What is the best method of marketing? Probably, when your customers talk and rave about your product. When they sell your product by recommending it on your behalf. Right? I am talking about word of mouth.
Word of mouth is when your customers love the product/ service so much that they give references and tell people about you. Word of mouth is powerful and can impact your business revenue and brand image.
User-generated content is today's social media era’s word of mouth. People share their positive or negative experiences on the internet with their friends and family. But the scope of UGC is beyond social media. So, Let us first understand what exactly is user-generated content.
What is UGC (User-Generated Content)?
User-generated content (UGC) is the content produced by the end user of the product.
For instance, if a person buys a phone and posts its review on YouTube, that is UGC. Similarly, if you post a picture of that cute cafe you visited last week on Instagram, that is UGC. In a way, you are marketing those products. You let your circle know about a particular product you liked or disliked.
UGC is not restricted to Instagram posts, YouTube videos, or visual images/ videos. It includes:
- Social media posts
- Product reviews
- Blog posts
- YouTube content
- Live stream
So, whenever your customer talks about your product on the internet, it becomes user-generated content. Apart from customers, posts by brand loyalists and employees are also part of UGC.
For instance, your employees could post about the production behind the scenes. Similarly, the brand loyalist could show the product in use.
But what makes UGC so crucial for a brand? No doubt, it saves money and time for you but is that it? Let us look at some benefits of UGC.
Why Do Companies Love UGC?
How many times have you ordered something that you saw on someone else's table because it looked delicious?
This is how UGC works. People post about your business and create awareness with authenticity. Let us see some benefits of UGC:
- UGC gives a better understanding of the target audience. Since UGC comes directly without any filters from the end user, you get their honest feedback and review. It is not necessary to just look at the testimonials. For instance, people tweet about their grievances on social media.
- UGC improves site engagement. When users post about your product, people search for it. As a result, site traffic and engagement get a boost. Also, this increases the conversations about and with your brand on a larger scale. This allows brands to connect with their audience and build credibility.
- UGC is hard to copy or plagiarise, this gives you a competitive advantage. You build your content library which is authentic and builds authority in the market.
- UGC enables brands to build brand loyalty and grow communities simultaneously. You get to connect and communicate with your audience. Also, you do not pay your users to generate content and boost brand promotion. In a way, it becomes more cost-effective than influencer marketing.
- UGC covers the top and bottom of the funnel content. It creates brand awareness and provides different use cases for your business. This adds to the social proof and enhances conversions.
Even though UGC takes away the control and moderation of the media, if your company can leverage it correctly, the benefits are immense. But is there some way to leverage UGC? Well, there is no correct way or playbook but here are 5 ways to extract maximum value out of UGC.
How to Leverage UGC?
Often when we as brands create content for the audience, it has gaps such as technical or product-centric content. However, UGC is not only simple but focuses on the product more naturally and authentically. Those brand reviews, press releases, and recommendation articles boost brand awareness and build trust. But, how do we ensure to extract the maximum value? Let us look at 5 ways you can leverage UGC.
Try and get customer feedback at different stages and platforms. Reviews are a great way to gain insights into customer's pain points and product deal-breaking features.
What are the features that make the customer switch? What are the features that customers love? Which features are difficult to use?
You could use these as product development feedback, and push the positive reviews as use cases for better conversions. You could highlight the reviews by popular/ notable entities on your website, landing pages, and in your email sequences.
Run hashtag contests on social media. Pick brand-specific hashtags which are short and catchy. Ask people to post about your product with the hashtag in exchange for gifts, discounts, coupons, or any other incentive. This incentive is crucial to motivate people but should cost you a bit. Alternatively, you could opt for dedicated hashtag campaigns where people post your new product and help in brand awareness.
For instance, Coca-Cola had a hashtag campaign #ShareACoke to promote its personalized coke labels for gifting options. It collaborated with the actors to reach the masses. Result? Even after the campaign ended, people post and order personalized cans boosting the company's revenue and customer engagement.
