UGC, or User Generated Content for the uninitiated, is one of the most powerful ways to elevate your marketing in 2021.
Much like modern-day word of mouth, UGC is one of the most effective peer-to-peer referral tools for your product or service, improving brand awareness, relatability, trust and, of course, give you a helping hand with your own content creation.
According to Hootsuite, consumers are 2.4 times more likely to perceive user-generated content as authentic when compared with content created by brands. Then there’s the fact each user has hundreds or possibly thousands of followers, which means, done properly, UGC can create an army of micro-influencers for your business.
But What Actually Is UGC?
In essence, UGC is content created by your customers that highlights your brand, business, product, or service. From video content (thanks Reels!) to static imagery and the rise of audio content on platforms like Clubhouse, to written testimonials and reviews on places like Google or Trip Advisor, UGC showcases your product or services from your customer’s perspective.
These unique pieces of content, created from individual consumer viewpoints, help connect your customers with your brand while simultaneously building credibility among new audiences.
As well as appearing on user’s social media accounts, businesses can use UGC on their own social media feeds through posts, stories and videos, and even take it outside the social realm (with permission, of course) to more traditional marketing platforms. Ever seen the ‘filmed on iPhone’ outdoor billboards? A perfect case study of UGC in the ‘real world’.
And How Can You Get UGC From Your Customers?
There are a few ways, but the easiest is to promote UGC through organic social media channels with copy like “Tag us using [insert product/service here] and use the hashtag [insert your branded hashtag] for your chance to be featured!”
Brindle Pro Tip: Don’t forget to include the call out for UGC on your product packaging, on email order confirmations, and even at your physical business through business cards, postcards, or even on your menu.
It’s a great starting point for most UGC campaigns to see if your audience is willing to participate. It gives you the benefit of getting your audience involved in the content creation process while providing you, the brand, with content to share.
This is especially effective for brands with an unwavering and mega supportive customer base, who are likely to share their product just because they love it. So, if you’re one of those brands who just know your audience would get on board with a no-incentive-needed UGC campaign, start weaving those organic CTAs into your copy and enjoy watching the content roll in.
You can also make the most of positive customer reviews from platforms like Google Reviews, Facebook and Zomato (if your business calls for it) to help form your UGC strategy. Testimonials help reiterate the value of your service, product and/or brand and encourage interested consumers to become paying customers, and any quality imagery that might be posted can be repurposed for your social media feeds.
If these base-level calls for UGC get reasonable traction but aren’t producing the kinds of results you were hoping for, you can take it to the next level by incentivising content through once-off or ongoing competitions.
But how do you incentivise your audience?
Reward your customers. Simple as that.
Competitions give your audience a reason to share brand-related content. Whether your prize is a gift pack filled to the brim with your product or a free offer for one of your services, you’re rewarding users for sharing content with your brand at the forefront.
Do you remember Hey You’s 2019 UGC campaign? They incentivised their Melbourne audience with a free cup of coffee if they purchased using the Hey You app (and if you know anything about Melburnians, you’d know they’ll do pretty much anything for a free cup of coffee!).
This is more of a once-off competition, but if you’d like to encourage UGC to flow in on the daily, you can make the most of an ongoing competition (which you’ll often see sitting in your Insta stories). This strategy offers up a small weekly (or monthly) prize to create a continuous cycle of UGC, which is especially effective as it provides your customers more chances to win, so they’re more likely to keep sharing content to increase their chances!
Don’t Forget The Tags
Regardless of whether you’re opting for competition-based UGC campaigns or not, the most important feature of any UGC campaign is tagging.
Why? Because if you don’t know your customers are showcasing your product, how can you start utilising it for the benefit of your brand? (Hint: you can’t).
At a bare minimum, you need to remind your audience to tag your profile using your @ handle. But if you want to level up your UGC game, we highly recommend creating a branded hashtag exclusively for your UGC competition.
If we take a look over on the ‘gram here, we’ll see rural retailer AG Warehouse utilising their branded hashtag to drive UGC. They encourage their audience to tag them @agwarehouse_ and use their branded hashtag #AllThingsRural for a chance to be featured, which helps drive connection and community spirit among the business and their audience.
Brindle Pro Tip: If you want to take your UGC competition to the next level, put your think tank to work in coming up with a great branded hashtag for your business and make sure you include it in your social media bio so people know what to use when they post. #YoureWelcome
Are You Ready To Try UGC?
Are you ready to give UGC a spin for your brand? You’ve now got all the UGC tools in your toolbox, so give it a whirl and tag us @brindle_marketing so we can see what you come up with!
(See what we did there? 😉)