A Quick Intro to User Generated Content
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User-Generated Content (also known as UGC for short) is vital to online business.
Here are just a few reasons why:
- UGC allows your brand to build trust with new audiences through its existing connections.
- Standard advertising efforts are becoming less and less effective.
- UGC can cost far less than other advertising methods.
We could go on, but you get the idea – UGC is a handy form of digital marketing.
But why don’t more people use it if that’s the case?
Often, the reason is that businesses do not understand precisely how UGC works, why it is valid, or how to implement it for their brand.
That’s why today we’re providing a quick intro to UGC – so that you can understand it better and find ways to make it work for your business.
What Exactly IS UGC?
UGC (User Generated Content) is Content (text, images, videos, or combinations of those mediums) created by individuals unaffiliated with your company that bring awareness to your company, brand, or product.
- A customer review can be UGC.
- A blog post where a customer talks about your product can be UGC.
- An unboxing video on YouTube can be UGC.
- Something as simple as a customer posting a picture of your product can be UGC.
- And it doesn’t stop there!
So now that we know what it is, the question becomes:
Does UGC Work?
The short answer is – yes.
The long answer is – yes, it most definitely works, and here’s some proof from Salesforce:
- 92% of people trust online Content from friends and family over any other form of brand messaging
- 50% of people find UGC more memorable than brand-produced Content
- 53% of millennials have said that UGC has directly impacted their purchasing decisions
Taranto had a study in 2017 that went even further, saying that 90% of respondents said that UGC had influenced their buying decisions.
A few other advertising options can claim THAT kind of impact!
Think of it like this…
You’ve probably seen an ad for a Honda Civic at some point in your life. Whether it be a TV commercial, a pop-up advertisement on a blog, or one of those annoying YouTube ads you must watch before you can FINALLY get to your cute cat video, Honda has a significant reach for advertising.
Now ask yourself – did seeing those ads make you want to go out and buy a Honda Civic?
If you’re like 99% of the rest of the world, the answer is probably “no.”
Now imagine that your best friend buys a Honda Civic. They drive it to your house and take you for a test drive. Your friend is ranting about how awesome it is, how well it handles, and how reliable and safe it is.
By the end of that little test drive, how badly will you want to buy a Honda Civic?
That right there is the difference between traditional ads and UGC.
A Quick Case Study – The Effectiveness of UGC
There are many examples of companies that have used UGC to great advantage. However, few of those companies have had as much success as GoPro.
If you take a minute and check out their Instagram feed, you will quickly start to notice that very little of their Content is original. Instead, most of the Content they post on social media is UGC.
GoPro knows its audience well. They know they are the type of people out doing extraordinary things. So, GoPro does all it can to get its customers to share what they’re up to (skydiving, wakeboarding, swimming with sharks…you get the idea!).
They even use the #GoProFamily to make it easy for their users to connect with them and share their Content around the internet. Besides, GoPro holds (nearly) endless contests where they give out awesome prizes and reward their loyal followers.
And with 16.2 million followers on Instagram alone, the evidence of their UGC strategy speaks for itself.
Why You Shouldn’t Rely COMPLETELY on UGC
As you can tell, we’re big fans of UGC. However, that doesn’t mean you should exclude all other forms of digital marketing.
An intelligent combination of UGC and more traditional paid campaigns can tremendously boost your efforts.
You can boost the organic outreach of a UGC campaign with paid ads. Using the two forms of digital marketing in tandem makes both more effective.
Another thing to remember…
While UGC is AMAZING, it does have one major drawback.
Not all the UGC you get is going to be good.
As a responsible business, it’s up to you to monitor the UGC around your company closely. Plus, there’s the fact that you also need to gather, organize, and implement all that UGC. Thankfully, professional UGC moderation companies can help you shoulder that burden while still allowing you to reap the benefits of UGC.
How to Get Some Help with Effective UGC
Unfortunately, UGC doesn’t just happen. It takes effort on your part as the business owner and the part of your customers.
