User-Generated Content Brings Authenticity to Brands

Opinion: The average person wants to feel a real human connection

Making UGC work for your brand is not limited to fashion brands

Due to redundancy, customers have grown tired of overly branded content, so it is quite easy for them to tune it out. What they cannot help but respond to, however, is authentic content generated by fellow customers.

The average person wants to feel a real human connection to your brand before agreeing to buy from you. Consumers browse through social and digital news feeds on their mobile devices to research new and interesting content. If the content is rich enough to capture their attention, they’re more likely to click on offers or promotions.

User-generated content is basically content related to a brand that is voluntarily produced by its customers. Customers who have good experiences with your brand are motivated to inform their peers by sharing their experiences. Referrals are one of the cheapest and fastest ways to expand your customer base.

UGC provides authentic information about the brand’s products and services from previous customers, saving resources and boosting brand credibility. With an average of 60 million images uploaded to Instagram daily, UGC is among the hottest—not to mention most scalable—ways for marketers to showcase products, celebrate fans and drive revenue on the web today.

Below are four ways digitally smart brands are using UGC creatively:

Put your customers in the spotlight

This is the easiest way to take advantage of UGC. Fashion brands in particular often share photos of their customers wearing their clothes on social media. If you have a dedicated fanbase posting photos or videos of themselves wearing, using or enjoying your product online, take advantage of this.

It’s been found that on video platform sites such as YouTube, UGC fan videos get 10 times more views than brand content.

Making UGC work for your brand is not limited to fashion brands. GoPro, specializing in tough professional video cameras and software, shares customer content to show just how you can put these cameras to good use—from skydiving and mountain climbing to filming the flight of huge birds and rescuing sea turtles.

This kind of brand behavior breeds more UGC. Showcasing customer videos gives GoPro great content and offers professional moviemakers and photographers a non-monetary incentive to keep UGC flowing without breaking the bank. It’s also likely to encourage more purchases, as more than 64 percent of social media users seek out UGC before making big purchase decisions.

Include UGC in your next giveaway

One of the quickest ways to take advantage of UGC is to ask your fans and customers to submit content as part of a competition or giveaway. RYU, a Vancouver-based athletic clothing retailer, ran a marketing campaign through its Instagram account called #WhatsInYourBag to promote its various products with a giveaway. Incorporating a giveaway is an effective way to engage your target audience and spread the word about your brand.

RYU encouraged fans to share photos of what they carry in their gym bags and incentivized them with the chance to win prizes. The company’s engaging campaign generated more than 32,000 posts and likely helped increase its follower count to over 20,000. Just make sure it’s clear in your terms and conditions that you may repost submissions elsewhere.

Competition-based UGC also gives your brand wider exposure, particularly if the winner is decided by votes, as the entrant will share the content far and wide.

Integrate fan photos and videos in your advertising campaigns

One of the benefits of using UGC that can never be overstated is building a loyal customer fan base. This is even better when you share your customers’ content—both photos and videos—within your advertising campaigns.

In 2016, Disney began its #ShareYourEars campaign. Customers were encouraged to share photos of themselves, friends and family wearing Mickey Mouse ears with the #ShareYourEars hashtag.

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