Just sit back and let the audience do the marketing? While it is not that easy with user-generated content, the benefits are obvious: the target group draws the brand message itself – the impact is more direct, authentic and honest.
Nevertheless, marketing managers are still in demand to do their conceptual work. In this article, we’ll introduce you to examples of successful UGC campaigns, explain which drivers behind the phenomenon, and how to use UGC for your business.
What is User Generated Content?
User-Generated Content (UGC) refers to media content that is not created by the providers of a web offer, but by its users. Through reposts, shares or posts with references to users, Brands can post their content on their channels and create an authentic brand image.
Benefits of User Generated Content
Word of Mouth continues to prove to be one of the most effective marketing techniques to convince customers of products. User-Generated Content is the digital implementation of this proven method.
While branded content is often associated with a certain amount of skepticism on the part of users, UGC has a more credible effect on the public.
This content variant mostly comes from people near users or influencers whom users trust. Thus, a product recommendation is pronounced by someone who (superficially) has no intention of communicating his opinion on a particular offer. In contrast, content produced by companies is perceived as more calculated and fair-on-color.
Examples of user-generated content
Plastic Free Friday
Charities and non-profit organizations also use UGC to make a significant impact with relatively little budget. Friends of Earth, an environmental protection organization committed to raising awareness of climate change, has launched an international campaign with the #PlasticFreeFriday hashtag. Thousands of users, organizations, and companies have already shared the hashtag and used it in their way to fight climate change.
UGC types: What shape is appropriate for your brand message?
The question of which form of user-generated content is suitable depends on the campaign or platform on which it is to run. The ability to leave comments in writing has become standard. And it has a subtle side effect: The text content generates new keywords.
A company also receives valuable feedback and can get in direct contact with the target group. New customers get to hear honest and trustworthy opinions.
However, in the case of a written UGC, a character limit may prove useful, as user comments are too long to deter, and in case of doubt, they will not be read.
However, campaigns and actions should always be accompanied by photos or short videos. These are consumed faster, shared more frequently and are (depending on the platform) more noticeable in the feed.
Ultimately, a good UGC campaign has a good idea, few hurdles for users, and authentic community management.
UGC and SEO: How does UGC affect SEO?
The time users spend on a page is an essential measure of the quality of the content on a page. The principle is logical: Only when users find relevant content, they are willing to stay longer on the page.
Anyone who offers a forum for exchange, be it through pictures, text or videos, attracts its users. With the increased visit duration, the search engine ranking increases.
The social media interactions also increase if you bring the users on board. So companies not only take the customer relationship to a new level but miss the web offer a significant SEO push.
Which user motivations improve your brand image?
The reasons why a user passes on specially created content to a company are manifold. They are roughly subdivided into intrinsic and extrinsic motivations. Intrinsic motivation springs from the interest of the actor himself, while extrinsic motivation is stimulated from the outside – usually by a kind of reward. Here is an overview of various motives that you can address with UGC:
- The participant does not charge a fee but draws his benefit from his created content. The user is driven by his need to message.
- Even selfless goals ( altruism ) can drive enough for users to create content without any consideration.
- The user creates content to solve one’s problem ( self-interest ) mainly.
- The urge for self-expression is often the motive behind why users put self-made videos on the net. Many brands take advantage of this urge to apply and create special campaigns.
- People identify with a group with similar interests ( group bonding ) and feel safe and accepted in it.
- The user is paid ( monetary marketing ) as part of an order or job project.
- The user receives a consideration such as a bonus or discount for the next purchase of goods or wins tickets for a social event (monetary or relevant incentive).
- In return for its content, the user gains in reach and awareness (self-marketing).
- The participant of a UGC campaign or challenge may feel obligated to join a group and provide content not to be marginalized (herd mentality).
The motivation you use in a campaign depends largely on your brand, product, and budget. With this typology of motivations, you have an overview of what needs you can address. Connect this campaign to your social media profiles and have your fans and followers vote.
With UGC you gain reach and bind customers
User Generated content requires conceptual work: Get creative and think about an exciting way to address one or more of the motivations mentioned and thus achieve your marketing goals.
Keep in mind that user-generated content requires a similar amount of time and resources to content as its content. The advantages, however, are apparent: They sustainably strengthen customer loyalty and improve the brand image of your company.
The relationship with your customers thus reaches a new, more intense level – and through the dissemination via social networks, your content gains additional reach.