And as we all know – the more effort required, the less likely you’ll be able to get many people to act. If there are significant bumps along the road to where you want your customers to go, chances are they won’t go there at all.
That’s why you must reduce friction.
What do I mean by that?
Reducing friction means making it as quick, easy, and painless as possible for your customers to create and submit UGC to you.
How do you do that?
We are using tools.
Many excellent tools are designed to help you get more (and better) UGC with less effort for you and your customer.
We’ve compiled a list of 5 of the best UGC tools you can use for your business. Each has its pros, and some are better in some areas. So, we’ve broken it down for you below to make your choice easy.
UGC Tool #1 – TurnTo
Using an individual application approach, TurnTo has an excellent offering of options for business owners who want to add UGC to their digital marketing mix.
Ratings & Reviews:
With an emphasis on mobile and quick & easy profile integration, TurnTo does its best to move customers from mere buyers to raters and reviewers.
Community Q & A:
While you may not think of Q & A as UGC, it is an excellent way for individuals to get customers to talk about your brand. The amount of information you can glean from a healthy, well-run Q & community is virtually endless.
Q & is better than a regular old FAQ section. It allows you to get into your customer’s minds and know what THEY are thinking (instead of just what you think they’re thinking).
TurnTo allows you to integrate answers from “experts, brands, fans, and your knowledge base.”
The internet is becoming more and more geared toward video. However, if you’ve ever messed with a video, you know how much of a headache it can be to go through the process of recording, editing, uploading, etc.
TurnTo seeks to solve that issue with its video review application built with phones in mind.
TurnTo states that you can get 3-5 times more reviews by implementing Checkout Comments in your system. So much shopping online nowadays revolves around studies, which is why this application is a nice touch.
UGC Tool #2 – TINT
TINT has various business offerings, focusing on allowing you to curate, own, and display UGC on your website and throughout your brand presence. While they focus on enterprise clients in the education and hospitality markets, they also have offerings that can match other companies.
One of the biggest motivations behind using UGC is to build trust with your customers (and potential customers). TINT gets that and is all about creating genuine, authentic UGC that can make your brand.
UGC Tool #3 – ShortStack
One great way to generate UGC is through online contests that center around your brand or product. However, creating a compelling competition can be challenging if you don’t have the right tools.
That’s one place ShortStack shines – helping businesses and brands create effective contests and not a significant pain to pull off.
They also allow you to create quizzes, landing pages, giveaways, and send emails. Their integrated approach is simple.
UGC Tool #4 – Yotpo
This UGC tool focuses on text testimonials on a business’ website. They’ve been around since 2011, demonstrating that they’ve got staying power.
Although they specialize in text testimonials, Yotpo has expanded, using partnerships with Google and Facebook to help businesses grow through UGC through reviews, ratings, loyalty programs, referrals, and visual marketing. Among their list of featured clients is none other than our case study from before – GoPro.
UGC Tool #5 – Pixlee
Pixlee takes a unique approach to UGC – combining it with influencer marketing to bolster sales and increase conversions.
Today it seems like everyone is using AI as a selling point. And while it doesn’t make sense in every application, Pixlee is doing it right – using AI to decide where to display certain Content across your website and social media platforms.
Another impactful thing Pixlee does is help you create what they call a “shoppable Instagram.” Pixlee explains this: “Create a direct link from inspiration on Instagram to purchase on your site by making your content fully shoppable.”
Why Your UGC Journey Should Start Now
The internet moves so fast that it can be hard to stay on top of the changing trends sometimes. UGC, however, is here to stay. It has been around for years but seems to be gaining momentum daily.
This means NOW is the perfect time to get on board if you haven’t already.
Building trust with your audience and creating more brand awareness is essential regardless of your industry. There are different ways to go about it, but few are as effective and impactful as UGC.
How are you going to begin integrating UGC into your marketing strategy? Do you have any UGC hacks that are working well?
We would love to hear from you in the comments below!