Introduction to User Generated Content
Content is the heart of any business. It is what the companies post on their digital platforms. Videos and photos, information of brands and products, blogs, etc. create the content part. Mostly the companies make it themselves, and they try to be creative and unique. Their goal is to engage customers and provide a good user experience. If their content is unattractive, then the customers may not like it. Well, any customer will not have any interest in boring content with no sense of imagination and innovation. But what if the content creator is the customer.
Now let’s get to the point of discussion that is User-Generated Content. It also has another name that is User-Created Content. UGC is the content that the customers or people create for any brand. It is the way of letting their voices tell any brand’s story. The user-generated content is for social media platforms, websites, and other digital marketing platforms. The consumers who make the content are no paid for what they make.
Let’s take a general example of user-generated content. Remember the hit television series America’s funniest videos, and it is user-generated content. The viewers made videos capturing funny moments, and the best video won the show.
What it includes and how it works
Photos and Videos
Photos and videos are the visual content that brands post on their websites and social media handles. Instagram is the social media platform that includes such content most prominently. Often many brands run campaigns and ask their customers to post their images and videos using the products.
Example: Coca Cola
The ‘Share a Coke‘ campaign by Coca Cola is a very successful campaign that used user-generated content as their tool. The consumers shared more than 500,000 photos under the hashtags #ShareACoke. By replacing the brands’ logo from one side with the phrase Share A Coke with following any person’s name. The campaign became a huge hit among customers. It made people buy a Coke and share their special memories with family and friends on social media.
Many websites offer their customers to write blogs related to the website they own. The blogs can relate to the brand or the products they sell.
It is a great way of channelizing the UGC in a campaign to increase sales and create brand awareness. For example, Calvin Klein started the hashtag campaign #MyCalvins by asking its customers to share their photos wearing the brand’s innerwear. Many brands run such campaigns as a marketing tool. But what makes them effective is the user-generated content.
Example: Netflix & Calvin Klein
When it comes to user-generated content, there is no chance to miss Netflix. When Netflix was releasing Stranger Things 2, it asked its users to use #StrangerThings2 in their posts and reposted them on its official page. To promote the series and they used the posts of its fans. Netflix promotes many series and movies by UGC on the social media platform. Netflix’s Birdbox got 24 million views because it promoted it with UGC.
Calvin Klein started the hashtag campaign #MyCalvins by asking its customers to share their photos wearing the brand’s innerwear. The campaign. The campaign generated high audience engagement, and in 48 hours, the campaign generated 1.6 million interactions.
Testimonials are the statements either written or recorded by the customers. It can also be a video where the customers share how they use the product. The customers discuss the features and use it in their style in the testimonials. These tell the users that your brand is worth their trust. It is a very efficient user-generated content because the existing customers can get more customers for the business by recommendations.
Example: Nestle Maggi
The popularity of Maggi is so high that it has become the generic name for instant noodles. The brand is doing great to pitch the customers. It came up with the Maggi Star Chef of the week, wherein it asked its customers to create recipes using Maggi. The best recipe was posted on its official website. They also tagged the participants in their posts and posted their pictures with the recipe they created.
The steps to create a User Generated Content strategy are:
Set your goals
The first step while creating a user-generated content strategy is to set the goal. It states why and for what results in you are using this strategy. The main objectives for brands are increasing customer base, create brand awareness, increase sales, customer engagement, etc. If your goals are clear, then it will be worth your time and effort.
Choose the platform
For various businesses, the platforms are also different. Websites like Amazon, Myntra, and Flipkart may use their website as their platform to provide user-generated content. But the cosmetics, apparels, and automobile brands may use social media platforms to provide user-generated content.
Communicate with the audience
It is crucial to collaborate and communicate with the audience when opting for UGC. The heart and soul of UGC are the users and audience, so they should have all the information. The brands must exactly state what they want the customer to create as they are the content makers.
Monitor the efforts
Finally, you need to monitor if the efforts are going in the right direction or not. The customers put in their creativity and efforts in the content they create so, it must align with the goals that you have set. For instance, an apparels brand asks its customers to create a festive look by wearing the brand’s clothes and accessories. But instead, the users create the look with some other brands outfits. It can lead to a waste of users and the brand’s efforts.
It is the most significant part of user-generated content. In many eCommerce websites, the customers give their reviews on the products. It builds the confidence of buyers whether to buy any product online or not, based on their feedback. Ecommerce platforms like Amazon, Myntra, and Flipkart have a reviews section where customers can give their views on the product and also post photos and videos in reviews.
Why use User Generated Content?
Any business can create its content with experts and trained personnel. So the question that arises is why to go for user-generated content. By the following points of advantage can answer this question.
Gain customer trust
As a brand, the most important thing is gaining customer trust. When the user finds out that there are already many loyal customers of any brand, then it gives the user confidence in its products. The buyer trusts the opinion of existing customers on the products rather than celebs promoting it.
Increase brand authentic
When the brand shares and posts the user-generated content, then it makes their brand more credible. If any brand has a huge customer base, then it should go for UGC. It can give greater reach and authenticity to the brand.
In the competitive market, brands need to work hard on creating unique content. Here, UGC comes to the rescue. If the business adopts user-generated content, then it gets the benefit of unique and creative content. For instance, any cosmetic brand can ask its customers to create looks using their brand. The customer will come up with different ideas and approaches. It gives the benefit of having unique content.
User-generated also plays a role in SEO. If any brand’s product has good ratings up to four or five stars, then it has the benefit of securing a higher position in search results. The viewers prioritize the brand with high ratings. Also, customer reviews can increase the ranking of any brand on search engines.
Drives user’s decision
So this benefit is for both the brand and the buyer. Suppose a buyer is looking for a good mobile phone online. He checks various websites. The buyer makes his decision whether to buy a certain brand by looking at its reviews and ratings. Negative feedback can resist hi to purchase the mobile phone, and positive feedback can drive his decision to buy it. The user-generated content comes into play when the customer has to finalize what to buy and what not to buy.
In the end, the points to keep in mind are to consider user-generated content to reap its benefits. After all this discussion, it is clear that how UGC is crucial for building any brand and making it successful. With UGC, brands can let the customer create for them and save their time on researching what to make for them. UGC delights both the customers and the brand.