You already know your social followers are your biggest fans – you can tell any time you read your comments – but are you integrating them into your content strategy too?
User-generated content, or UGC, shows your product in real-life use cases, builds trust among prospects, and, in many cases, it’s free! If you’re mapping out your social media content strategy for 2022, you should consider including user-generated content. Here’s why – and how.
90% of consumers report UGC influences buying decisions more than brand-generated promotions. (TurnTo)
User-generated content is like an amped-up positive review. You know your customers are reading reviews on social media, but seeing an existing customer showcase your product outside of the review page influences their decision to shop with you that much more. When a satisfied customer proudly shows off your product in an Instagram or Facebook post, they are both endorsing your brand and showing how they use the product.
For example, our client Westlake Royal Building Products regularly features UGC to showcase its line of products. UGC gives potential customers a peek outside of the website gallery and the opportunity to see the products in a variety of settings, some that might even mirror their own home.
Total Engagements: 395
Total Likes: 274
Total Comments: 20
Total Shares: 34
Total Saves: 67
Total Engagements: 285
Total Likes: 202
Total Comments: 15
Total Shares: 23
Total Saves: 45
Consumers find UGC almost 10 times more impactful than influencer content. (Stackla)
What is the difference between UGC and influencer content? Influencers typically participate in a version of affiliate marketing; they are paid to promote the product or service by the brand. Because of the growth of affiliate marketing on social media in a post-Fyre Festival world, the influencer has to disclose that they have been paid to promote the product.
With UGC, the customer shares the content without a directive or oversight from the brand. In some cases, the brand may encourage customers to share with a specific hashtag or incentivize users with a contest, but there is no contractual agreement for users to share.
In the case of Westlake Royal Building Products, building pros and homeowners frequently share their home renovation projects and what products they used. This gives prospects a chance to see the products in different scenarios. A virtual gallery can only show so much! UGC shows your products in multiple use cases and allows prospects to envision your products in their own homes.
While affiliate marketing strategies work for some brands, each post has the pretense that it is a paid advertisement, and still brand-generated content. UGC, however, is more like a customer review, with the added bonus of a visual element.
86% of consumers say authenticity is important when deciding what brands they like and support. (Stackla)
For the current generation of conscious consumers, brand authenticity is an important factor when making purchase decisions. People want to do business with brands they trust. In an age of ad blockers, influencer skepticism, and an abundance of information, UGC is an authentic representation of your products and services getting used by actual customers.
How to incorporate UGC in your social media strategy
If you’re ready to connect your prospects with your satisfied customers, here are some ways to source UGC:
Search and See
You may already have a usable UGC library out there and you’re just not using it. Search your brand or product name on Instagram, Facebook, or the social media platform of your choice. See where the conversations around your products and services stand and share it on your business accounts.
Pro Tip: You should always check with the original poster before you share their content. A simple Direct Message (DM) asking for permission to share should suffice.
Create a branded hashtag and encourage your customers to share their experience with your products. Tell your followers you will share selected posts with your network. Sometimes the opportunity to have their hard work featured on your brand account is enough of an incentive to share, especially if your product can be used in a variety of ways.
Pro Tip: The simpler this is to spell and remember the better. If your brand name is long, consider reducing your hashtag to an acronym.
If you’re looking to build a bank of UGC, you can incentivize your customers through a contest – this is also a great way to get your branded hashtag off the ground. For example, you can direct satisfied customers to share their experience with your products or services and tag your brand social accounts or use a branded hashtag. Then, randomly select 5 posters to receive a physical prize, gift card, or other incentive. Create brand ambassadors who may continue to participate in contests or share your products and services.
Pro Tip: Make sure you celebrate your contest winner on social media! Brand authenticity matters, and your fans and followers want to see who won.
Your next best social post could have already been posted, by your satisfied customer. Add UGC to your social media strategy to verify the benefits of your product or service, connect with prospects, and build an authentic brand.