How to Effectively Repurpose User-Generated Content
In recent years, consumers have become more savvy about both online and offline advertisements. After fake reviews on websites and false advertising issues have taken the media by storm, many consumers are more cautious about listening to what companies say about their products.
Because of this problem, the savviest companies are turning to user-generated content (UGC) as a way to build their marketing strategy, increase authority, and boost customer loyalty.
By leveraging UGC as an innovative tool, you improve your revenue and brand visibility for a much lower cost than many other marketing techniques.
What is User-Generated Content?
Unlike the professional content created by your creative department, user-generated content shows how every day users of your product are interacting with your brand. User UGC may not always be perfect aesthetically, but the value of its authenticity is what makes your customers connect with it.
Recently, businesses have leveraged this consumer-made content due to its power to humanize brands and add a touch of relatability. In fact, UGC is becoming one of the most used concepts by companies across the world. With consumers rapidly learning how to recognize the most common advertising practices, an estimated 63% of adults ignore ads completely.
Most Common Types of User Generated Content
The right kind of user-generated content depends on your company’s marketing strategy and goals. Some products like the viral unicorn frappuccino at Starbucks are ideally suited for photographs, so you may want to focus your content strategy on social networking sites like Instagram or Pinterest. While other kinds of content do best with videos or written explanations, leading you to use blog posts, case studies, or reviews instead.
Social Media Content
With billions of users worldwide, social media is an excellent way to increase your brand’s visibility. Your users can share posts, tweets, photos, and videos of your products in action. This kind of content can be found on sites like Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social media platforms.
This form of content helps to build your brand’s reputation and online following. When people see a Facebook post from a friend, they trust the friend’s honest review more than they trust your company or a stranger’s review. Because of this, many world-class brands have social media profiles, so they can help to encourage user-generated content on these networks.
Read about which platforms are best for UGC.
Reviews and Testimonials
People love seeing opinions and product reviews before they make a purchase. Even bad reviews are useful as they help to answer questions consumers have about the product. Overall, this form of user-generated content is one of the easiest options to use for your company.
The best part about reviews is how easy they are to get. Whether someone had a good or bad experience, they often enjoy sharing it online. These testimonials may include written content, pictures, videos, or star ratings on sites like Google or Yelp.
If you want other user-generated content ideas, you can always check out online blogs. Writers can easily educate their followers about your products and services. Depending on what your industry is, bloggers may write how-to guides, reviews, or news updates about what you have to offer.
Many bloggers will test out new products if you give them a sample. If you’re lucky, a blogger in your industry may even discover your product on their own and decide to write about it. Then, your company can enjoy free exposure and publicity.
Videos are arguably the most amazing way to showcase your products. One of the best examples of this trend involves the EnChroma glasses for color blindness. When the company first tried to sell these glasses, they failed because most colorblind people weren’t interested in seeing in color as they had no clue what they were missing out on.
To market their product, EnChroma encouraged loved ones to buy the glasses and post videos of the experience. EnChroma sent balloons and colorful items along with each purchase. Now, you can go on YouTube and see thousands of colorblind people seeing colors for the first time.
These videos can be used on social media or on a landing page featuring reviews of the product, how-to guides, or even basic demonstrations. When consumers post videos of a favorite product or service, your company ends up getting new clients for free. As this user-generated content shows up on Instagram and other social media sites, you can sit back as new clients effortlessly discover your company.
Allowing your customers to get an in-depth look at your brand and how well your products work, you can repurpose the best content from your users and request authentic anecdotes in the form of case studies. This content can be used to let users share their experience with your company could be like.
People enjoy reading case studies since they show other everyday people using the product. Meanwhile, current customers feel special and valued when they get to be the star of a case study on your website or social media.
Check out some of our great case study examples!
How to Use UGC
UGC is a great way to engage users and potential customers. UGC can be used in a variety of ways to impact your overall visibility on all channels.
As Social Content
Social content is an obvious place for great UGC. Social content is hard to consistently produce and most platforms require either intense preparation or immediate action on trends. UGC content is great for your brand at any time, and can create a steady stream of content that works for you.
UGC makes great email content. There’s so much content online, that UGC makes a great different addition to any email marketing campaign. UGC can be a great way to build trust and show your social proof.
Read more about our in-email UGC philosophy!
Video and Photo Content on your Website
Video and photo content for your website diversifies your content strategy and can assist your conversion rate. By showing potential customers how existing customers use and enjoy your product, there’s a higher chance of conversion, meaning your customers are your biggest marketing asset.
