User-generated content is content that is created by people instead of brands, that the brands can then share that content on their social media or website. This can be in the form of social media posts or comments, reviews, videos, blog comments, podcasts, and more. The photo you took of your dessert in a restaurant and posted to social media is user-generated content. The tweet about you enjoying a beauty product counts. Anything that you post about a brand can be user-generated content.
This marketing strategy is nothing new, but it has grown more important in recent years as people have grown distrustful of obvious advertising and more reliant on the opinions of real people. Most people read reviews before buying products because they would rather see how a real person feels about it than how it is advertised.
User-generated content can be a great way to promote trust between a brand and its target audience. Approximately 92 percent of consumers trust organic, user-generated content over traditional adverting. This is because they know the brands are not paying for this content, so it is only created by consumers who like or dislike what a business offers. Word-of-mouth has always been one of the best forms of advertising, this is essentially word-of-mouth on a much larger scale.
Studies have shown that 61 percent of people are more likely to engage with advertisements that contain user-generated content, and that 51 percent of Americans find user-generated content to be more trustworthy than other information on a company’s website.
HOW BRANDS CAN USE IT
Creating brand desire or envy is a popular strategy for user-generated content. Fashion and beauty lines can use this to promote a new product and show the different ways it can be worn/used. For a travel brand, using user-generated content to share photos of people who have traveled under that brand is a great way to make people want to travel there.
You can also use it to showcase brand loyalty. The people who create user-generated content for a brand are likely some of the brand’s biggest and most loyal fans. By sharing that loyalty on your own social media, you can continue to foster brand loyalty and show your fans that you see and appreciate their content.
You do not have to share everything the day it is published either. You can work on building a library of user-generated content to share on your social media over time. Using hashtag campaigns to encourage more user-generated content is a good way to make sure you always have interesting content to share.
Even when a post includes your hashtags, it is still a good idea to ask the poster for permission before you share it. Sometimes people do not realize that using a specific hashtag will link them to a shareable content campaign, and they may not be happy to find themselves randomly featured on your social media. Also, by asking permission, you are showing that you appreciate the content, and they will be happy you asked before using their post.
EXAMPLES OF GREAT CONTENT USE
There are tons of brands that use user-generated content effectively, but here are a few that stand out in the crowd.
SHARE A COKE
The Coca Cola “Share a Coke” campaign was huge when it began in 2011. They had just released the personalized bottles and asked people to submit photos of themselves with a coke that had their name on it. This is still one of the best examples of how user-generated content works.
BELKIN LEGO IPHONE CASE
In 2013, Belkin partnered with Lego for a user-generated content campaign, asking customers to create customized cases for their iPhones using Legos. They shared the imaged on their Instagram with the hashtag #LEGOxBelkin. This was a simple way to encourage consumers to create unique content for Belkin and show the diversity of their phone cases.
Boomf specializes in gifts and cards that explode with confetti when opened. Since people love to share videos of reactions to gifts like this, the company came with a perfect social media strategy. Their Instagram is full of user-generated content of people enjoying their trick gifts.
They use competitions asking their consumers to capture the reactions to their products on video, offering prizes and the enticement of being featured on their social media.