UGC Marketing Strategies That Drive Results: Best Practices for Success

UGC

Think about a time you researched purchasing a product, a new camera for example. Perhaps you were introduced to the camera because a friend posted some amazing photos they’d just taken with it. Maybe it prompted you to do a little research. You find some videos on YouTube of users raving about the shooting modes and read several positive Google reviews. Ultimately this is enough to convince you to go on the company’s website and purchase the same camera as your friend.

In this example, user-generated content played an important role throughout the purchasing journey. With recommendations from family, friends, and even strangers being one of the most influential factors in consumers’ purchasing decisions, user-generated content offers brands a potentially free and incredibly effective advertising strategy.

If you aren’t leveraging user-generated content as part of your social media strategy, you’ve come to the right place. We will introduce you to user-generated content strategies and tips that can help boost your engagement.

What is User-Generated Content?

User-generated content, or UGC, is original and brand-specific content created by customers, brand enthusiasts, employees, or UGC creators for social media or other channels. UGC marketing harnesses this content to endorse a product, service, or brand.

UGC can take many forms, such as images, reels, reviews, blog posts, podcasts, tweets, and much more. It can be anything from a reel from an enthusiastic customer, to a post from an employee about how much they enjoy their job, to a paid post from an influencer. 

Although paid partnerships can play a useful role in a brand’s social media strategy, paying a creator to publish branded content is viewed by consumers as being far less impactful than genuine UGC when making a purchasing decision.

Why UGC is so Beneficial for Your Social Media Strategy

UGC plays an essential role in a brand’s social media marketing strategy. It can be used across nearly every stage of a buyer’s journey and can be a powerful driver of consumer purchasing decisions.

Authenticity Drives Engagement and Builds Community

UGC created by real customers offers a genuine perspective on a brand or product and can sell the product experience better than any brand-generated advertisements. 90% of consumers say authenticity is important for determining which brands to support, and consumers are 2.4 times as likely to view UGC as authentic than brand-generated content. Building genuine interactions around your brand will ultimately create more loyalists and grow your brand’s community, the ultimate goal of UGC marketing.

This Authenticity Builds Trust in the Brand and the Product

Seeing real people enjoy a product, have a positive experience with a service, or endorse a brand all help to build trust in the brand. Having an authentic endorsement from users goes a long way in proving a brand’s value and quality.

UGC is Cost-effective 

Social media marketing is one of the most popular and effective marketing strategies these days. Paying for social media ads or partnering with influencers can cost thousands of dollars. In theory, UGC can be nearly free and far more time-effective than creating an original social media post. 

Increase Conversions

UGC works like a modern expansion of word-of-mouth recommendations. It taps into people’s natural tendency to look for advice and validation from the people they engage with. This authenticity dramatically increases consumer engagement with the content and with the product, to the point where 79% of people say that UGC highly impacts their purchasing decisions. 

UGC Marketing Strategies That Drive Results

Engage With Your Customers

Perhaps the simplest and most fundamental UGC marketing strategy is to consistently engage with your customers’ content. Connect with your customers, repost their content, and foster relationships with loyalists who truly love your brand. It is particularly advantageous if you build relationships with customers with higher follower counts. This can lead to paid-partnership relationships, or simply encourage them to post positive experiences that they have with your brand.

Create a Branded Hashtag

Introducing a branded hashtag is a simple way to motivate consumers to generate brand-related content. Hashtags give a clear connection back to your brand, make it easier for you to find UGC content, and have the added benefit of creating a space for the community to grow. Requesting consumers to tag their posts with your branded hashtag is a clear call to action that you can add to several touchpoints, such as packaging, your brand’s social media bios, product pages, and post-purchase emails. 

Gamification 

A strategy that has become increasingly popular among brands is to create polls, quizzes, or contests to drive engagement with content or a marketing campaign. Gamification strategies attract users with rewards or benefits of participating in the contest or game. In return, your brand gets user-generated content that you can use in your UGC marketing strategy.

Use UGC for Ad Creatives

UGC can make for much more engaging organic ad campaigns than polished and edited branded ads. With permission, you can use user-generated content on your brand’s organic social media posts, in your online store, or in personalized emails. You can even create a landing page for a UGC gallery with links to product pages to make it easily shoppable.

To make this easier, you can use a UGC collection engine to automatically pull Instagram tags and @ mentions into a content library that you can use to select posts that you might want to use.

Tips and UGC Best Practices

Always Get Permission

If you are going to share someone’s original content on your website or repost their content on social media, always be sure to ask first. Failing to get permission from a content creator is a surefire way to kill the trust that you were trying to build in the first place. 

Credit the Original Creator

In a similar vein, always remember to credit the original creator in an obvious way. This can be as simple as tagging them in the reposted Instagram reel or adding a link to their profile on the photo you use for a product page.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Customers For What You Want

A lot of brands are hesitant to explicitly ask for content from consumers. However, there are a lot of customers who would be happy to include a branded hashtag on a post, leave a positive review, or even create a post. 53% of consumers say they would want to be told how they should create or share UGC, and 42% want brands to share examples of the kind of content they are looking for, so don’t be afraid to ask your customers to share your posts or tag your business!

Set Goals and Measure Performance

As with any good marketing strategy, you need to have a strategy! Take a look at your current social media goals and objectives and create a plan for how to integrate UGC into that plan. Then measure the performance of these strategies. Tracking key performance indicators (KPI) like engagement rates, conversion rates, and brand sentiment will help guide you toward a better understanding of how UGC is impacting your brand’s reach. 

An easy way to handle all of this is to work with an agency that understands how to create an effective social media marketing strategy, integrate UGC, and track its performance on an ongoing basis. Consultus Digital can help with all of this and much more.

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