What is User-Generated Content?
User-generated content, or UGC, is online content related to a brand that has been voluntarily produced by its customers. It could take the form of images, videos, comments, blogs, podcasts, social media posts and more. Popular brands often use UGC marketing in order to engage fans and build credibility. In this guide, we explore the power of letting your customers tell your story.
Why Your Brand Needs to Take Advantage of UGC
The intelligent and strategic use of UGC can help brands to boost sales. In fact, 93% of consumers find UGC to be helpful when making a purchasing decision. It has also been shown to increase customer retention and engagement rates. In fact, websites with UGC experience a 20% boost in return visitors and up to a 90% increase in time spent on site.
One major advantage of UGC is that it requires less money, time and resources than original content. It has also been found to provide a powerful and more cost-effective alternative to influencer content as consumers find UGC 9.8 times more impactful than influencer content when making a purchasing decision.
What Are the Challenges Associated with Using UGC?
- Inappropriate Content
When a brand puts out a request for UGC, they run the risk of opening the floodgates to inappropriate content. Therefore, during a UGC campaign, it’s important to use a social listening tool so you can spot and deal with inappropriate or negative content in a timely manner.
- Copyright Issues
57% of brands avoid using UGC because they are anxious about potential copyright issues. To avoid this, verify the content by
(a) checking that the person you are seeking permission from was the original creator of the content,
(b) checking that there is no 3rd party content embedded in the UGC (e.g. a song) that needs separate licensing.
Then you will need to seek written permission from the creator to share the content and be sure to stipulate exactly how you intend to use it. Keep a record of this communication. When sharing the content, credit the original creator of the piece. This is typically achieved by including their tag in the post caption. You should also check whether the creator expects monetary compensation in return for use of their content. If your business has a legal team, you may want them to draw up some best practice guidelines so you can avoid copyright infringement.
How to Run a Successful UGC Marketing Campaign
- Set a goal
- Brainstorm a clear concept and hashtag
- Get the ball rolling by making it a competition or by engaging the help of an influencer
- Clearly communicate across channels how customers can take part in the campaign
- Get social listening software to help you quickly find UGC
- Always ask permission before reposting content
- Engage with UGC by liking & commenting
- Post content on your website homepage & relevant product pages
- Use UGC in ad campaigns
- Refer to your analytics, gather your learnings, and start planning your next campaign!
“The success of any user generated content-related project should be judged in the long term. Try not to use it as a one-off campaign activation idea. Think of it instead as the beginning or continuation of an ongoing dialogue with your consumers.”
– Damian Thompson, Journalist