What’s the big deal about user-generated content, and why should your brand care? Here are three key reasons UGC is a key marketing strategy you can’t ignore.
User-generated content (UGC) is some content—text, videos, images, reviews, etc.—created by people, rather than brands. And brands will often share UGC on their own social media accounts, website, and other marketing channels.
For many brands, Instagram is the primary platform for UGC. Users create and share posts featuring your brand, exposing your products and services to their audience. Better yet, you can share that content with your own audience, boosting your credibility in the process.
User-generated content and its impact on branding
Initially, businesses were cautious about using UGC to represent their brand, and rightly so. At first, it was hard to justify exchanging perfect-looking professional content for unpolished consumer content. But as phone cameras have gotten exponentially better every passing year and social networks have made UGC easily accessible, it’s no longer something brands can afford to ignore.
Everyday consumers have now become the world’s greatest content creators.
UGC is authentic
Marketers dedicate a lot of time and money to crafting the perfect messages and professional imagery they think consumers want to see. But it turns out consumers don’t want perfect, they want real.
When asked, many consumers say authenticity is important when deciding which brands they like and support, and some say UGC is the most authentic form of content.
People more readily trust the recommendation of a real person over what a brand says about itself. So why does UGC rank so high on the authenticity scale? Consumers simply relate more to everyday people who resemble themselves or people they know. The authenticity that comes from real UGC can’t be faked, either.
UGC inspires brand loyalty
Brands that take advantage of readily available UGC are brands that put their audience first—talking with them rather than at them. As a result, UGC has the potential to deepen the connection between brand and consumer.
UGC allows people to feel like they are a participant in your brand instead of just an onlooker. The result of more UGC in your marketing means higher levels of brand enthusiasm and the cultivation of more loyalty toward the brand.
UGC is Memorable
Marketers are constantly battling to cut through the noise to grab and hold people’s attention. You can come up with the best message or imagery, but what is it worth if no one remembers it?
User-generated content has been proven to be more memorable than traditional advertising. Millennials, in particular, find UGC 35 percent more memorable than other media.
UGC builds customer trust
Today, trust is the marketing Holy Grail that brands are seeking to get from their audience. Of course, it’s also one of the hardest things to achieve.
User-generated content helps foster more trust from consumers for the reasons mentioned above: it’s authentic and allows for more interaction between people and businesses. Not only can people identify if an image was created by a consumer as opposed to a brand, but 92 percent of consumers trust earned media (recommendations from friends, family or peers) more than any other form of content.
Because UGC is widely trusted, more memorable than other media, and ubiquitous in people’s everyday lives, it has emerged as one of the most influential forms of content.
UGC influences consumers and improves conversion rates
The numbers don’t lie. The more a brand uses UGC, the more it inspires people to convert.
Acting as a powerful source of social proof, 79 percent of consumers say their purchasing decisions are highly influenced by user-generated content. In comparison, only 8 percent of people say that celebrity or social media influencer content highly impacts their purchasing decisions—making UGC 9.8x more influential than social influencers.
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