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4 Reasons You Need User-Generated Content in Digital Marketing

When we really enjoy something, nothing can stop us from talking about it! Be it as a digital marketing technique or in conversations with friends. We don’t even have to get paid to share an IG-worthy snap of, say, a new drink or a stylish pair of kicks–as long as we genuinely had a positive experience. 

The fun that we get out of sharing happy moments with others is all it takes to fuel us to talk about products that we genuinely love.

That’s exactly how user-generated content works.

If you have a brand that could use some buzz, this new way of leveraging word of mouth in your marketing strategy could be the missing link between you and your target market.

What Is User-Generated Content or UGC?

But before we delve into the details of how this method works, we have to first understand what it is.

User-generated content or UGC is a type of content that customers create and allow brands to use on their chosen channels, like their website or social media pages.

There are various types of UGC, including the following:

  • Videos
  • Pictures
  • Mentions
  • Podcasts
  • Blog posts
  • Reviews

UGC is also characteristically raw and unpolished, unlike the type of content that most brands put out on their platforms. Think of it as a photo or video that a random customer takes of your product minus the skills of a professional photographer or video editor. 

It’s meant to share people’s unbiased experiences, thoughts, and opinions about products and services.

Because of this, most user-generated content is unpaid, although some are. 

UGC Creator Vs. Influencer

If some user-generated content is paid, what makes UGC different from influencer marketing?

Paid user-generated content is made by UGC creators. They are people that brands pay to use their products or services and create content that brands can use on their channels.

The main difference between UGC creators and influencers is that influencers are required to post about brands on their own accounts and are paid by the number of posts they make.

UGC creators, on the other hand, don’t have to post on their own accounts. Instead, they give brands permission to use their content and publish it on the brand’s platforms.

Other Sources of UGC

While you can definitely give your brand a much-needed boost by paying to put out paid UGC, there are other, arguably much better, ways to do so.

You can encourage your existing customer base, employees, partners, and collaborators to talk about your brand. That way, the buzz is organic, and you get to retain the authenticity that UGC is prized for.

Benefits of User-Generated Content

User-generated content is the marketing world’s version of promotion through word of mouth. It works because of people’s inherent inclination to believe what other people say. 

Promotes Brand Awareness

Perhaps the biggest benefit of this type of content creation is that it increases brand awareness and expands organic reach. 

UGC is the type of content that’s easy to share and re-share across various types of platforms, increasing your brand’s potential to reach new markets and generate leads.

In other words, it’s the perfect tool to generate hype around your brand, which is great for startups and established brands as well. 

The more people create content about your brand or content that’s related to your brand’s ideology, the greater your brand’s exposure.

Builds Community

This marketing technique is also great for building a community around your brand. It allows people to be active participants in your growing community instead of being mere consumers of your products.

Also, when you share content that your market creates, you succeed at making them feel that they’re seen and valued. 

People naturally thrive in communities with like-minded people. And by sharing content that they create, you effectively show that they don’t like your products but also that you connect on the values that you uphold or the causes that you advocate for.

How about that for something to nurture long-term relationships on? It’s easier to foster brand loyalty when you connect on something deeper than similar tastes in products.

Fosters Authenticity and Trust

Today, consumers are wary of typical promotional tactics that sell outright or are clearly biased. People want to see authenticity in content, and they want that to be consistent in a brand’s messaging throughout its platforms.

In fact, 90% of consumers say that authenticity is one of the biggest factors they consider when supporting a brand. In this age of fake news and heavily edited online content, people have become much better at sniffing out biased promotionals in authentic content’s clothing.

This is why UGC is so effective at expanding reach and driving conversions–because people generally perceive them as authentic, consumer-made content that’s meant to share honest opinions and experiences.

Consequently, it also builds trust among your audience, making it easier to convert them into buyers. 

Improves SEO Ranking

Those shares and re-shares are definitely not for nothing. They help you improve your SEO rankings, so that your website appears at the very top of search results pages. 

The more times your content gets shared, the better your visibility and the more your website gains credibility.

To give your UGC a further boost, be clear when sharing guidelines about what you want to highlight on your channels. This can involve specific keywords or hashtags people can use on their posts.

Strategies for Encouraging User-Generated Content

You can’t force people to create UGC. But you certainly can employ specific tactics to encourage them to do so. You might want to include these techniques when trying to get people to post about your brand:

Ask Questions

Post a question on your platforms and encourage people to post a photo or video about your brand to answer. To be effective, your question has to be attention-grabbing and relevant to your audience.

Start Quizzes

Another way is to start quizzes–of course, whoever posts the best content gets a prize! This is a great way to create urgency around posting content and incentivizing participation.

Open Contests

Contests are also a great way to get people to participate. Make rewards enticing to make people want to join! 

Use Buzz-Worthy Hashtags

Tap into your creative side and come up with witty hashtags that will get people to wonder what the hype is all about. Your hashtags should also be catchy, short, and easy to remember. 

Tie UGC Into Your Marketing Plan

You can also tie in UGC into your overall marketing plan. 

Collaborate with a trusted digital marketing agency to develop a campaign that can bring your brand right in front of your target market.

Get in touch with us to know how!

Jossaine Nunez
Jossaine Nunez is a freelance article writer, blogger, and SEO-driven maven. While her true passion lies in writing fiction, her love for storytelling extends to helping brands convey their message in ways that are both engaging and helpful for attaining their business goals. Jossaine’s interests in writing particularly about people, for people – which translates to brand audience engagement – stems from her experience as the Editor-In-Chief of Siliman University’s The Weekly Silimanian, which published slices of life and educational pieces surrounding university life. Her piece, A Review of Leoncio Deriada’s People on Guerrero Street, published in the Silliman Journal on discussions and investigations in the humanities and sciences, earmarks her foray into the world of writing about, and writing for, humans that make the world go round.