Everything You Need to Know About User-Generated Content
“How can I attract more consumers?”
This is one of the most common questions that businesses ask themselves regularly, but what better way to know how you can attract more attention from consumers than to ask them directly? Your consumers know best about their wants and needs, and what they would like to see from a brand.
How can you build your brand this way? This is what we digital marketers like to call, user-generated content, also known as UGC. User-generated content is content created directly by real people, not content creators.
Our expert team at Bold x Collective has been in the digital marketing industry for many years and has put together a list of everything you need to know to take advantage of user-generated content. By the end of this blog, you’ll understand:
- What UGC is and why it’s so important for your brand
- Tips and strategies for how to effectively use UGC
- How to create high-quality UGC and where can you find creators
- What to do with all your UGC analytics
What is User-Generated Content?
User-generated content is made by gathering unique, brand-focused content that is directly created by consumers themselves. Just collecting customer reviews, feedback submissions, and other types of user-generated content is only half the battle though! It’s also important to curate your UGC into social media posts on multiple networks to help increase brand awareness and engagement. UGC makes up an important part of any content marketing strategy, as without it your brand won’t have the necessary social proof needed to capture the attention of millennials and younger consumers.
The important question to ask yourself when beginning to implement a UGC strategy, especially as a small business, is how your brand can create types of UGC that top your competitors. Many successful marketing agencies use the following cost-effective social media marketing tactics to create and repost their user-generated content:
- Media features/appearances
User-generated content is your brand’s original, high-quality content that you will use regularly on various social media platforms promoting your brand to regular and potential customers. Consumers can promote user-generated content in a variety of ways that can help increase the brand’s engagement and visitors, for instance:
- TikTok: A consumer tries on multiple outfits designed by your brand to showcase new Fall season favorites and gives a short product review.
- YouTube: A consumer drives your brand’s new vehicle and makes an explainer video discussing all the new features.
- Twitter: A consumer tweets positive things about an experience at your new restaurant.
- Instagram: A consumer does a makeup tutorial using your new makeup line.
It is key to observe how consumers respond and engage with your brand, before investing in UGC; do your research – know what your target audience is looking for; their interests, likes, dislikes, engagement history on social media platforms, and so much more. Your research will give you a lot of important details that you need to know when it comes to investing in UGC.
Tips for Leveraging User-Generated Content (UGC)
Your user-generated content should be regularly posted on your social media platforms. Consumers like to see brand consistency to show that your users genuinely enjoy your product or service. Here are a few examples of social media channels that are best for sharing user-generated content:
- Don’t Hesitate to Change It Up
Your user-generated content doesn’t always have to focus on just your brand. I always tell my clients – the last thing they want to be is sales-y, so think outside the box…be creative! Try to be more creative when promoting your brand by telling stories or creating trending social media content. This will prevent your brand from coming off as just another business trying to sell products. Here are some examples of exciting UGC campaigns:
- A day in the life where a user showcases a day in their life and how your product or service helped them.
- Storytime! This is a very common trend on TikTok in 2022; people love stories, so don’t hesitate to ask users to share their exciting stories or experiences with your brand.
- A creative video with fun transitions; again, another huge trend where you can use a creator to do funky transitions as they do a makeup tutorial or trying on new outfits.
- A lifestyle photoshoot that showcases the product or service in use, such as a new car, or a new jacket. This would be great for Instagram or Pinterest.
- A fun tutorial showcasing your product or service being used from beginning to end, from a user’s perspective (include an unboxing or giveaway too!)
- Using a trending voiceover, or song to showcase the product or service in a fun way.
- Giving an honest product review – having a user explain how the product or service changed his or her life or simplified it.
Use Diverse Social Media Channels
As we know, social media channels are one of the most popular and effective marketing tools that agencies and small businesses use to promote their brand, and as mentioned above, there are many different types of channels available to spread your brand worldwide.
You must understand and study social media platforms to their core. This will allow you to notice the different ways that content can be presented. For instance, many users seem to stay more engaged with videos than just images alone. If this is something you are struggling with, reach out to a digital marketing agency like Bold x Collective for extra assistance. Agencies like our own are heavily focused on studying social media channels, finding out which channels work best for each brand, and creating the best types of content to generate higher viewers and engagements.
Set Realistic Goals
For your brand to be successful, you must strategize the sole purpose of what your brand is all about. Finding your purpose will help you plan out more realistic goals that can be met by your brand and target audience, especially when starting as a small business. An important marketing tool that many digital marketers use for user-generated content is to start by brainstorming strategies based on the information you get directly from your brand; what’s working for your brand and what isn’t.