You might have to motivate the audience with monetary or non-monetary incentives. However, the mass reach, customer engagement, and increased conversions cover the costs faster than ever. Plus, it has a long-lasting effect on people as hashtags don't die, and you can reuse the strategy/ hashtag multiple times.
Not every customer can give a video testimonial. However, your brand loyalist and employees would help you cover the gap. Also, in the present-day era of Instagram reels, getting video testimonials is easier. It doesn't take time and gets done with a few clicks.
A video testimonial could include product use cases. What problems did the product solve for them? Are product adoption and usage easy? What are the plus points of the product? Why did they choose your product over others in the market? What are their favourite features? You could even try to cover the FAQs or brand queries within the testimonial.
These testimonials can be added to the website, brand decks, high-value website pages, and email sequences. They are way more credible than any written review. Also, for YouTube video reviews, you could share a portion/ clip of the video. In the case of reels, you could repost them on your stories. Also, in case of poor feedback, you could interact with the post and try to resolve the issue.
Social Media Shares
Social media platforms have made extracting UGC easier. People post about the product they love/ hate on social media channels like Twitter and Instagram.
People post stories, post reels, and put dedicated/ integrated posts, and tweets about your product. These could be general feedback, product recommendation, how-to guide, or generic update.
You can leverage these by resharing the posts and building credibility. Also, these social media posts bring a lot of traffic and an engaging audience.
Showcase Customers as Experts
This tactic is very useful for B2B brands, where your customers create content about your product as a niche expert. It works great for almost all the industries, such as food, electronics, retail, and SaaS.
Your customer talks about your product as the niche expert. They could mention your product as a recommendation. It is somewhat similar to influencer marketing, except that it can go beyond social media.
For instance, often, book publishers reach out to professors and give them their books complimentary. This is to reach a larger audience through a credible and authentic source. In the case of B2B companies, your customer could write a review, a product blog, or create a YouTube video to include your product.
In all these ways, not only do you reach an engaging audience with credibility and authenticity but get an in-depth review from your customers. You could understand what features are most crucial and which ones need modifications. It also assists in mapping customer journeys in a way.
Tips for Managing UGC
UGC will not generate the best results by sitting on your or customers' feed. You have to take a step further and leverage it efficiently. So, here are 5 tips to manage UGC to extract maximum value and boost conversions.
- You should acknowledge and encourage people to talk and post about your product. This could be through a dedicated hashtag, some incentive, or personal product giveaways.
- You should request permission before using or sharing the post with the customer. This ensures transparency and a good relationship with them. Also, with this, you could use the content in multiple ways, like website/ email sequences easily. Additionally, it shows the brands' professionalism.
- You should always source back the credit to the original creator. Do not just use the content without mentioning the source. By giving credit, you invite more people to post about your product and enhance brand loyalty.
- You should try to reward people for sharing your content. This could be a discount or some offer to motivate customers to post about your brand. It could be as simple as using a hashtag on Twitter to avail yourself of 10-15% discounts.
- You should try to find shareable content that can be repurposed in multiple ways. You don't want a review that lies on your website. You should look for blogs covering your business and other content which could give you SEO benefits, generate traffic and boost conversions.
These tips will help you to manage the UGC efficiently. You can repurpose them and reach the masses as you build credibility and authority simultaneously.
UGC can assist a lot in scaling when you have a moderate user base and some brand loyalists to talk about your product. You reach more people as a trusted brand. Also, you get insights into the customer product journey, which helps you understand road blockers and map vital product features. So, if you are in the market for some time serving satisfied customers, and wish to scale, look for UGC.
What is User-Generated Content?
User-generated content (UGC) is the content produced by the end user of the product.
What does Word of mouth mean?
Word of mouth is when your customers love the product/ service so much that they give references and tell people about the product.
What does UGC generally include?
Images, Videos, Social media posts, Testimonials, Product Reviews, Blog posts, etc.