How to Get User-Generated Content You Can Use
When you’re ready to A/B test UGC in your overall marketing strategy. You’ll need the right user-generated content ideas to get started. Content platforms like Cohley can help you scale UGC quickly. But if you’re looking to inspire your customers to share content on their own, here are some ways you can do that.
A popular way to get UGC is to get your users creating personalized items or using personalization in your own way. For example, Coca-Cola used this strategy for the “Share-a-Coke” campaign where they added customers’ names to the label of various Coca-Cola bottles.
When people found bottles with their name or the name of a loved one, they were encouraged to share photos of the personalized bottles on Instagram, Twitter, and other social sites. After struggling for years to maintain its market share, Coca-Cola enjoyed a 2% boost in revenue because of this UGC campaign.
Read about how AI is carving out personalization efforts!
Reshare User Content
This is probably the easiest way to encourage your customers to share user content. If you share someone’s post or photo on your company’s page, other customers see the post and want their moment in the limelight. Soon, you end up with hundreds or thousands of customers who are sharing photos of your products hoping they’ll be picked next.
ModCloth and Soul Flower are great examples of this strategy in action. Both websites allow users to post images of users wearing their purchase. Then, they use these images on social media and on the main pages of their websites as a way to show off actual customers using their products.
Make a Branded Hashtag
A branded hashtag is an easy way to market your company, track engagement, and encourage user-generated content examples. For example, Always made its “Like a Girl” campaign to boost confidence and inspire young women by completely changing the negative, traditional interpretation of doing things like a girl. The campaign encouraged women and girls to start a conversation and inspire better self-esteem in young women.
For this technique to work, the branded hashtag needs to be original and relatable to your business. It can work to build brand loyalty, start a conversation online, or gain visibility for your company. When you do it right, a branded hashtag can become a hook to engage current and prospective clients in your business.
Create a Contest
When it comes to building a global brand and encouraging user-generated content on Instagram or other sites, Starbucks has managed to truly excel. One of the best examples of user content comes from the company’s white cup campaign. Customers drew beautiful images on blank Starbucks cups and posted images of their cups online to enter the competition.
Even if you don’t need help creating a cup logo or don’t have a product to use this exact idea, you can still create simple contests on social media. You can essentially offer any kind of product or prize to a random winner from a social media campaign.
Challenge Your Customers
Start a movement. You can challenge your customers to do something and get them to post videos or pictures of the challenge on social media.
Alo Yoga did this marketing strategy by challenging Instagram users to post photographs of the most unusual place they had ever done yoga in for a chance to win free yoga products. Soon, Alo Yoga had plenty of user-generated content on Instagram.
Another example of this idea was the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. People were encouraged to dump a bucket of ice water over their heads and post a video of the experience on social media to raise awareness for ALS.
Thanks to this challenge in 2014, the ALS Association generated $115 million in revenue for ALS research.
Recognizing the Benefits of User-Generated Content
Adopting a user-generated content strategy is basically the modern version of word-of-mouth referrals. When you implement user content in your marketing plan, you are able to lower your overall costs, demonstrate social proof and appear more authentic to your clients.
When it comes to conversions, user-generated content is one of the best techniques you can use. Customer reviews, posts, and experiences help to show other people how great your company is. This kind of content helps to raise your brand’s visibility and encourages a strong conversion rate.
Anyone can say they sell the best vehicle or software platform available. Consumers already know they should be wary of traditional advertisements because these advertisements may not be completely accurate. If their friends, family members, or real-life customers say the same thing, they are more likely to view the information as honest and authentic.
Whether you use a hashtag, contest, or challenge, user-led campaigns help to get your customers engaged. People want to see who won the contest or view videos of other people trying new products. Once people are more engaged, they are more likely to buy from your brand and become loyal, long-term clients.
When people leave comments on your site or link back to your company, it even helps to improve your SEO ranking on sites like Google. In addition to your usual SEO strategy and content creation, you get to enjoy the additional benefits of user-generated content for free.
Read a little more about tech balances UGC strategies.
User-Generated Content Can Help Your Business Succeed
With user-generated content, you get a free, easy source of social proof and customer testimonials. It can help you develop brand visibility and a better conversion rate. All you have to do is integrate user content into your current marketing strategy and watch the engagement increase.
If you are struggling to generate user content or build a marketing campaign, Cohley can help! Contact us today for expert help at creating high-quality, user-generated content!
Written by Tom Logan
Our CEO and Co-Founder Tom is no stranger to the Cohley blog! With seven years under his Cohley belt, Tom is our go-to on all company updates, new tech initiatives, and data focused trends. Tom helps to dictate our direction, monitor and emphasize our culture and put colleagues in the best possible positions to succeed. Tom is a self proclaimed Tech guy, Sports Writer and Lover of Rom-Com's.