Many marketers realize the potential for business growth using social media. It's no wonder why a lot of entrepreneurs are turning to the digital world for help when it comes to increasing brand awareness, providing rich customer experience and generating high-converting leads.
Since companies have to constantly keep up with the changing trends of their consumers, customer-oriented businesses are on the rise. Organizations are now placing customer satisfaction at the core of their business decisions. Hence, businesses are more than willing to spend thousands (even millions) on social media marketing.
However, not every company has the luxury of setting aside a budget for their marketing or advertising campaigns. Thankfully, we have what we call user-generated content. Not only is it cheaper (or practically free in some cases) to implement or integrate, it is also way more effective than any other marketing strategies out there.
Here are some statistics about user-generated content that proves its effectiveness:
- Advertisements that are UGC-based get 4x higher click-through rates. There's also a 50% drop in cost-per-click than average. (Source)
- 93% of consumers find user-generated content (comments and reviews) to be helpful when making a purchasing decision. (Source)
- 86% of young adults believe that UGC is a good indicator of a brand or product’s quality. (Source)
What Is User-Generated Content
As Webopedia states, user-generated content or UGC is the term used to describe any form of content produced by end-users or consumers online. It can be in the form of videos, articles, images, audio files, comments and the like.
Why Should Businesses Consider UGC
There are a number of reasons why brands and businesses should embrace user-generated content as part of their marketing strategy, such as:
1. It Encourages More Engagement On Your Social Media Channels
User-generated content allows you to develop and enhance the relationship you have with your audience. It also gives you a better understanding of what they want, what they are looking for and what issues they encounter.
2. It Provides Better SEO Value
User-generated content has a positive impact on your Search Engine Optimization (SEO). It was revealed through a study by KissMetrics that 25% of the search results of the world’s top 20 largest brands are linked to user-generated content. They are mostly in the form of backlinks. You can check your SEO and measure the performance of your social media channels by using a social media analytics tool. You gain powerful insight from social data to make better and smarter business decisions.
3. It Will Reassure The Purchase Decisions Of Your Consumers
According to Business Insider, shoppers who get to see and interact with user-generated content are 97% more likely to convert with a retailer than customers who do not.
Ideas For Encouraging User-Generated Content On Social Media
Let's explore the ways how you can integrate user-generated content into your marketing strategy.
1. Create Opportunities
You can create opportunities when you host contests and giveaways on social media. It is a simple yet highly effective technique that can help spread the word about your brand. But to implement it correctly, you must be specific on the type of contest you want to run.
There are numerous ways to run an online contest and one of them is a content-based contest. It is where content creation is required to participate in the event. When entrants join, they are encouraged to produce original content and promote it on their own social media channels to generate audience engagement. Not only do you get a free brand endorsement and exposure this way, but you also get to create a fun and engaging experience for your audience. It's a win-win.
The Korea Tourism Organization has been regularly hosting giveaways and contests to promote the country's tourism industry and they have been successful in doing so.
2. Amplify The Voices Of Your Customers
Feature the stories that you think your audience would want to hear by tapping into the power of your consumers. You can ask them to share their positive brand experiences and reward them in return. This is one of the ways how you can show your authenticity and appreciation for them. When the human side of your brand is demonstrated, you will be facilitating meaningful engagements that build consumer trust and ultimately drive sales in no time.
If you take a look at GoPro's Facebook page, you will see how they regularly and effectively feature story-based user-generated content. Their marketing strategy is to share beautiful pictures taken by GoPro users and let you know how they used the camera (manual settings) to get those magnificent shots.
GoPro is a good example of a company that utilizes user-generated content to their advantage. It gives end users reasons to get involved with their campaign more as the majority of people are more likely to buy from brands that care about them or make them feel special.
3. Creating A Brand-Generated Hashtag
Branded hashtags encourage and inspire your community to post about your business. They are also a great way to make your presence known on social media. Instagram is one of the platforms that utilize them.
A branded hashtag is a keyword used by brands and businesses on social media to promote brand identity. It can be as simple as your company name. It can even be a name of one of your newly-released products that need marketing, but most of the time, brands use a unique tagline to make it easier for fans to submit content online and entrepreneurs to find user-generated content to feature on their Instagram account. You can easily track the content produced by using a social media monitoring tool. You simply have to set up keywords and do your search from there.
If you visit Herschel's Instagram page, the first two things you will see on their bio are #WellTravelled and #CityLimitless. The global accessory brand uses these branded hashtags to encourage their fans to upload photos and share their adventures they experience around the world.
4. Enlist Brand Advocates or Influencers
Lastly, get in touch with influencers and brand advocates that can help promote your brand. These are people who already have a fan base or a good number of followers. Influencer marketing is now common in today's digital age as people look up to their favorite personalities more and more for their recommendations before making a purchase of a product or service. Social media influencers can create a world of opportunities for your business. It is also proving to be one of the best ways to generate leads and get better results from social media campaigns. Check out this blog we wrote on How To Identify & Work With Your Social Media Influencers.
With these ideas, you can surely step up your social media game and should add great value to your existing content marketing strategy.