral. 

Why is user-generated content so important?
Customer advocacy should be a key priority for any organisation; and that’s what sharing user-generated content will do for your brand. If your customers are shouting about how great you are, you’ve hit the jackpot. 
It’s the same whether you’re in the public sector, a for profit business, a not for profit, or a social movement. All organisation should view their customers as co-creators that helps them spread the word about their brand. 

Builds Trust
The Nielsen Consumer Trust index shows that 92% of consumers trust organic user-generated much more than traditional advertising. Because UGC is not created by the brand, it’s perceived as more authentic and unbiased. It’s a brand’s job to sell the products in the best light possible, whereas a consumer will be honest. That’s why user-generated content is a valuable asset – it builds trust and authenticity in your brand

Increases engagement
Using user-generated content shows that your organisation is open to discussion with their audience. A study by Comcore showed brand engagement rises by 28% when consumers are exposed to a mixture of professional marketing content and UGC. Using user-generated content in your marketing, or simply sharing it on branded social channels, can make the people you’re marketing to feel heard. You’re acknowledging them and the success they bring to your brand.

Improves understanding of your audience
Alongside it boosting your social media reach and growth, looking at the content your audience creates can give you a gold mine of data insight. You find out what your audience is likely to engage with, which you can take and apply to future marketing campaigns, generating leads and sales.

Adds personalisation to your marketing
Personalises your marketing efforts is a key contributor to success. There’s no one size fits all with marketing, so adding personalisation through UGC gives excitement to a normal marketing campaign. It helps you develop an online community that speaks directly to your consumer and encourages them to actively engage too. Research by Adlucent shows that 71% of consumers prefer personalised ads. 

Drives purchasing decisions
Reviews can drive a purchase or stop it dead in its tracks. 64% of consumers will actively seek out reviews before they commit to handing over their money. It’s imperative to gain feedback on your consumers’ experience with you so you can make every experience better for new and existing consumers in the future. 

Three ways to create and share user-generated content
Create a hashtag
You need to ask your audience for the user-generated content you crave, and creating a hashtag is the easiest way to do it. Creating a brand generated hashtag drives people to submit content and gives your brand a chance to take a step away from the usual posts and shine a light with a unique angle. It’s a great idea to come up with a hashtag for your brand as a whole or even for timely campaigns that are running alongside events and competitions. It gives you the chance to share engaging stories from your users who want to shout about how amazing your brand is.

Ask for feedback and reviews
The easiest way to get feedback and reviews is to ask people who have just purchased from you to send a review. As mentioned earlier, 64% of consumers rely on reviews to drive their decision when buying. So, it’s worth using the happiness of existing customers to encourage conversions from people who are on the fence.

Use social media to full effect
Social media is the best place to find user-generated content you can use for free (just don’t forget to ask permission from the content creator). If a consumer posts a photo with your brand tagged in it, share it on your feed. Let your following know how happy your consumers are; doing so will encourage social media growth and increase your organisation’s leads and conversions.

If you would like to know more about how we can help with content marketing, get in touch with the Dreamscape team.

About the author

Rachel Capper

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