Once you have been able to organize your data on how the brand is doing, you can then start to set goals for your content creation and marketing efforts. Continuing to always enhance and work on your digital marketing strategy will allow you to stay engaged with your audience, especially if you stay on top of new, popular trends on social media that are getting a lot of engagement.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when enhancing your brand strategy and goals:
- Promote your brand through effective ads and marketing campaigns; this will promote more engagement.
- Create user-generated content so you have a good amount of content to regularly share and engage with on social media.
- Create brand trust and credibility using content created by the consumer. Be cautious when seeking the perfect creator; it is key to use someone who aligns with your brand. Using the wrong creator can hurt your brand.
- Keep customers and visitors educated on your brand, while continuing to show your knowledge of your brand.
Be Direct and Firm with Your Persona
The best way to engage with your consumers, while still retaining the information you need for your user-generated content, is by simply telling them directly what you would like from them. If you give them what they are looking for, that will influence them to want to participate in your user-generated content, whether it be by participating in surveys, contests, hashtags, case studies, reviews, promoting new products, or images of products.
Through this, you also want your brand to shine, which means presenting yourself and your brand to how you would want consumers to see you while ensuring you’re still attracting your target audience. For instance, hashtags alone bring a huge amount of attention and engagement, as people use those hashtags for their content. Additionally, you can put out ad campaigns that target UGC creators, on platforms like TikTok or Instagram, to gain their attention.
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How To Get Consumers to Create UGC For Your Brand
Once you have a strategy in place, it is time to start seeking the right UGC Creators that align with your brand and overall mission. There are steps that we recommend you take when scouting creators:
First, create an attractive and positive purpose for your brand that will attract consumers and influence them to be a part of your ‘squad’. By doing this, you must study your target audience, to understand what their desires and dislikes are, and what keeps them engaged and what doesn’t.
Next, allow users to join in! For instance, on social media platforms, like Facebook or Instagram, use creative ways, like polls, quizzes, click-to-action links, or online chats amongst consumers, to listen to and understand your audience and how they communicate. This will encourage you to speak their language to help you better connect with your target audience. Additionally, speaking to your consumers directly may give you answers to many questions you and your audience have about your brand or consumer. Through continued research, you can change and enhance your brand to adapt to the continuous needs and wants of your consumers
How to Build Your Online Community
To build an online community, try to promote your community anywhere you think will allow consumers to best interact with your brand, like your website, your social media platforms, your user-generated content, and more. This is known to be one of the best ways to network yourself while also bringing your brand more attention and new potential buyers. Community involvement is very moving for society to see, as it shows the involvement you want to have with the people of your community while showing your hard efforts to promote your brand. A few examples of ways you can engage with your community more would be through community fairs, and product launches, which can also open doors for better opportunities.
Something as simple as a ‘reshare’ or ‘mention’ can bring a huge advantage to your brand and consumers. Viewers like to see other influencers promoting products and describing their experience with that product, potentially resulting in a purchase decision or a viral post. Word of mouth is known to be very effective for a brand. When promoting yourself to your community, you’re also promoting your persona, which is why it’s always important to figure out your persona early in the brainstorming process of your brand strategy. Although it can be challenging and time lengthy to build a community specifically for your brand, it’s always good to be open-minded about this as it can influence new consumers who don’t seem to fit into your persona but still be interested in your brand.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when building your community:
- Set regulations and rules for your consumers to allow for a clear and organized direction for them to follow.
- Always be truthful and honest to your consumers, as users don’t trust liars or boosters who don’t stick to their words or exaggerate their products or services. Honesty is everything, and that is something you never want to break with your users.
- Have a voice! People love to see a brand with a voice. The voice will be able to express your brand the best, as it showcases trust and reliability.
Evaluating Your UGC Progress
Analyze your efforts with the steps mentioned above; understand how the UGC content benefits your brand, plus what is working for you and what needs to change. In this process, you must look over your overall analytical report of how your brand is progressing and what’s going good and bad for your brand. For instance, your analytical report will show you more website visitors, new followers, or visitors on social media. It’s key to keep an eye on all the important metrics that you have established in your initial social media strategy, including, impressions, tags, shares, likes, links in bio clicks, video views and so much more.
Make use of the social analytical tools available to you on platforms, like TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook, which will analyze your numbers for you daily. Google Analytics is another great analytical tool to use that gives you an amazing overview of the results from your user-generated content and what specific content has been working for the brand and consumers, to increase website visitors. These analytical tools allow you to measure your success overall, on a month-to-month basis, which will always keep you in the loop and open doors for better opportunities.
Are You Ready to Introduce User-Generated Content to Your Brand?
User-generated content has made a strong reputation for itself in the world of social media by continuing to successfully improve businesses and brands. We hope that our must-try user-generated content strategies will give you a better understanding of how to find the perfect creators for your brand while creating an effective content strategy that works.