How to Get Started with User-Generated Content (UGC)
User-generated content (UGC) is a powerful tool for businesses aiming to fortify their brand, foster loyalty, and drive sales. UGC encompasses content brand users create, such as social media posts, reviews, comments, and photos.
It presents an excellent opportunity to establish an authentic and engaging connection with your audience. However, many brands may feel uncertain about where to begin. Let’s delve into the comprehensive guide on leveraging UGC to your advantage, empowering you with the knowledge and strategies to succeed.
Understanding User-Generated Content
In today’s digital age, UGC is absolutely vital for any successful digital marketing campaign. However, it’s important to remember that not all UGC is created equal.
If you’re looking to dive into the world of user-generated content, it’s crucial to understand that various tactics yield different results depending on your target audience. Therefore, each brand must carefully evaluate and choose the most effective method.
Here are a few compelling types of content to consider when venturing into UGC:
Testimonials and Reviews
Reviews and ratings are one of the most common types of UGC. They provide valuable insights into a product, service, or the brand itself, and can influence purchase decisions for better or worse. From finding a new place to eat to downloading an app, customers are keen to look at reviews as a form of assurance that they’re making the right choice. Positive reviews and high ratings can also boost SEO, leading to higher visibility and increased organic traffic to your website and landing pages.
Brands can also leverage user-generated blog posts to foster engagement. If a customer writes a blog post about your product or service, this can be considered UGC. Blog posts from customers or influencers sharing their experience with a product or a brand can help build credibility.
However, if these blog posts aren’t coming about naturally, it can be worthwhile to add an influencer marketing strategy to the mix. In this case, the influencers you would work with would be experienced bloggers with a connection to your core target audience. For example, a fitness brand might benefit from hiring TikTok influencers who mainly blog about health and lifestyle.
- Pro tip: Using backlinks and promoting these articles on social media can help boost SEO and brand awareness.
Social Media Posts
Social media platforms are a treasure trove of UGC. You can always leverage posts from customers showcasing their experience with your brand or product to boost conversions.
Encouraging UGC with hashtags or contests is an excellent way to harness the power of organic social media and boost your brand’s popularity. However, social media is another place where influencer-made UGC reigns supreme.
Photos and Videos
When your customers personally share a personal photo or video of your product or service, it presents a prime opportunity for user-generated content (UGC). Connect with them to seek permission to share their content on your brand’s social media account, or better yet, encourage them to share it themselves and tag it. Consider offering incentives, such as giveaways or contests, to motivate your audience to do the same.
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User-Generated Content Case Studies
If you’ve ever looked into how to get user-generated content, you may have already encountered some excellent examples from other brands. UGC is a great way to create content that resonates with your audience – whoever that may be.
Let’s go over some examples of brands that have effectively used UGC to promote their product or service:
Bioré is a Japanese skincare brand that has reached global success. You’re probably familiar with their pore strips or facial washes, but their range of pore-focused skincare is wide. On their journey to boost awareness and sales for their Clean Detox line, Moburst connected them with our army of UGC creators who showcased the brand’s efficacy with a personalized touch.
This content reached the top 1% of clicks in Bioré’s connected history and the top 3% for the broader fast-moving consumer goods industry. With 10.2 million impressions and 9.6 million views, it’s safe to say that UGC was a strong move for this consumer brand.
Known for their health-focused dog and cat food, Blue Buffalo provides nourishment for every stage of your furry friend’s life. Everyone loves to watch dog videos, so it’s unsurprising that UGC for a pet food brand would be as effective as it is cute. Promoting Blue Bits treats and the rest of their range, we connected Blue Buffalo with an influencer who was well-connected with pet owners.
This particular UGC campaign reached 5.2 million views and upwards of 6 million impressions. It reached the top 1% of video clicks in the industry, while complete video views placed in the top 2% for their category.
Rust-Oleum is a paint provider that targets DIY-ers and professionals with everything from spray paint to automotive products. An excellent candidate for UGC, paint is something that people love to see in real lighting and real rooms.
Promoting the Color Spark pre-tinted paint, we connected Rust-Oleum with creators who specialize in lifestyle content. This correlation ensured that their message fell on eager ears.
Landing in the top 3% of clicks and top 5% of complete video views in North America’s home furnishings materials category, we saw measurable success with this strategy.
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The Role of UGC in Digital Marketing
UGC is an excellent opportunity to showcase the social proof necessary to influence potential customers. According to a 2023 Search Logistics study, campaigns that use UGC have up to 29% higher conversion rates than those that don’t.
It’s not hard to guess why, as the same study reminds us that 70% of consumers use user-generated reviews, posts, or other content to decide whether to make a purchase or not.
How to Get User-Generated Content
We’ve covered the importance of user-generated content and how effective it can be in promoting your brand, but you may be wondering how to get started with UGC.
Consider the following tips for harnessing this marketing tool:
Create an Engaged Community
If you’re on a journey to learn how to get UGC content, it’s important to decide what kind of content will benefit your brand most. Then, you can foster a community that will revolve around your product or service. in those places.
Instagram can be a great platform for visual UGC, such as photos and videos. Twitter, on the other hand, is more suitable for text-based UGC, such as reviews and testimonials.
Creating an active community on any platform requires a presence from your brand. An active organic feed brings people to your page. Replying to comments, liking stories including your content or product, and connecting with your audience encourages them to continue posting about your brand.
