Content creation is hard work. Even a simple social media update takes time as you work out the copy and select the perfect image – not to mention videos, blog posts, and ebooks. But there is a way to significantly boost your available content without sinking a week’s worth of time into crafting fresh content: user generated content.
What is User Generated Content?
There’s no trickery here. User generated content is exactly what it sounds like – content that is created by your customers and followers. For this article, we’re not including paid influencer content in the definition. User generated content can come in many forms – images, reviews, video. But whatever the type, the important thing is that it is relevant to your brand and authentic.
There is nothing worse than ‘user’ generated content that is clearly brand generated content and paid product placement. It turns off users faster than bad reviews and shaky customer support. Whatever angle you take on user generated content, keep it relevant and keep it authentic.
The Importance of User Generated Content
One benefit to user generated content is obvious: you don’t have to spend time making the content yourself. That’s quite the benefit, but it doesn’t stop there – there are several benefits to sharing customer creations. Understanding the benefits is important because it will keep you motivated as you push for a community that creates user generated content.
- 60% say that content created by peers is very influential (opposed to 33% who say brand content is very influential).
- 70% of people trust images taken by their peers over brand created images.
- 61% are more likely to engage with ads that contain user generated content.
Beyond just customer preference, posting user generated content allows people to see your brand in action in its native habitat, it creates conversation around your brand and, creates invaluable social proof.
Driving User Generated Content
Unfortunately, we can’t just sit back and wait for users to do our jobs for us. Obtaining usable UGC will require some strategy. But once the ball is rolling you can sit back and relax a little bit. The big national brands can just browse a few hashtags and find high-quality content, but for most businesses, you will need to be intentional about driving user generated content.
Use the following tips to help kickstart your user generated content strategy:
- Pick the right channel. This is true for any social media strategy. You need to find the sweet spot between content type and target audience. Instagram is the obvious choice (especially for visually-driven brands), but consider Twitter for reviews and testimonials, Facebook for video, and Pinterest for tutorials.
- Think outside the box. Go beyond just product pictures (but those are great too!) and consider out-of-the-box UGC like unboxing videos, social account takeovers, action shots, contests, and stories.
- Just ask for it. Want more user content for your brand? Try just asking for it. Hopefully, you already have something of a social media community, don’t be afraid to go to your loyal followers with a request. If they don’t bite on a plain ask, consider sweetening the deal with a contest.
- Be ethical. This one should be a no-brainer, but always ask permission before sharing user generated content and give credit to the creator.
- Track results. We say this every time, but it is so important. Track how your user generated content performs compared to your original, in-house content. What works great in some markets might be a total bust in yours. There is no point investing effort in curating UGC if it continually underperforms.
Whatever method you employ to get users to start generating content for you, start curating the best examples to share with your following. Whether its Instagram images or Facebook unboxing videos or any other type of content, use that material to supplement your existing content schedule and to build social proof.
Building a Brand, Growing a Business
Creating content is often easy in the early days of a business. Everything is fresh and exciting – but maintaining a consistent schedule gets harder with each passing month. Building your business through engaging content is a great method – but your strategy must be scalable.
Working user generated content into your content marketing plan allows you to build and grow without sinking too many resources into creation. It still takes work, but once your system is up and running you can reap the benefits without continual direction.
If you’re looking for innovative ways to build your brand and grow your business, Fusion Group USA offers a wide range of services. From social media management and brand development to website design and email marketing, we’ve got you covered.