A marketing campaign that doesn’t incorporate user-generated content is a recipe for failure. Most brands have understood this important principle and given special attention to UGC to boost their community engagement. Any brand can create UGC, but only a few have mastered the art of creating UGC that builds a strong bond with their audiences. In this article, we’ll discuss how to create user-generated content, and how you can add it into your marketing strategy. Let’s get started.
Introduction to User-Generated Content (UGC)
Any content that is created by users on social media instead of influencers, content creators or brands is called user-generated content or UGC. It could be simple social media posts, photos, reviews, testimonials or videos. The key difference is that UGC looks and feels “authentic” because it’s produced by real people instead of actors.
Brands use UGC to boost their trust in the community and grow their audiences through word-of-mouth. From a digital marketing point-of-view, UGC tends to get more engagement and impressions. That’s because people go to social media to consume user-generated content and they tend to ignore corporate-looking ads that are considered intrusive. UGC content on the other hand looks just like any other content on social media and that’s why people are more likely to pay attention to it.
The Importance of UGC in Today's Digital Landscape
Brands that incorporate UGC into their marketing strategies can target audience pools that would generally be out of reach. A well done UGC strategy, such as hashtag challenges or contests compels the community to get involved and propagates the brand’s messaging to a bigger audience base. In addition, it creates trust because it is easier for people to believe content that comes from real people.
Secondly, UGC helps brands increase their digital footprint. When users share UGC, they bring your brand in front of potential customers through word-of-mouth. This is the best form of marketing because it makes your brand essentially a part of the community. Finally, UGC promotes a positive brand image, which is much more valuable in the long-term than trying to make quick sales.
Why UGC Campaigns Are Not For Everyone
UGC is great but it requires a lot of time, resources and energy to properly execute it on all social channels. It’s very hard to quality control content that you receive from your audiences and you’ll need a team to collect, review and then approve UGC.
Most small brands don’t have access to such resources so most put their UGC plans off. However, the purpose of UGC is to build brand trust in the community. Brands who are just starting out, might find it hard to build trust unless there are real people on social media endorsing their products.
So, it’s kind of like being stuck between a rock and a hard place. You can’t have trust unless you have word-to-mouth content circulating on social channels. But you can’t have such content unless you have the resources to collect it.
How to Create User Generated Content in 5 Steps
Creating UGC is quite straightforward if you have the right tools. In general, there are two ways to get UGC for your brand – you can either get it from your actual users or source it from UGC creators. Sourcing it from UGC creators is the easiest method. Here’s how it works:
Step 1: Set Clear Guidelines for UGC
You should have clear goals of what exactly you’re trying to achieve using UGC. This will serve as the basis of the type of content you want creators to produce for you. For example, if your goal is to establish yourself as a trustworthy brand to increase sales, you can use content types such as UGC reviews and testimonials.
With clear targets, it is easy to execute a UGC campaign. Otherwise, your UGC campaign will be all over the place. Your targets or KPIs should be pre-defined and you should know how to measure the success of UGC content. This information will be vital for when you start using a UGC platform to source content.
Step 2: Use a UGC Platform
A UGC platform allows you to source UGC from creators to achieve your marketing goals quickly and for cheap. For example, Paysenger is a social marketplace and UGC platform where you can find creators using search filters and send them requests to produce UGC for you. It makes it really easy for smaller brands to source content directly from creators.
By sourcing UGC from creators, you can ensure that all of the content is produced up to your guidelines and standards. In addition, you can even ask creators to post the content or give you shoutouts on a particular social platform using Paysenger’s interface.
Other features include:
- On-demand content: Find a creator, view their portfolio and make any type of content request you want. You get a full refund if for some reason you are not satisfied with the delivery.
- Collaborations: Easily collaborate with UGC creators to produce content that helps you achieve your business goals. UGC can be produced in big numbers and much quicker than using traditional means.
- Hashtag contests: You can even engage the community and ask them to produce UGC for you. Simply create a reward pool using EGO tokens (the platform’s native currency) and use Paysenger to distribute it to people who participate in the hashtag contest. Each entry enhances your digital footprint and gives you new UGC to achieve your marketing goals.
Step 3: Get UGC From the Community
Incentivize your users to create UGC for you. This includes testimonials, review videos and social media shoutouts. Offer bonuses and discounts for people who tag you on social media and make reviews for you. To do it on a bigger scale, launch a contest or giveaway and ask people to create UGC in exchange for a prize.
For inspiration, check out Instagram feeds of companies like ASOS or Shein – over 90% of all of their content is user-generated. In their social campaigns, these companies either send freebies to consumers or payments in exchange for UGC from followers. Some of their most engaged posts are all user-generated.
Step 4: Engage and Interact with Your Audience
Audience interaction fuels the success of the UGC campaign. Appreciate the users who contribute to UGC. Be proactive and reach out to them. People will see that you take care of your community and will be more than happy to participate as well. Airbnb, for example, actively reaches out to users and posts their content on its social media pages. You can steal this and use something similar in your campaigns.
Step 5: Measure and Analyze the Success of Your UGC Campaign
You can make sure whether your UGC campaign is producing the intended results by regularly monitoring its progress against the set KPIs. If something isn’t working out, change and optimize your content strategy accordingly.
Drawbacks of Using UGC
Adding UGC to your marketing campaign can be rewarding. However, you should take a step back to recognize the drawbacks attached to it. You should keep the following things in mind before adding UGC to your campaigns:
- Negative or inappropriate content: Social media terms and policies are very strict when it comes to content. Users who produce UGC for you might not know the requirements. It’s your job to double check each submission for compliance.
- Inconsistency in quality and tone: Users might deliver content that’s not inline with your company’s positioning. You might end up spending time and money on content that you can’t use.
- Time and resources: You need a team to review UGC submissions from real users. That can get costly and time-consuming.
Of course, as mentioned earlier, these issues can be overcome by ordering content from UGC creators. Leverage Paysenger to consistently get content from UGC creators who understand your requirements.
Beware: UGC is not a Silver Bullet
The benefits of UGC are profound – but it’s not a substitute for a sound marketing strategy and a good product. You need to have solid foundations in place before launching a UGC campaign. You will most definitely get extra traffic if you use UGC properly, but you can easily get labeled as a scammer if the expectations of the buyers are not met.
Don’t underestimate the power of UGC. Just how it can help you build trust in the community, if you break the people’s trust they might end up making negative UGC to put your brand down. This could have irreversible effects so don’t go all in on UGC until you’re sure your offering is up to the mark.
Conclusion: Mastering the Art of UGC for a Captivating Audience Experience
Captivating UGC can hook your audience and help you in creating your brand’s authority. You can become the master of UGC if you write clear goals, select the right social media platforms, have the right content strategy, interact with your audience and track your progress.
You can get an edge by using UGC platforms like Paysenger where it’s easy to connect with just about anyone online to order content. Use it in combination with your other marketing tactics.
Download Paysenger to order content from creators, run hashtag challenges to get UGC from the community and to sponsor creators to produce videos using your ideas. Go viral and get your brand into the limelight it deserves.