Creating high-quality content should always be at the heart of every digital marketing strategy. With the right content on your website, you’ll get more traffic and more conversions. Creating effective content improves your leads from organic search and backlinks. The problem is that the average consumer has become savvy and sensitive to branding. Too much branded content can turn people away.
The modern consumer looks to genuine user-generated content. This provides an unbiased opinion offered by other customers instead of one created by the brand. Many companies have trouble understanding user-generated content. Others have even more trouble securing it.
So, let’s answer the questions of “what is user-generated content?” and “how does it build authority?”.
What is User-Generated Content, And What Makes it Important?
User-generated content, also called customer-generated content, is content created by fans, followers, and customers. This content includes things such as images, audio, videos, and text related to a brand. Some user-generated content examples are written reviews, wikis, social media posts, and the like.
User-generated content is a way for people to express their honest opinions of — and experiences with — a brand. Customers are more compelled to share their genuine opinions because they want to help their contemporaries make the “right” decision. This is the reason that user-generated content — and user-generated content marketing — is so important. It is the most influential and affordable option for building a genuine presence for your brand.
The Benefits of User-Generated Content
Builds Brand Authenticity
User-generated content is the best way to build brand authenticity. It offers an unbiased look at you and your company. In turn, this makes your company seem more credible while also saving resources. Statistics show that almost 90% of customers trust the recommendations they get from friends and family who have experienced products and services they are interested in. Another study shows that over 60% of consumers feel that user-generated content is more authentic than content created and published by a brand itself.
Builds Trust and Confidence
Customers need to know what they can expect before buying from you. No doubt, you check reviews yourself before buying anything. Other users are the best way to get the message across. Many new customers trust reviews and recommendations from people who take the time to make those reviews. These reviews don’t have to be limited to their friends and family either. If several customers highlight having positive experiences with your brand, then more shoppers are going to have confidence and trust in the idea that they will as well. User-generated content marketing is the most effective way to build your customer base.
Influence Final Purchasing Decisions
Customers don’t buy from brands, they buy from people. They have to form a connection with a brand before they can be loyal to it. This explains why people look to social media and other online forums to learn more about products and brands before purchasing. If those people find some good user-generated content examples, they are likely to click on the content, leave a comment, or purchase what’s showcased. There’s no way to build an authentic brand without the support of your customers. User-generated content marketing also saves you time and money, letting you dedicate yourself to other elements of running your business.
User-Generated Content Examples
Let’s look at what counts as user-generated content and how you can get more of it.
Encourage Customer Reviews
Customer reviews are among the most effective user-generated content examples. Check out the example below from Etsy. One BrightLocal survey suggests that over two-thirds (64%) of customers read at least five reviews before making a purchase. 40% of consumers admit to disconnecting from a brand if they see negative reviews. You should collect as many reviews from independent platforms as possible, as these reviews represent the most honest user opinions. Avoid using fake reviews as people can spot them, and don’t delete negative reviews. Once again, people notice this. Instead, take a moment to address the concerns of the reviewer. You can turn a negative into a positive by having a human, dignified response to criticism. If you make things right, you’ll get more good press from a negative review than you could from a positive one!
Post on Social Media
You should encourage customers to talk about your business on social media. One way to do this is to promote content that already exists – showcase photos, like and comment on posts, and share them. Ask for permission before using others’ content. Ensure that you give the original creator their properly-deserved credit by tagging them or mentioning them in the caption for the post. This is sure to make the original creator happy and encourage others to share their own user-generated content.
Use Contests and Incentives to Generate Buzz
Come up with some contests to encourage users to create extra content for your brand. Consider asking customers to share their photos or stories of their experiences and offer a reward to the winner. You don’t need to make the reward too extravagant either. What matters is that it’s enticing enough to encourage people to participate.
Social media runs on hashtags. Creating powerful hashtags for your business and encouraging people to use them is a great way to spread the word. There are plenty of famous user-generated content examples to inspire you.
One example is Coca-Cola’s #ShareACoke campaign. The company created personalized labels for their soda bottles. Then, they encouraged customers to share pictures with the bottle under their hashtag campaign. This not only got the word out, but also created countless user-generated photos. Another example is Target’s #TargetStyle below.
Track Conversations and Mentions
You could find your customers are talking about you without you having any idea. Take advantage of social media listening tools to monitor mentions and conversations on social media. This way, you can find and collect user-generated content even if the person doesn’t tag you.
Try This Method
So, what is user-generated content? User-generated content is one of the most effective ways to form connections with consumers and encourage them to choose your business. This is content made by genuine people that promotes your business with an air of authenticity that no ad could ever have. People want to hear real opinions from real people – that’s what they get with user-generated content.
Find ways to encourage people to post more content, such as encouraging them to leave reviews and enter contests. Try it yourself and see what user-generated content marketing can do for you.