What is User-Generated Content Anyway?
User-Generated Content (UGC) is the content (text, images, videos, reviews, etc.) for your brand that wasn't created by your brand.
It's content created by your users and buyers.
Brands often share this content on their social accounts to highlight their users enjoying their products or services. UGC builds social proof and trust, and the best part is that you don't have to make or create any of the content!
How Can You Leverage User-Generated Content?
UGC is excellent to promote authentic users enjoying your product or service.
It comes across more genuine and more credible because it's not someone you paid to say good things or to pose in the product (or at least it usually is!).
Most businesses employ a hashtag that their users can utilize when creating and sharing content.
This makes it extremely easy for the brand to search the hashtag and find user-created content.
Typically you still want to ask for permission to share this content and credit the original 'sharer' for it.
It's polite and ensures you're not stealing anything.
Make it Easy to Know What to Create!
- UGC creators want the brand to enjoy and share their content. So make sure to tell your users exactly what you're looking for. Do you want a shot of them using your product?
- Do you want a review/text that is talking about how good your product is?
Whatever it is you're looking for make sure to set clear guidelines so that users know what it is you're looking for.
You can also try to offer something in return (like a prize?) if you want to have your users create more UGC.
You don't necessarily need to do this as a lot of people create the content because they like the way it looks on their feed, or because they want to be featured on the brand's site (and gain more followers?).
Leverage User-Generated Content for Credibility
User-generated content (UGC) is content that is created and published by your users for free.
The users are typically people who love your product(s) or service(s) and create content like images, videos, and text to highlight what they love about it.
Brands are starting to lean towards this type of content because it's more authentic and trustworthy.
After all, the users aren't being incentivized (unless its a contest?) to create the content.
Why Does UGC Work?
UGC is much more trustworthy as there isn't any incentive to create it in the first place.
Businesses are starting to care more about customers and putting more focus on these users as audience trends change.
Because of this, and a fast-paced digital world, brands are able to put the customer front and center.
Social media platforms are making it so easy to create and share UGC.
The use of hashtags makes it incredibly easy for a brand to come up with a catchy slogan, share it, and ask for users to make content.
Examples of UGC
There's a new app out there that you may have heard of-TikTok.
Formerly a lip-syncing video-sharing app called MusicLy, this social media platform is taking the world by storm.
It replaced what Vine once was. One example of UGC here is actually in the music. Quite a few songs have been popularized by the app that otherwise may have not and have gone mainstream because of it.
Old Town Road spent weeks on the Billboard Hot 100s because TikTok users created challenges using the audio.
These little snippets of sound get stuck in your head, and then you download them and listen to them elsewhere, the radio starts playing them frequently, and then they become widely popular. Even old songs like Cannibal by Ke$ha have made a comeback because of TikTok, and it's dancing challenges.
There's a brand on Instagram called Mejuri. They sell "everyday fine jewelry minus the traditional markups."
They use hashtags like: #mejuri, #mejuripartner, #mejurijewelry, #thefinecrew, #moreskinmoregold, #sofine, #moregold and even have terms and services for 'User Submissions'.
This brand utilizes amazing user-created content to highlight the 'everyday people' that use and love their jewelry. Most of the content has a certain aesthetic and looks good when shared.
They're typically more subtle and not trying to shove the product down your throat; instead they want to highlight the product in use and show its functionality.
Twitter is another place where hashtags reign supreme.
Brands can promote their products and services on Twitter and assign certain hashtags to them. These can become popular and end up 'trending' in different countries around the world.
The stationary brand MUJI set up content to promote its pens.
It asked Twitter and Instagram users to create artwork with the pens and share it.
They judged and allowed people to vote for fan faves on social media. This sparked creativity and passion and got shared across many platforms.
MUJI posted some of the top posts on their own social media channels to spread the word about their products.
This user-generated content helped MUJI and may have helped some smaller artists get noticed as well!
Get out there and brainstorm how you can use user-generated content to leverage sales. After all, UGC is useless unless you learn how to leverage it to make more MONEY!