In the same vein, it’s crucial to always show gratitude to users who have crafted UGC for your brand. Thank them for their participation and acknowledge their contribution through a reply, a DM, or even a shout-out. This effort will pay off in the long term and encourage further participation from more users.
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Run Contests or Campaigns
When embarking on your UGC journey, keep in mind that offering worthwhile rewards is a fantastic way to encourage users. Incentives like discounts, giveaways, or exposure can significantly boost UGC participation.
- For instance, you can write an engaging social media post related to your brand and run a contest where the best, funniest, or most accurate UGC is rewarded with free products or a featured account on your social media or website. This motivates people to create content.
Incentives within app interfaces are also popular. The gamification of UGC is an effective method to spread content without relying on external campaigns.
- In-app rewards such as stickers or statuses often have the option to share on social media. Moreover, these small benefits can encourage users to leave reviews, rate your app, or contribute to future campaigns.
Use Hashtags Effectively
Unsure how to get user-generated content and how to keep track of it? If you’re targeting social media UGC, a catchy, branded hashtag can encourage users to post and help you organize the content for future use. Utilizing a hashtag not only boosts notoriety but also encourages a sense of community by connecting those who use and love your product or service.
Collaborate with UGC Creators
As mentioned above, connecting with expert UGC creators or influencers is an excellent way to gather high-quality UGC. Consider partnering with vetted influencers if you’re looking for quick content wins that will penetrate your desired audience. UGC from influencers often reaches a wider audience, but you also likely have more control over the content.
Depending on your desired influencer’s popularity, you can collaborate through product trades, exposure deals, or payment. Trade deals ensure less creative guidance with UGC content, but paid deals can often secure the homemade feel of UGC while getting across the key selling points you want the audience to tune into.
How to Effectively Utilize UGC
After understanding how to acquire UGC content, the question arises: how can its potential be harnessed to achieve tangible and significant outcomes? UGC, while being an exceptional catalyst, cannot bear the entirety of marketing responsibilities on its own.
Therefore, it’s crucial to comprehend the art of guiding, motivating, and effectively tracking the impact of your UGC initiatives once they are set in motion.
Share and Adapt to Different Social Media Platforms
Each social media platform is different and caters to various types of content. It’s important to know your goals before you start sharing user-generated content across different platforms. Users scroll through different apps for different reasons, so make sure your audience is present where you are posting.
For example, TikTok has been a hub for UGC since its creation. The laid-back, homemade feel of videos is surging in popularity and creates a warm environment for anyone’s voice. TikTok has repost features, duet features, and more that allow brands to connect UGC directly to their page. Of course, it’s vital to always ask permission before reposting and give clear credit to the account that originally created the content.
Alternatively, Instagram offers options like joint posting, brand collaboration on feed posts, and a more popular story option. Instagram caters to slightly more curated content. Users are more likely to interact with the accounts they already follow rather than constantly seeing new content through TikTok’s algorithm.
Sometimes, UGC could be adapted for both. For example, TikTok content could be reposted on Instagram Reels. However, it’s crucial to consider video specs, best practices per platform, and your goals in reaching your audience. You can check out our complete social media checklist to keep track of those.
Integrate UGC Into Your Website or App
The good old phrase, “show, don’t tell,” was practically made to promote using UGC.
UGC is an excellent way to break up branded content on your website or app. Sharing content created by your customers can help you build community, boast social proof, and encourage more purchases.
There’s a variety of ways to include UGC in your website or app, including:
- Social media posts
- Customer reviews
- How-to use cases
Whether you’re looking to seamlessly connect your branded hashtag to your page or showcase real people using your product, customers will always appreciate seeing how your offerings come to life in the real world.
How to Monitor UGC Campaign Success
Once you’ve grasped the art of leveraging UGC content, understanding how to evaluate its impact becomes paramount. UGC is often a cost-effective digital marketing tool, especially when collaborating with influencers or agencies. To gauge the success of your campaign effectively, consider factors such as content cost, production time, and its potential for future marketing endeavors.
When looking at specific UGC metrics, you’ll want to consider the goals of your campaign first.
If you were primarily searching for engagement and awareness, you’d want to look for the following when determining ROI:
- Website visits
- Average time on site
- Click-through rate
- Bounce rate
- Engagement rates on social media or other platforms
If your campaign utilized incentives to encourage UGC, consider monitoring the following:
- Hashtag or promotional code usage
- Website or app listing traffic
- Cost per conversion
When conversions are your goal, especially in an e-commerce context, you’ll want to look beyond simply revenue and look into the following:
- Conversion rate
- Bounce rate
- CTA click-through rate
Remember, UGC can be a double-edged sword. While it can be a great way to engage customers, it can also expose your brand to negative comments and reviews.
Therefore, it’s important to monitor and moderate UGC to ensure it aligns with your brand’s values and standards. Once you know how to get started with UGC, you can use social media monitoring tools to track mentions and comments related to your brand and respond appropriately.
UGC is a great way to create an authentic and engaging connection with your audience. However, it can be daunting to get started in UGC. By taking the steps above, you can create a successful UGC campaign that achieves your goals and strengthens your brand. We recommend connecting with a UGC marketing agency that can help develop and execute a tailored, successful campaign that perfectly aligns with your business goals.
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