Why is user-generated content important
With so many people using some form of social media platform nowadays, content marketing – especially user-generated content, is becoming more important for a brand’s marketing strategy. This may also be a marketing tactic that some digital marketing agencies like MediaGroup Worldwide may recommend. But how can user-generated content specifically benefit your business? Plus, what even is it in the first place? Here, we’ve listed a few advantages to utilising user-generated content, and why it’s so important to brands.
What is user-generated content?
First things first – what even is user-generated content? Much as its name suggests, user-generated content is original, though brand-specific content that is created by audiences and customers that are published mainly on social media (though also on other channels). It can come in a variety of forms, such as videos, images, reviews, testimonials, podcasts, and more.
Where does it come from?
Here are a few places where user-generated content comes from:
Customers: This can include unboxing videos or reviews on Instagram. Generally speaking, your customers and audience are one of the most prominent groups you can gain user-generated content from, either because they have decided to organically shared content about your brand or because you have asked for it.
Employees: User-generated content from your employees showcases the story and value behind your brand. For instance, this includes photos of behind the scenes, or of employees talking about why they enjoy working at your company. These kinds of content help to establish and build brand identity, as well as demonstrateyour brand’s authenticity and relatability.
Brandloyalists: These types of people aren’t just paying customers; they are loyal advocates and fans of your brand. As such, they are typically the most passionate and enthusiastic about your product or service. Therefore, this segment of your audience is likely the easiest to reach out to and ask for specific user-generated content.
Why is important?
There are a few big reasons why user-generated content is so important for brands.In fact, user-generated content is used in all stages of the buyer’s journey, in order to help increase conversions and influence audience engagement. This type of content can be used in a variety of ways, either through email newsletters, landing pages, social media, or even checkout pages.
Establishes brand loyalty and grows community
One main benefit that user-generated content brings is that is a fantastic opportunity for audiences to participate in a brand’s growth, instead of merely being a spectator. As such, this helps to increase brand loyalty, because most people thrive off of being part of a movement or just do not want to miss out on something (the FOMO effect). User-generated content allows audiences to be a part of the brand’s community.
Additionally, this type of content can open upconversations between a consumer and a brand, so that the community becomes more involved and engaged, therefore deepening brand and consumer relationships.
Nowadays, most consumers want brands to be authentic and relatable. This is mainly because, with the online space so saturated, audiences have become desensitised to hard-sell techniques, and are more selective about the types of brands they interact with and purchase from. This is especially true for the younger generation, such as Gen Z.
In fact, 60% of marketers state that quality and authenticity are equally important elements when it comes to creating successful content. So, there is basically no content that is more authentic than user-generated content. That being said, you must not fake any user-generated content for your campaigns, even if you might be tempted. Audiences are very savvy and can quickly sniff out any false posts, which in turn could damage your brand reputation badly. Instead, get user-generated content from either your customers, brand loyalists, or employees, as we have mentioned above. In effect, user-generated content is today’s word-of-mouth marketing, with consumers being 2.4 times more likely to view user-generated content compared to content created by companies.
There is no doubt that user-generated content is incredibly influential, especially in the last stages of the buyer’s journey. This is where marketers and brands are looking to convert their audience so that they will eventually buy something from them.
On the whole, user-generated content acts as a type of authentic social proof that a brand’s product is worthy to be bought. For instance, if your audience sees people who are similar to them genuinely enjoying and using the product or service, they may believe that this product or service could impact them the same way. As such, they are more likely to make a purchase. If you want to be even more creative, you can even use non-human customers using your products – for example, a dog or cat, or any other pet!
Broadly speaking, people across all ages and demographics believe and view user-generated content as being more trustworthy. This is because user-generated content tends to be created by people who already love your brand. So, their opinions are seen as unbiased and genuine. Statistics showcase that almost half (47%) of millennials and 36% of baby boomers trust user-generated content. On the other hand, only 25% of both demographics say that they trust branded content.
User-generated visuals are also one of the most highly trusted types of content. 72% of shoppers and generally influenced by Instagram photos of a particular product. However, user-generated videos on YouTube tend to get 10 times more views than content that is branded. Unsurprisingly, this is great for travel marketers, as their brands and products lend well to people showcasing a lot of visual content.
Marketing budgets sometimes get stretched thin, and sometimes brands go over budget. This is because resources and cash are sometimes very limited, so marketers have to get creative when it comes to promoting a brand’s products and services.
Fortunately, user-generated content is incredibly cost-effective and can help brands stretch their marketing budget. Because you are mainly sourcing images from your fans on social media, there is hardly any cost involved (and if there is, it is usually pretty cheap).
Aside from that, millions of people are already sharing posts on social media, so you can tap into how popular social media is in order to expand and scale your brand. Not surprisingly, user-generated content is one of the greatest sources of visual marketing marketers have at their disposal.
As such, marketers generally use a mix of user-generated content with branded or commissioned content. This combination tends to work very well—brand engagement increased by an average of 28% when both visuals are utilised in tandem with each other.