Content is king, and brands understand well that content plays an important role in a company’s branding. For companies to build a good reputation around their audience, they need to plan their content strategy to help them build a good image in the eyes of their customers. Customers can trust a brand only when they feel it is authentic and has a good experience with its product and service. When a brand isn’t perceived well by its customers, chances are more that the brand may fail to survive in the market.
The e-commerce ecosystem is expanding rapidly globally. The opportunities are also expanding for e-commerce brands, but these brands encounter major issues such as brand trust, loyalty, and conversion rate problems. Content that provides accurate information, trust signals, and authenticity is highly important to consumers’ buying decisions. Also, customers that have never interacted with brands, for the first interactions, want to rely on others to know about a brand.
So how can brands take care of this aspect? In such situations, user-generated content (UGC) comes to the brand’s rescue, which plays a vital role in building its reputation among its audience. Alongside, UGC will also be one of the most focused 2023 digital marketing trends. In this article, we will understand user-generated content and the benefits of user-generated content for brands in the long run.
What is UGC(User Generated Content)?
User-generated content is a combination of text, imagery, and video posted by actual users rather than created by the brand. From product reviews on the brand’s websites to posts on social media platforms, UGC can take many forms and generate meaningful customer interest even without direct involvement from the brand. Customers’ reviews of products are an essential part of most marketing strategies as user-generated content of brands.
Studies have shown that less than half of online consumers trust ads with users and online reviews over the content within magazines, TV, and newspapers that brands create. Additionally, online retailers utilize social media extensively by collaborating with influencers on Instagram and soliciting content from a broader audience.
What is the Importance of User Generated Content?
The UGC is considered an important strategy for brands that they include in their content marketing strategies. User-generated content focuses on offering cost-effective ways to grow your business and introduce new marketing strategies. There’s also no need to invest dollars working with agencies to produce brand assets or content that emphasize creating branded content. Brands with user-generated content can connect with the most important people in their businesses: their potential audience. A study by Merkley and Partners reveals that approximately 93% of customers value user-generated content when purchasing. Hence not including UGC in your content marketing strategy can result in losing customers.
How Does User Generated Content Really Affect Brands?
Customers can actively participate in the growth of brands by user-generated content instead of observing them from the sidelines. Creating UGC lets people become part of a brand’s community, which influences brand loyalty and affinity in a big way. User-generated content is the most appropriate way to increase their conversions and revenue. In addition to increasing user engagement, UGC directly correlates with conversions. Also, people tend to be more trusting of UGC than advertising when it comes to purchasing a product or service.
A ComScore study found that when consumers are exposed to a combination of professional and user-generated content, brand engagement increases by 28%. Different forms of user-generated content continuously influence purchasing decisions and psychology. Thus, by using user-generated content to their advantage, brands build a good reputation in the eyes of their audience, which results in the audience turning into customers and buying the brand’s products and services.
But again, here a question arises, how do brands use UGC in their content marketing strategies? Keep reading this user-generated content guide you will understand about different types of user-generated content that brands use.
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What are the Different Types of User Generated Content?
Social media is one of the best places where brands can make use of user-generated content for the impact on their audience. Usually, user content promoting a brand on social media is UGC for the brand. Most people tend to get influenced by any social media content posted by someone they know or by a genuine user.
Social media is a great place for people to post about their lifestyles, which can be infused with brands and accessories and their experiences with brands. These posts eventually become UGC for brands, which can be strategically used to gain a large audience.
Brands can leverage social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube to create content that is generated by customers, enabling them to uncover market layers and keep audience members engaged. Brands also use hashtag campaigns and live video streaming for engagement, leading to great user-generated content.
Reviews and Testimonials
Reviews and testimonials are the best types of user-generated content. These are responsible statements that acknowledge the authenticity of the brands that help other customers get to know them before they experience them. Since these are the most organic form of feedback, they can contribute to global brand growth and encourage audience interaction. Customer reviews allow customers to express their opinions and give other consumers information about your brand. Additionally, it can point out areas of improvement for brands that they can consider for their betterment.
