No matter where you look, many companies have waves of content hitting the shores of blogs, social media platforms, and other sources. However, the most important and valuable content doesn’t always come from a company or anyone it hires.
The subject of today’s post is user-generated content. While this term might sound complex, it’s not. Trust me—user-generated content can pay off in many ways.
In this post, you’ll learn what user-generated content is, why it’s beneficial, and how you can start getting it!
Table of Contents
What is user-generated content?
Whether you hear it called consumer-generated content or UGC, they’re all forms of user-generated content. This type of content specifically comes from your customers or employees.
In most cases, user-generated content comes from consumers or people. However, B2B companies can also generate user-generated content.
The main types of user-generated content
You know the basics about content created by users. Now, let’s dive deeper and take a quick look into the main types of user-generated content.
Reviews and testimonials
Did you know that 88% of people surveyed trust online reviews as much as they would recommendations from trusted friends? If you’re anything like me, you check online reviews for anything from seeing a movie to buying new earbuds.
If your company has reviews floating around, and they’re positive, it’s time to display them front and center. You could create a collage containing the positive things people say about your business. Or throw a few snippets from your reviews on the front page of your website.
Social media posts
Considering the ease of sharing, a lot of user-generated content ends up on social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. It’s also easy to reach users on social media, giving another check in the plus column.
Social media channels are also perfect for contests, which I’ll cover a little further down.
Reading positive things about your business is great. But it’s even better when images back up the nice words people have about your company.
An image can catch the eye of even the busiest social or web scroller.
According to Wyzowl, 91% of people want to see companies making more video content. If you’re feeling a little camera shy, video content doesn’t have to come from you or anyone working for your business.
Instead, why not have your company’s biggest fans step in front of their smartphones or cameras to tell the world what makes your business great?
Valuable user-generated content can also come from people doing live streams. Since you’re likely targeting streamers with some kind of following, this strategy also involves influencer marketing.
With the right partnerships, working with streamers can get relevant user-generated content in front of viewers or listeners instantly.
Blog or web posts
Depending on the people who make up your user base, it’s also possible to get user-generated content created in the form of blog posts. This form of user-generated content typically comes with having an affiliate program in place.
The benefits of user-generated content
Before you start a UGC campaign, it’s understandable to want to know why it’s beneficial. Here’s a closer look at the many benefits of user-generated content.
Makes your business more credible
Credibility is an important factor. To put it another way, being credible makes your business appear legitimate in the eyes of potential customers.
For example, imagine that you need to update your wardrobe and go clothes shopping this weekend. Let’s say that, before your shopping trip, you see advertisements for a certain clothing brand. Then, you also notice while you’re out that other people are wearing this particular brand of clothing.
Chances are, when the weekend arrives, and it’s time to buy new clothes, you’re likely going to be persuaded to check out and potentially buy clothing from the previously mentioned popular brand.
User-generated content works in a similar manner. Consumers are used to a company’s marketing efforts. But consumers trust content created by customers. When these people see other individuals representing your company, it builds trust in those who might be skeptical about your company.
A cost-effective form of marketing
When it comes to selecting a marketing strategy, you have multiple platforms and strategies to choose from. And, as you know, some forms of marketing are more cost-effective than others.
Getting authentic user-generated content doesn’t require contracts, fees, or expenses.
If your brand is on a budget, user and employee-generated content can get your company’s name out there for free. To get it, just treat your employees and customers well.
Improving your website’s SEO
User-generated content marketing is also great for helping a website reach and maintain search engine rankings. But how does this work?
- Content generated by your customers hits websites and social media platforms.
- These people’s followers and random page or post viewers see the user-generated content.
- Some people who see this content might visit your company’s websites and social media pages or interact with your brand online in another way.
There are many ranking factors that play into how well a website ranks in search engines. One of these factors (a major one) is how much traffic your website receives.
As your company’s UGC content makes its way around the internet, it can help generate a ton of traffic and leads.
How to start getting consumer-generated content
You learned what makes user-generated content important. Now, let’s get to the really exciting stuff. Use these tips to get any UGC campaign off to a great start.
1. Host a contest
A tried and true method for getting user-generated content is hosting a contest. Whether you give away free products, services, discounts, or something similar, contests are extremely effective for many brands.
You can launch contests on a social media platform, through email, or on your website. Wherever you choose to host a contest, you have a great way to incentivize customers.
As long as you’re giving away something that’s worth the effort, ask for user-generated content for it!
2. Simply ask
In the digital age we live in, it’s easier than ever for companies to reach out to business partners and customers. However, whether intentionally or not, many businesses avoid asking customers or partners for UGC images or content.
So, why not reach out to social media users, customers, and email subscribers for user-generated posts? At worst, you’ll get no responses and some “no’s.” The best-case scenario is that your business gets a wave of user-created content.
3. Use your most popular platforms
Let’s say that your company has 23 LinkedIn followers, 10 Instagram followers, and 2,000 Facebook followers. Where would your business likely have the most luck getting user-generated content? If you answered Facebook, you’re correct.
Every business has different-sized followings throughout the internet. Find where your largest following is and try having a contest or asking for UGC on this platform.
4. Reach out to influencers
If you’re pulling off a marketing campaign for a new business, you might not have many fans to hit up for user content. That’s okay!
If your business has some room in its budget, reach out to influencers. This is influencer marketing, which involves companies paying influencers to promote their products or services.
Yes, getting UGC this way will cost money. But this form of marketing does work well to help companies gain more user-generated content.
5. Start building a strong community
If you want people to share content about your business, it’s beneficial to have a platform that people want to join. Some companies have popular social media groups. Other businesses have a good-sized list of email subscribers.
So, take a page from these companies and work to build a community. This community of eager brand fans can be digital or even groups of in-person meetings.
For an example of how to build a community, check out this example from Jeep. The Jeep Brand Community goes beyond UGC content and, for fans of this company, becomes part of their lives.
Throughout the year, Jeep hosts events where Jeep drivers can come together to share their passion for this brand with each other.
I hope this post will help you integrate UGC into your business. When done well, user-generated content can help skyrocket a brand’s growth like few things can. Check out Content Marketing Life for more tips to help you create content and market your business.
Alex Eagleton is a copywriter and digital marketer passionate about helping companies connect with customers. Throughout the past decade, he’s worked with companies including Referral Rock, Connecteam, and Ramsey Solutions. He’s a versatile writer who understands how to align with companies, truly matching their voices and tones.
When he’s not writing, he enjoys spending time with his dogs, reading, and playing guitar.
You can reach him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.