How harnessing user generated content can level up your content strategies.
UGC, or user generated content for the uninitiated, is an oft’ forgotten tool on a meteoric rise.
Hootsuite aptly coins UGC as “any content – text, videos, images, reviews, etc. – created by people, rather than brands”.
Savvier brands wont rest on their laurels when it comes to UGC this year and will instead spend time developing strategies that weave UGC-based content into their PR, marketing, and social pillars to give an authenticity that simply can’t be replicated on a brand page.
Those not au fait with UGC should take note of its lofty powers. Viral content rarely stems from a brand’s own channels, but comes from creators or everyday folk like you and me, excited to share their experience with others in a real and relatable way.
But why is UGC so crucial to a brand’s success online, and how can a brand go about getting it?
UGC can be approached in two different ways – content generated by consumers (your customers or existing audience) and content generated by creators and influencers (through paid or unpaid partnerships).
UGC in all its forms add measurable value to a brand’s content proposition, and here’s how:
Not all teams are created equal.
We mean that quite literally… resources are often limited for brands, and a one-or-two-person PR or Social team will struggle to produce the same quantity of authentic content. UGC can provide this – showcasing your brand experience in a real, relatable, less-polished way.
More and more we are seeing brands turn to UGC, whether that be from creators, influencers, or simply repurposing content from everyday consumers to support their own content plans.
Make your audience feel seen.
A brand’s existing audience is often its greatest asset, after all, who is best placed to tell a brand what content they want to see, then the end consumer that brand is looking to connect with.
Enlisting real people to create UGC, or sharing content created by your existing audience and giving it a new platform on a brand page adds authenticity to content strategies and strengthens brand loyalty and admiration.
Creators bring their own communities.
Growing the audience of a brand page without paid ads can be tricky, and takes not only vast amounts of time, but a dedicated and consistent content production plan.
Working with influencers and creators allows brands to tap into ready-made communities with their offering or message. These communities are based on mutual interest, entertainment, and trust. In fact, TikTok reported that 2 in 5 users felt part of a community after watching creator content on the platform which is good news for brands looking to build loyalty with third-party audiences through partnerships with creators.
Brands that connect with creators that complement their niche and cultivate relationships with them will see influencer UGC work for them 10x over.
Nurture the customer-to-creator pipeline.
Pipped by Tiktok as a trend to watch for 2023, a brand whose audience is out there already making content on their behalf should be paying attention to that content.
Brands can learn from UGC that is already out there to find out what it is about their offering that resonates with their target audience and mirror this in their owned channel content plans.
By empowering customers to create content with hashtag campaigns, giveaway incentives, or engagement initiatives, brands will be able to tap into a wealth of citizen creators whose audiences will naturally grow along with them. The bonus here being a natural word-of-mouth recommendation that even influencer activity can’t quite replicate in the same manner.
People trust people.
UGC can add a human element to a brand’s content strategy. Think about how UGC can leverage a new level of trust with your audience.
TikTok reports that 65% of us now rely on online reviews and creator recommendations to decide what to buy online. The success of the hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt which saw a 382% YOY growth from 2021 to 2022 is proof in the pudding that creators have the power to revoluntise a brand’s visibility online while having a tangible impact on their revenue too.
UGC is useful for giving consumers a different perspective on a brand. It also gives a brand some personality and ultimately a voice.
To summarise, is UGC worth investing in? Hell yes it is! With authenticity and transparency buzzwords in the 2023 marketing, brands would be silly to ignore the power of UGC for growing their audience, and nurturing relationships with already invested brand advocates.
Want to chat about how your brand can use UGC to support your PR and Marketing goals? Get in touch: [email protected]
Sources: TikTok Creative Center: What’s Next 2023 Trend Report