Social media is one of the most common places where you can see UGC in videos. Youtube is a top-video-based social platform where people look out for reviews and testimonials to get first-hand experience before buying any products or services for themselves. Over time, even Instagram and Tiktok have contributed as short video platforms used by brands where they consider collaborating with brands for influencers for product promotions. Even in the form of giveaways, brands ask people to give a review about their experience with a brand against which they will provide them with gifts or discounts, and they repost these reviews in stories as UGC to engage more audiences.
It is common for bloggers to share their experiences with certain products/services or product tutorials on their websites or social media pages. When a top blogger discusses their experience with a brand, it often acts as unique user-generated content (UGC) for that brand. It helps boost brand awareness among large audiences. Bloggers uploading content related to the brand (free or paid promotions) can increase followers and drive sales for the brand.
Case studies are detailed analyses of a particular product or subject, such as a person, event, or brand. Brands can acquire new customers when customers write detailed reviews describing the benefits and shortcomings of the product/service. Content is user-generated content that enables brands to present their products in a versatile and dynamic manner. The case study is the formal way of promoting brands on the digital front by sharing the opinions of other genuine customers on their websites. Through this approach, brands can increase website traffic and audience engagement.
How Can UGC Help Your Ecommerce Store?
Social media provides a platform for brands to enable customers to share user-generated content or their experience with the products on the product page directly. Offering a common forum for customers to share UGC and write reviews or testimonials is a great way for ecommerce stores to encourage their customers to create UGC for them.
User recommendations, customer reviews, and visual UGC relating to brands are found on social media, and billions of people use it to learn about new products, gain awareness, and gather information about them. By using the types mentioned earlier of user-generated content, brands have been able to gain a lot of engagement from their audience, which has also resulted in growth in the number of potential customers through which they have generated good revenue for their businesses. Let us look at some examples of user-generated content by brands.
Brands Using UGC for Their Benefit
Nike: Just Do It
Nike is one of the top brands to harness the power of the content generated by its customers and followers. Nike has used the UGC format in one of their campaigns, where they used the popular hashtag #JustDoIt which has a lot of posts and even more across other social media networks.
As Nike’s primary evergreen marketing campaign, the #JustDoIt campaign generates user-generated content around the brand. It allows people to create personalized versions of Nike products, empowering followers to create while growing brand awareness and engagement.
Starbucks: White Cup Contest
The user-generated content marketing campaigns Starbucks has run over the years have become popular. In one of their campaigns, customers were invited by Starbucks to design their coffee cups using the hashtag #WhiteCupContest. They could win a $300 gift card in exchange for their designs being printed on reusable cups.
Starbucks’ campaign was so well received that users created visually appealing social media posts and re-shared them to increase organic reach and user-generated content over various social media platforms. Although the competition ended, the campaign still drove continuous engagement and was a growing success online and in-store.
Coca-Cola: Share a Coke Campaign
Coca-Cola knows how to make user-generated content work to its advantage. One of their campaigns, the Share a Coke campaign, featured hundreds of the most popular first names on Coca-Cola cans and bottles. As part of the campaign, the in-store displays and offline ads encouraged customers to share their name on a bottle or can using the hashtag #ShareaCoke.
The campaign inspired a variety of posts in the form of user-generated content for Instagram and other platforms such as social media posts and casual selfies. Not only did Coca-Cola get more authentic content for its social networks, it also lets consumers engage with the brand while expressing their creativity.
GoPro: Best Action Camera
GoPro is one of the most successful companies with high social media engagement. They are leveraging user-generated content opportunities in the best ways for their user-generated content on Instagram and other Social Media platforms by becoming an enjoyable platform and a place for all adventure lovers. Unlike many brands, GoPro does not gush over its social media success.
User-generated content is the focus, and GoPro’s social media is about people’s adventures. Pro engages the adventurers in various challenges and shares their experiences using GoPro’s action cameras, against which they offer various cash rewards and prizes. They also ensure that people can easily create and share content, removing unnecessary friction in their experience-sharing journey.
Ecommerce brands can leverage user-generated content in any form to improve their revenue and grow their business by leveraging UGC in all its forms. UGC campaigns are the best way for your ecommerce brand to gain its audience’s trust and increase its credibility among its customers since it is the ultimate way to increase your brand’s visibility. With the proper support, you can integrate user-generated content into your content marketing strategy and lead your business toward growth in both online and offline markets.