Take a closer look at the content you’re reading online and you’ll see one common theme: people sharing their opinions. Whether it’s a tweet thread, Instagram story, or a blog update, there is user-generated content (UGC) everywhere you scroll. People are talking about products, services, and brands they love (and in many cases, hate) on different mediums online.
This is possibly because technology is becoming increasingly user-friendly. It’s simple for users to provide honest reviews and feedback in various formats. UGC is becoming paramount to marketing strategies. It’s valuable for a brand’s overall presence, but also gives customers and clients a chance to be part of a bigger community, to feel like their voice is being heard. For brands, it provides an opportunity to respond to the feedback and improve, make changes, and connect with their base.
When you get to place where your customers are actively posting about your brand because they’re just that excited, don’t let it go to waste. Here are a few specific reasons why user-generated content is important.
Instagram alone reports upwards of 800 million active Instagram users monthly. Many of which are your brand’s customers or clients. People are actively involved and want their voices to be heard; even if it’s through the power of a small, filtered image and a line or two of text.
In addition, 58% of internet users across the globe have uploaded or shared a video online as of Q3 2017. What if this content was sharing something positive about your brand, while engaging new users at the same time? Think of how many eyes are on your products or services at any given time, solely based on the audience reach available.
Don’t get too hung up on follower count: good UGC is good UGC. Simply consider if the user’s shared imagery reflects your brand well. Can it be used as part of a campaign to keep your audience engaged? What value does it bring your company? And more importantly, how can you acknowledge that value back to your customer?
Influencer marketing often relies on having a budget and if available, a list of influencers you’ve worked with in the past to promote your brand. This is a valuable strategy and can be part of your UGC campaign. However, you don’t always have to rely on a group of paid influencers to advocate your brand.
One of the first steps you can take is to speak with your client services team. Do they have any testimonials or positive reviews they can share? You can spotlight these by posting on your website, sharing on social media, or creating new content from them in video or other written format.
With brand advocacy, you can start small and grow. It speaks to how your brand is perceived, making changes needed, and sharing positive feedback that will help improve that perception.
As a consumer, it’s nice to hear from a “real” person. Someone who isn’t in the marketing industry or “doing it for the ‘gram,” but a person who wants to share how excited they are about a product they’ve tried or a place they’ve been and want to tell others about it.
That’s the kind of feeling you want your brand to generate; a feeling of excitement and urgency no matter what your marketing strategies include. You want anyone who comes into contact with your brand on any level to feel a positive response to it.
Because of this word-of-mouth sharing, it organically creates an online community of fans. In marketing terms, an audience of people ready to consume your content and provide the valuable feedback you need to plan your next campaign. This cycle of social listening and user-generated content creation is what makes the brand-to-consumer so strong when used wisely.
Read the UGC campaign case study IMI created for Constellation – StarTex Power.