This Year, We’re Thankful For: User-Generated Content

Have you ever thought about the impact that consumers have on your brand’s reputation? Some of the most effective salespeople that you have are your own customers and allowing them to narrate your brand’s success stories might just be the spark that your content campaign needs. 

Incorporating content created by your audience into your marketing strategy can build authenticity and credibility. Studies show that 92% of consumers trust peer recommendations above all other forms of advertising. Any type of content that is relevant to a brand and created by consumers is known as user-generated content (also known as earned media), whether it’s an Instagram photo featuring your product, user reviews, a high number of shares, or a tweet that compliments your company. User-generated content campaigns have the potential to improve brand engagement, increase exposure and drive sales.

eMarketer says, “Every day, user-generated content (UGC) is part of the online experience of millions of US Internet users. From entertainment to communications to e-commerce, consumers are taking charge of the creation, distribution and consumption of digital content.”

Why is UGC so effective? We can thank the psychological response known as social proof. This phenomenon explains why we care about other people’s opinions and are often times persuaded by them. For example, let’s say that you are looking into buying a new camera, and you are debating between two different brands. If you notice that one brand has a lot more positive reviews than the other, it is more likely that you will buy that one. This explains why UGC can have a significant impact on consumers. It improves trust and helps reduce uncertainty when consumers make purchase decisions. 

According to Yotpo, “In situations in which consumers are unsure, they assume others have more information about the situation and are better poised to form an opinion.”

 

Ways to Leverage User-Generated Content Into Your Marketing Strategy:

Product Photos:

In the age of social media, brands and retailers are posting consumer-generated photos more than ever. Studies show that 63% of US customers and 66% of UK shoppers trust customer photos more than brand or retailer photos. Since you can’t try out a product before you buy it online, it is not uncommon that shoppers are skeptical about product images from the brand or retailer. Consumers are more likely to convert when actual customers upload photos of a product, because they are seen as more genuine. Instagram is a commonly used platform for brands to post user-generated photos, and recently announced a new feature that will allow brands to tag products in their posts. Some sources predict that allowing users to shop directly from the app will add even more value to user-generated photos.

 

Customer reviews:

Personally, if i’m interested in a product that doesn’t have many positive reviews (or any reviews), I probably won’t buy it. Remember the power of social proof? Apparently i’m not alone, because 71% of US consumers say that customer reviews and ratings are important, and 76% are more likely to purchase a product if they see a lot of positive reviews. Reviews can be found in platforms such as yelp, implemented into your website, email campaigns, or on social media platforms such as LinkedIn. Online retailer, Dermstore, incorporated a positive customer review into an exclusive offer that was shown in an email campaign. The 5-star customer review emphasized *how great* the product was, making it hard to resist clicking “add to cart”. You could have the best products or services out there, but if they are lacking reviews, you might be might be missing out on sales.

 

Video:

According to eMarketer, 4x as many consumers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it. Studies also show that user-generated videos on YouTube get 10x more views than content created and uploaded by the actual brand. So why not encourage your fans to create videos that demonstrate your brand’s value or personality? One brand that effectively leverages user-generated video into their marketing campaign is GoPro. The brand launched GoPro Awards, which encourages users to share their best GoPro videos for a chance to earn money and be featured on the GoPro Channel. A contest is a fail-proof way to encourage brand engagement and to get your fans creating promotional content.

 

With user-generated content comes big opportunities to amplify your marketing campaign. What are your thoughts on UGC? Let us know in the comments below!

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