Yes, the rumors are true: Consumers do trust user-generated content and reviews more than branded content. Actually, UGC has been around for a long time, but new media platforms have made it more accessible, giving rise to a new digital form of word-of-mouth marketing.
UGC is content created by consumers that advocates for a particular brand. It comes in many forms, such as photos, videos, testimonials and everything in between. UGC is extremely powerful because it builds on the authenticity and trustworthiness of your brand—two elements that are essential for connecting with today’s consumers.
So, yes, it works. But before you start brainstorming ideas for cultivating UGC, there are a few things you should know about post-campaign tactics. Starting with a plan for how you can reuse UGC in your other marketing efforts will help you launch a UGC campaign designed for high return on investment.
Even once a campaign has ended, you can use it to continue building community, driving traffic and boosting sales.
Here are five ways to keep seeing results from your content post-campaign.
Repost UGC on social media
UGC is most commonly found on Instagram, where brands can easily repost their followers’ content. And it’s beneficial for brands to repost UGC, as research shows that 76 percent of individuals trust content shared by the average person more than by a brand.
One well-known brand that uses this tactic is camera and technology company GoPro. Every day, it features a photo and video taken by a consumer with a GoPro camera. It’s a great way to show followers that there are endless possibilities for capturing life’s moments.
Create an online catalog for your website
In one study, sites that featured UGC saw a 20 percent increase in return visitors and an up to 90 percent increase in time spent on site.
A powerful way to integrate UGC content into your existing website structure is to build it into your online catalog. Ask your customers to submit content that shows how they use a specific product. You can then use these submissions as the images in a shoppable online catalog.
Skincare and beauty brand Vanity Planet shares shoppable UGC from Instagram on its website. And by adding the hashtag #vpbeauty, it inspires more UGC, as fans will want to snap their own photos to get featured on the website.
Vanity Planet compared product pages with and without customer-sourced Instagram photos and found that the page with UGC increased checkouts by 24 percent.
Compile user-generated videos into an ad
UGC-based ads get four times higher click-through rates and show a 50 percent drop in cost per click. If you run a video contest that asks people to submit a video, compile snippets of the best videos to create an ad that you can share across all platforms and devices.
In 2010, Target launched a UGC contest that asked customers to submit videos of themselves opening college acceptance letters. The best videos were used in a new TV commercial, which helped draw attention to Target. The company pledged to donate $500 million to education and to double contributions in the future.
Turn UGC into a blog post
Showcase your biggest fans on your blog. You can embed tweets or posts in your blog posts as visual aids for a tutorial, share and inspire new ways to use a product and much more.
Every week, Instagram shares a new photo or video and a story from a pet account on its blog. Any photo or video with the hashtag #WeeklyFluff is eligible to get featured in this series.
Add UGC to your email marketing
Exceptional email marketing campaigns need to be well-thought-out to attract attention in busy inboxes. Adding UGC to your email marketing will give you that extra push you need to stand out.
Studio DIY, a creative lifestyle company that shares do-it-yourself projects, uses photos of happy customers, instead of models, in its email newsletters. It makes sure to include its hashtag, #cantclutchthis, and it gives credit where credit is due.
Jasmyn Wilson is head of media and influencer relations at SRAX, an advertising technology company providing the tools to automate digital marketers and content owners’ campaigns across digital channels. Follow SRAX on Twitter: @SRAX_Digital.