Why you should user-generated content in your marketing strategy

Across industries, brands are already thinking ahead to their 2021 marketing strategy. If your goal is to work smarter not harder, then user-generated content (UGC) should be a part of your marketing plan.

What is user-generated content (UGC)?

UGC is content that real people (generally, loyal fans) create. It can include images, text, videos, and reviews. Thanks to app features on popular social media platforms like Instagram that make sharing easy, UGC has risen in popularity.

Not only is it easy for brands to share UGC on their own social media accounts, but doing so has proven to be a highly effective marketing strategy. Brands of all sizes and niches are prioritizing user-generated content in their marketing strategies. Reasons include promoting authenticity and driving sales. After diving deeper into the benefits of incorporating UGC in your marketing strategy, you can formulate a plan for how to do so compellingly and efficiently.

The benefits of user-generated content in your marketing strategy

It’s no secret that creating fresh, engaging content for your social media channels is a constant challenge. From editing images and writing captions to researching hashtags and responding to comments, a lot of work goes into all your content marketing. Incorporating user-generated content into your marketing strategy will help to lighten your content creation load.

The benefits don’t end there.

These days, many consumers, particularly younger generations, are wary of traditional marketing efforts. Generation Z consumers have been inundated with digital marketing for their entire lives. As a result, they don’t like artificial or manufactured advertising. To effectively market to Gen Z and savvy consumers of all ages, you must strive for authenticity.

That’s where UGC comes in. Consumers are 2.4 times more likely to view user-generated content as authentic compared to content created by brands, according to a Stackla survey. Having UGC as a central part of your marketing strategy boosts your credibility and builds trust. It’s a way to let people hear from other customers before making their own purchasing decisions. The Stackla survey also revealed that nearly 80% of respondents said UGC has a high impact on whether they ultimately buy or not.

By making user-generated content a part of your marketing strategy, you’re handing over the mic to your brand’s biggest fans. Instead of telling your target audience how your product or service will impact their life, utilizing UGC is a chance to show them. Potential customers are far more likely to connect with a real person than a paid spokesmodel.

How to effectively implement user-generated content

For many brands, Instagram is the primary platform for UGC. Features like hashtags and tagging make finding the content customers are creating about your products and services simple. In addition to reposting to your grid (with permission, of course), you can share UGC in Instagram Stories and create a Highlight that lives on your profile. Providing potential buyers with testimonials will enhance the customer experience. Encourage them to check out your website for more information.

While Instagram might be the most popular platform for UGC, it isn’t the only place you can put this marketing strategy to work. Consider sharing user-generated content on your other social media channels, your website, and email campaigns. Nearly anywhere you’d promote your content is an opportunity to share UGC instead. Be on the lookout for situations where, in place of telling potential buyers how great your product or service is, you can have an actual customer share their real experience.

Part of effectively implementing user-generated content is taking the time to consciously build a content library. Tools like BrandYourself and Social Mention can help you track what people are saying about your brand online. Rather than waiting for customers to create UGC on their own, encourage them to do so with campaigns. To ensure you always have relevant material to share, establish a branded hashtag and promote its use. It’s helpful to spend time brainstorming ways that UGC aligns with your marketing strategy. You should have a clear ask for customers.

Tips for adding UGC to your marketing strategy

Beyond having a clear ask for customers regarding the type of user-generated content you’re most likely to feature, there are several other best practices to keep in mind for sharing UGC. Most importantly, you should always request permission before sharing content on your channels. Even if you’re tagged in a post or the creator used your branded hashtag, you should ask for permission to share it. This simple action can help to avoid copyright issues and shows the creator that you appreciate their work.

Keep the goodwill going and be sure to always credit the original creator when you share UGC. For example, on Instagram, tag the person in the post and include their handle in the caption. Crediting the creator will inspire them to keep posting about your brand. Furthermore, it’s proof to your followers that the content is, in fact, user-generated.

Important protocols are in place regarding asking permission and crediting creators. Brands of all sizes and niches can benefit from making UGC a part of their marketing strategy. When implemented alongside your own branded content, user-generated content can boost credibility, build trust, and, ultimately, drive sales. As consumers become savvier so must marketers. Rather than working harder, you can work smarter by making user-generated content part of your marketing strategy.

This guest blog article was written by Noah Rue, a freelance writer who is fascinated with the world of search engine optimization, marketing, and social media.