UGC: How to Leverage It to Boost Your Brand

user generated contentAre you looking to motivate your most fervent supporters to help you grow your brand? If so, embrace the power of UGC a.k.a. user-generated content

Marketing has evolved over time. While the smoke-filled room full of storyboarded print layouts (think: Mad Men) seems a little antiquated by today’s standards, there are leaders in business who haven’t fully grasped or adopted the concept of user-generated content, or UGC.

UGC is content that has been created by the customer of a business, not by the business itself. An Amazon review is one of the simplest forms of UGC. Yet, most will agree that the “number of stars” an item gets is a huge indicator of the products upside sales potential. If you want to boost your business, UGC is a must.

Here is some food for thought, if you’re considering implementing UGC into your site:

*65% of 18-24-year-old social media users consider feedback that is shared on social media sites prior to making a buying decision.

*70% of consumers today believe peer reviews over company-created content or advertisements.

*84% of millennials indicate that a company’s UGC influences their purchase.

*ComScore reports that brand engagement is increased by 28% when site visitors are shown both UGC and professional content.

User-generated content is the backbone of many sites. High-volume retailers and businesses that actively cultivate their online presence rely on the feedback and reviews from their respective customers to bridge the gap between company and consumer.

Create a Marketing Strategy Using UGC

Start by taking a look at the types of images, videos, and content that your existing customer base is already searching for. Unless you have appropriate analytics software in-house, consider partnering with a digital marketing agency to handle this part of the job. Once you know what interests your customers, you can create a UGC campaign that is most likely to start a conversation among your clients.

Identify Trends

By identifying trends, you can start to understand a few key pieces:

* What are your customers most likely to share?

* Who among your customer base is most likely to emerge as a brand advocate?

* In what way will your clients most likely share content or images?

* Where are your customers when they’re sharing – at home? At work? On vacation? Tailor the UGC based on how your audience is responding to your brand.

Don’t hesitate to ask your customers to actively engage with your brand by tagging your business with an appropriate hashtag. You create the hashtag, then generate a call-to-action statement that encourages customers to jump in and flaunt their stuff using your tag.

Saks, for example, places signs around their physical locations and on their website that encourages shoppers to show off their best looks while using the hashtag, #SaksStyle. The CTA is perfect – “Want to be a style icon? Tag #SaksStyle so everyone can shop your look on saks.com/saksstyle.” The campaign not only gets customers involved, but it also plays to their ego. Dress nicely using Saks clothing and accessories, and you can show others how to get the same look. Genius.

Partner with Social Influencers

One way to add UGC to your site in a highly-effective way is by leveraging the power and reach of specialized social influencers. These contemporary marketing wizards passively drive millions of dollars of revenue each year to a range of businesses by simply using, displaying, and/or reviewing products or services. Some of the top social influencers today boast millions of followers, which translates into the potential for serious visibility for your brand.

Take Huda Kattan, for example. This Hollywood-trained makeup artist is a top beauty blogger who shares tutorials and product reviews via Instagram. She has more than 14 million followers, and partners with Sephora to create a mutually beneficial relationship that is certainly boosting the beauty company’s visibility in the marketplace.

User-generated content has transformed brands into empires. GoPro is now established as the consumer video recorder of choice among the active set. This digital recording system is a veritable UGC machine, as the kind of content it creates is bound to translate into some seriously compelling videos that will capture the attention of site visitors in no time. GoPro doesn’t have to spend money on fancy ad campaigns and marketing promos. Instead, it lets the public use the GoPro system as it is intended, and incredible UGC is the result.

UGC is an absolute must if you’re serious about growing your business. Consumers of all ages now expect unique content, videos, and links on a company’s website. Leverage the power of UGC to show your target customer just how committed you are to giving them the recognition they deserve.

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