UGC Tips: How to Use User-Generated Content Effectively
What makes good user-generated content?
Advertising is a constantly changing landscape, and keeping up with the times is crucial for reaching your audiences properly. If you are not already using user-generated content to market your brand, you should. User-generated content are online posts including images, videos, reviews, stories, etc. created by real people instead of business. This strategic approach is so influential because 84% of consumers trust recommendations from their peers over traditional advertising, and UGC is just that. Boiled down, user-generated content is when a brand takes advantage of online environments, and promotes reviews and recommendations from real customers on their own platforms.
What is the best way to find and build UGC?
Crafting user-generated content should not be random. Each brand should be purposeful and strategic when it comes to deciding what UGC to use and create.
Use the platforms that are impactful for your brand - Facebook is not TikTok
Before getting into the nitty gritty of the actual content of UGC, you need to figure out which platform is right for your brand. Some of our go-to options are:
It is important to note that the typical user on LinkedIn is extremely different than that on Instagram, as the audience on Facebook differs than that on TikTok. So, how do you know which channel is right for you? UGC platforms, such as Cohley, make the hard work easy; these sites gather data from multiple social media platforms automatically to provide insight on which channel(s) drives the most engagement. Furthermore, you are able to input demographics and psychographics about your ideal audience, and the platform is able to target these specific groups. Whether you are brand new to UGC, or have been using this marketing strategy for a while, these platforms will save you time and money, ensuring that you are choosing to use the most influential social media channels.
Collaborate with influencers and creators
Once you have identified which platforms are right for your business, create high quality, less expensive, and varied content by working with influences and content creators. Influencers are changing the game when it comes to marketing because younger generations find products that are endorsed on social media more trustworthy, and therefore, these creators play a direct role in driving sales.
Cohley's Creator Management service makes the hard work easy by bringing influencers to you. Content creators must agree to your UGC requirements before applying to partner with your brand, avoiding any possible miscommunication or negotiation process. Getting in touch with a Cohley Creator is simple; you are able to send mass messages to all of your content creators or communicate with them individually through our website. Plus, you can approve content quickly with a touch of a button in the Cohley Content Library. Choosing to use a platform like Cohley makes working with influencers feel like a less daunting endeavor.
Tell your audience what content you want
Getting your audience to create their own content is easier than you think. A great starting place is using a hashtag campaign. A hashtag campaign is when followers show off your products using their own photos and videos and share them under a unique branded hashtag. What's so great about this approach to UGC, is that the hashtag organizes and stores all the consumer images in a single place.
What is the best way to use UGC?
User-generated content can be executed in many different ways. We will highlight six common strategies for approaching UGC below.
As mentioned above, influencers and content creators can be great tools to advertise your brand in a more authentic manner. Influencers will work with you to create sponsored posts, encouraging their followers why they should try out your brand's products.
Specifically, TikTok is changing the game for advertising. TikTok has become so influential, 37% of users have said that they discovered a new product on the app and immediately went to buy it. What's more is that big-name companies like Amazon and makeup brands such as Urban Decay have "TikTok Made Me Buy It" categories on their websites. If your audience is on TikTok, your UGC should be too.
Swap out the stock imagery and your own claims in marketing emails for customer photos and testimonials. Using real stories from your consumers is so impactful because 79% of consumers trust customer testimonials just as much as a friend or family recommendation. Find customer images and testimonials in product review and all over social media - simply pay attention to posts that your brand is tagged in.
A brand who executed UGC in emails is very successfully is Cladwell. Cladwell is a membership-based app that provides you with outfit recommendations based on what you have in your closet. In their emails, they share three customer testimonials, including photos and highlighting how the app has benefitted their lives.
Contests and giveaways are a really great way to create connections with your target audience and encourage them to produce UGC. Because contests are so engaging, they have shown to increase Instagram follower counts by 70% in three months. Encourage your audience to share a hashtag, repost to their story, or create their own short video for the chance to win gifts from your company. The key is to get creative with it!
If you're looking for extraordinary inspiration, check out Airbnb's OMG Fund. Last year, Airbnb took submissions for creative, unconventional homes, and awarded 100 people $100k to build their wacky ideas. These crazy houses were then eligible to be rented on Airbnb's site, under the "OMG!" Category, which was clicked over 2.5 million times after the its debut month. This contest created quite the buzz, plus, increased bookings at unique properties by over 49% for Airbnb.
On your website
Customer reviews on your website are a powerful way to encourage consumers to purchase your products. Reviews are crucial in the buying journey because 93% of consumers say that their purchase decision was influenced by online reviews. Positive reviews, especially those with photos, give the potential buyer confidence that the product will match their expectations. You can incentivize customers to write reviews by emailing them a friendly reminder after they have shopped with you, or offering them reward points with every review they write.
Amazon allows you to combine multiple techniques mentioned above on a single platform.
- Ads: Amazon Posts is a free marketing platform via Amazon that allows brands to create ads that show up on competitive/related product and category feeds. Using customer images here is more authentic than brand images, increasing the likelihood of grabbing a consumer's attention.
- Reviews: As discussed above, customer reviews are extremely valuable. Amazon users can easily upload their own photos and videos showing off the product. Positive reviews boost your store front, and since star ratings are displayed on search result pages, these can influence a consumer's buying journey immensely.
- Other ways to take advantage of UGC on Amazon:
- Use customer images and videos in the product image carousel. Feature testimonials, unboxing, product demos, and more.
- Work with influencers or upload consumer videos from the web to answer questions in the Customer Q&A section.
The best UGC content examples we can find
While we can all agree that the Airbnb case study above is an outstanding execution of user-generated content, a lot of money and resources are needed to be able to pull that off. Below are two examples of brands who executed great and more attainable campaigns using UGC for businesses that are just starting off.
BarkBox is a great example of a brand who takes advantage of UGC. BarkBox is a monthly subscription customizable box of toys and treats for your dog. In the brand's Instagram Bio, they encourage their followers to use the hashtag #dogsofbark for a chance to be featured on their page. BarkBox's Instagram content is 100% user-generated. Each and every post is a repost from a consumer, featuring their adorable pup and the goodies from their BarkBox. This relationship that BarkBox has managed to form with its consumers drives engagement and loyalty, as customers share photos of their pets on their own profiles directing their followers to BarkBox's page.
Although Starbucks is a leader in its industry, their 2015 #RedCupContest campaign is something that can be pulled off by a smaller brand as well. Customers had the opportunity to get creative and decorate the iconic, red, holiday Starbucks cup for a chance to win a $500 gift card. All they had to do was share if their creation on Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag. This concept could be easily executed on a smaller scale simple by offering a smaller prize.
To put it simply, you should be taking advantage of UGC in today's advertising environment. If you are looking for more user-generated content tips, or needing answers to specific questions, check out other articles on Cohley's blog.
Want to get begin building your very own personalized user-generated content? Book a consultation with Cohley today!
Written by Parker Dietz
Parker is a staple in our marketing team - Our Marketing Manager brings with him an intimate knowledge of the platform, and is our go-to on technical topics, and user behavior. With a wealth of knowledge about competitors and pricing, Parker is all about exploring the best way to communicate Cohley's benefits. Outside of work, Parker enjoys poorly playing guitar at parties, watching every Adam Sandler movie ever made, and eating Arabic food.