Have you shared your own built Lego toys on Lego Website? Have you posted a picture of the Coke bottle you consumed? Have you shared the best picture shot on your new iPhone? Ever reviewed about online products you bought? Commented on social media? I hope you have answers for atleast one of the above questions. And many of you may have answers for most of those questions. If you have atleast one answer then the topic I write now took birth because of you. Yes !! In this article let us traverse through the topic “user-generated content“.
You may be puzzled on the relationship between questions that I asked initially and the term user-generated content. At the end of this article definitely you will be able to answer the doubts now popping up in your mind. Let us get into our article. So what does user-generated content basically mean? user-generated content refers to any type of content including videos, images, texts, podcasts which are created by the users of the brand instead of the brand themselves.
At this point, you may have a doubt that brands are having people who are experts in marketing, content creation, advertisement and more. Then why should the brands go for user-generated contents (UGC)? What are the user-generated content benefits? Let us see why UGC is important for brands.
Why user-generated content?
The ultimate aim of any marketer or the brand to run the marketing & promotional campaigns is to convert the audience into their customers. You can track and influence the buying behaviour of people through UGC easily. Even many of us would go through the reviews of a particular product we are going to buy before we surf for shopping. If the product has good reviews and ratings there are high chances of people buying the products. This is why brands take product reviews and ratings seriously.
Gone are the times audience lamely believed in the advertisement and promotional campaigns. Nowadays people easily sort the marketing tactics and the entire buying behaviour of people has changed in this digital era. People trust the reviews and ratings of the fellow audience than the marketers. A recent study says that only 6% of customers do not trust online reviews at all. So User-generated content is a form of trust factor to the audience.
UGC delivers authentic and personalised contents than the brands which create contents filled with their goals and objectives. Personalised post by consumers in social media highlighting the brand will be trusted more by the audience than the ones brands are posting. Just look back to the question I asked initially that have you shared the best picture shot on your new iPhone. The image shot on the iPhone posted by the end-user will definitely make the audience believe in the quality of the iPhone camera than the advertisement. Hence personalisation injects trust in the audience.
4.Audience choice and Feedback
UGC is a great strategy to understand your audience and to track, design the buying behaviour. It also helps brands to find the faults and drawbacks in their product from the consumer’s point. Hence it is a lifeline to improve the products and services.
5.Social media reach
Customers are generally eager to share their newly bought products with their friends and family whether it be online or offline. In this digital era with most of the world’s population in social media platforms share their new product experiences in order to make their personal profile interesting. Just look back to the question I asked initially that have you posted a picture of the Coke bottle you consumed.
Coca-Cola ran a campaign named “share a coke”. The fans of Coca-cola were asked to post their pic with customised coke bottle in social media platforms using the hashtag “#shareacoke”. User-generated content campaigns help brands to have a wide reach to their audience through their customers in social media.
Instead of hiring a number of professionals to create contents and to engage the audience, UGC if used and placed strategically it is a great cost-cutting factor. GoPro cameras invite their customers to share their adventurous videos on the social media platforms. The brand even used their specific customers best-shot videos to promote their brand. UGC reduces cost mainly in the promotion and advertisement part of the brand.
With more optimized user-generated content in social media increases traffic to the search engines through the engagement rate. When it comes to SEO marketers are confined to criteria like keywords, backlinks, views, and more. Repeated usage of desired keywords and product links in comments, reviews, and testimonials will boost the traffic. Hence there is no doubt that strategically placed UGC are SEO friendly and one of the best content marketing strategy.
I hope at this stage you are much aware of the user-generated content benefits. Now let us see how to create or increase user-generated content.
How to create user-generated content?
1.Ideal social media platform
Depending on the business you do choose the ideal platform that you are going to generate UGC, because not all platforms will be suitable for any business. Once you sort out the ideal platform find the potential audience who can create user-generated content. Make sure the compatibility between the audience and the content they are going to create for your brand. This is one such ideal step that you have to do when decide to get into UGC.
Conduct customers survey to take decision as well as grab feedbacks. Surveys not only give insights on the cause you have conducted the survey but also helps how to move on further. Try to take informal and personalised surveys as much as possible. It can be like a poll in social media if it is a more specific question and you can also get this done through collecting audience experience on your product. The company Heinz Ketchup held a single poll to combine their two products to make it as a one. Through surveys, you can make your users the sense of belongingness to the brand.
Contest is one such effective way to pool contents for your brand. Everyone would have heard about Starbucks white cup and red cup contests where the consumers are asked to doodle on the white cup with Starbucks logo. The best ones are selected and used to sell Starbucks coffees. Again look back to the question that I asked initially. Have you shared your own built Lego toys? Lego selects best out of the toys built and they will again launch it as their product. Ask for the right contents through the contest you conduct to your audience.
Influencers are persons who plays a greater role in the purchasing decision of the consumers with their knowledge, power, skill and engagement with the audience. A recent study says that 40% of the consumers buy products as a result of trust from the influencers they believe. Influencers mainly hold the trust of their audience. If you choose the right influencer for your brand it will help to engage your target audience on the influencer’s post about your brand.
The above mentioned are some of the ways to generate UGC. User-generated contents don’t have a boundary and it can be created in many creative ways depending on the audience and product. I hope you the above article gave some good insights about UGC, user-generated content benefits, and how it is created.
In the next article let us explore about 10 best user-generated content campaigns.
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