Advertising has a very bad reputation. We’re all aware of this. Throughout the decades, it has become a common belief that brands will try to manipulate or persuade customers to invest in what they’re offering. They use psychological tactics to lead people to buy their products. Whether or not this is still true, brands have turned to different forms of advertising to help gain that trust between the consumer and the product. That includes content such as user-generated content (UGC). But what is user-generated content? Great question, keep scrolling and let me enlighten you, dear marketer.
What is User-Generated Content?
UGC is when a brand turns to advertise its product or service using the consumer itself. How does it work? A brand will develop a plan that will motivate consumers or influencers to share their experience with the brand. This will be done either through social media platforms, reviews, or interactive advertisements to promote the product or service.
Why Use UGC?
UGC is a great way to build trust between your product and the consumer. As I mentioned in the introduction (which you most likely skimmed through, no judgement here) people don’t trust brands. All companies want to do is make money and they’ll do whatever it takes to do that. Or at least that’s what the average consumer believes.
So, who do people trust? They trust basically anyone not associated with the company. This can be either people like them (general consumers) or celebrities. Consumers are 2.4 times more likely to say that a company is more authentic when using user-generated content than if they produce their own content. When consumers see that positive reviews are coming from people not associated with the company, they think, “Well, if they’re not being paid for this, there’s no reason to lie. It must be true.” Companies will then take the opportunity to use UGC to build a credible advertising campaign.
What Kind Of Content Is Considered UGC?
There are many types of user-generated content including the standard types. But as long as the consumer is involved in the creation of the content, you can be as creative as possible. So let’s get into a few of the types of content!
Youtube is a great source of user-generated content since anyone can go on the platform and make content. What some brands do is pay a popular Youtuber to talk about their product in one of their videos. Sometimes it might not be as successful because the audience will know that it was a paid branding deal. This is because Youtubers are obligated to announce if it was a paid sponsorship. So what you can do is send them a PR package with no kind of transaction. Create a compelling PR package so it can encourage the Youtuber to show it off on their channel so it becomes more authentic.
Besides using Youtubers and PR packages, you can create a campaign that encourages people to interact with the product. For example, the ALS challenge. People were persuaded to be part of a fun ice water challenge while bringing awareness to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Finding fun ways for people to interact with your business without them realizing they’re promoting it is a wonderful form of advertising.
Reviews are one of the more simple forms of UGC. You can encourage people through emails and social platforms to leave a review after using your product or service. Make the reviews short and simple so people complete them. If the process of leaving a review is too complicated, no one will complete it. They have no incentive to leave one. If you want more reviews, offer an incentive for leaving one so they complete it. An incentive can include a shoutout on social media or a small discount in your store.
Social media can be used as user-generated content similar to how it’s used on Youtube. You can either do paid or unpaid promotions to social media influencers. If you don’t want to go the influencer route, you can use social media for challenges. Challenges and interactive advertising on social media can be paired with Youtube. This way, you can hit a larger audience and your campaign will grow stronger. Back to the ALS challenge, users on Youtube and social platforms created videos dousing themselves and their friends with ice water.
Using hashtags can be very useful for your campaign. So when people are posting your products, they can include the hashtag to help the campaign go viral. It’s also a great way for you to monitor how well the campaign is doing. You can see how many people are engaging with it.
And there you have it! A quick rundown on what user-generated content is and the different ways you can use it. If you need any help with marketing and advertising, contact us at Siva and we’ll gladly help your business grow!