We're in an exciting time for branding – nearly everyone has the power to produce professional quality photos, right from their phone. Anywhere you look, people are sharing their ideas, opinions, and their creativity on social media, in blog posts and any regular person has the ability to go ‘viral' or amass a base of followers to interact with their posts.
User generated content (or UGC) is just that; photos, videos, and posts from the average person. This organic content can be leveraged to lend an authentic air to your marketing strategy while cultivating community with your consumers. While not entirely new, it's never been a better time to incorporate UGC into your larger social strategy. User generated product reviews and customer reviews are a great way to not only collect free reviews but also a great way to foster a relationship with your real customers.
Why UGC is critical
In the past, a brand would have to rely solely on brand-generated content, professional photos and videos, staged product shoots, and the like for promotions. Influencer marketing began to take over social media channels in the 2000s, but in recent years we have experienced a shift in the receptiveness of this type of content. While these executions have their place, many consumers are expressing a desire for more authentic content from brands and consumer-generated content, especially in the context of social media posts. According to the results of a recent survey performed by EnTribe with over 800 responses, 85% of respondents would prefer content from actual customers. In other words, 85% of consumers would prefer brands to post UGC.
The boom of social media has elevated the conversation to exciting new levels, but it also means brands have to do more to vie for the attention of potential customers. By promoting UGC from content creators and brand loyalists, fans will feel like they're part of the conversation and feel a sense of community. This content can be obtained in myriad ways – via a simple call to action, a photo contest, or other “activations” of your follower base. With no longer having to rely on traditional means of advertising, brands are able to establish mutual connections with their consumers and create an open dialogue regarding their products and services. Original, organic, high quality user generated content can be a powerful tool in your arsenal. As you plan your social media strategy, identify the social media platform your community uses the most and be sure to include user-generated content. Once you do, sit back and watch your social engagement rate, your ads engagement, and your loyal customers grow.
of consumers prefer to see brands post content from actual customers